My common sense got into a fight with my
Read a lot more of Cory Doctorow's Litle Brother and there's certainly plenty to think about. First of all, I think it's pretty important to remember when you give a politically liberal group of book-lovers a free book that deals aggressively with the issue of freedom and ask us to talk about it, then you're not likely to get negative responses. Having said that, I love what I've read so far, and will tentatively rec it (it comes out today!). How I eventually feel about it will probably depend on the end -- if that seems frivolous to you, just imagine your favourite book with the final chapter replaced with "And then sie realised it was all a dream". See?
It took me a little while to get into it (70-odd pages) -- the Japanese references threw me at first since they weren't always on target. No official game is going to require that you download doujinshi to play (generally speaking, this is against Japanese fan culture) and if you know what a doujinshi is, you probably wouldn't use 'toon' to describe the characters in them. kintail suggested that this might be down to the tight first-person narration and I also considered that this might be due to it being set in the near-future. Having said that, I was laughing to myself at the way Japan is a shortcut for cool in this book; I read about "Harajuku Fun Madness" as I was on the train to Harajuku.
A few typos and renaming errors, but nothing that won't be fixed in the final print run, I'm sure. To be honest, it added to the "I'm reading it FIRST mwahahaha" feeling. *ahem*
Marcus, the main character, was far too cocky at first. I really started to like it once he was not-arrested and he wasn't as smart as he thought he was. Then the book really started to pick up and I fell in love with it. The pacing and voice really come together to really make everything work. Doctorow has a great way of mixing what you know about recent events, retelling them, then throwing a little bit of his own world's history into it to make this near-future come alive. He references real tech and LB tech in the same sentence to great effect.
There are some great pieces of information in this book, and I hope they are true. I want to know if that spy camera detection light actually works and what DOES happen if you put a frozen grape in the microwave. The Google, it does nothing.
So what does it say about freedom? It doesn't spend much time on 'The current situation is bad', because it assumes you already know this. If you don't, this book will do nothing for you. What it does do, is highlight specific areas of concern and methods of fighting back alongside some cool trivia. I'm sure once I read even further it'll expand on these points. It also made me wonder about the benefits of travelling to a country where I can be more politically active and expressive about myself. Hmm.
Anyway, you should definitely read it. You don't want to wait for me to be finished with it, right? ;)