Author: Cory Doctorow
Series: Little Brother, #2
While I understand Doctorow's writing isn't for everyone, it's perfectly tailored towards me. Little Brother is one of my favorite books. While Homeland is still good, I felt like it kind of missed the mark in a lot of ways. But it was still fun to read a hacker tale set in the Bay Area, as a Bay Area hacker.
I actually went to the Homeland release party at Borderlands (which is in the Mission, like much of Homeland) but never got around to reading it until now. (Why? I'm really not sure. Books.) As a person who lives in the area where Little Brother is set, I think my location gives the books a bit more fire than they would otherwise. They become personal.
So, perhaps now I will explain why I like Cory Doctorow's writing so much.
I like it for the same reasons I loved The West Wing.
It's comfort tech porn. It takes my worst fears, wraps them up in technology that not only exists, but is tech me and my friends are working on, and makes them less terrifying. Hurrah for the nerds striking one out!
Because honestly, honestly, I am scared. There are small victories here and there. For example, for the first time in fourteen years, the government is not monitoring what people are checking out from their local libraries. Mass surveillance of private phone calls is being restricted.
But do I honestly feel reassured that the government won't find a way to keep doing more of the same? Not really.
The key point of Homeland is that even if the system is completely and totally fucked, corrupt, and bullshit, you can't simply roll over and take it. But so many people flail once they realize how futile it seems and decide to do nothing. And when everyone does nothing...
I don't do nothing. I don't think I can fix everything on my own, but I'll be damned if I don't try.
Whether it's picketing the Bay Area Book Festival for making it impossible to go to the library last weekend without giving them the right to my photograph, audio, video, and data from my cell phone for all time, doing digital advocacy work, or simply building awesome shit in hackerspaces, I cannot sit back and do nothing.
In other words, books like Homeland give me a bit of hope. So yeah. Cory Doctorow is wish-fulfillment fantasy for me. But fuck. I get tired. Sometimes it's nice to see a win, even if it's fictional.