Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow

The time: A few years in the future. The place: San Francisco. What's happening: Terrorists.
Meet Marcus, your average high school hacker. His hobbies include hacking, ARGing with his friends Darryl, Vanessa and Jolu, and inventing ways to annoy his high school... until one day, when he skips school to go play computer games with his friends and the Bay Bridge blows up. Suddenly the Bay Area is in total chaos. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured or missing, and millions mourn. And Marcus and his friends? Well, they're missing, too....
Now the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) comes into the picture, as Marcus & co. are grabbed on the street, tied up and tossed into a truck to be carted to a secret prison. The four are separated, and questioned every day. Finally, after day after day of mistreatment, bare cells and cruel overseers, Marcus, Van and Jolu are released. Darryl is gone, and when the weary threesome troop home, the bay has changed. DHS officers patrol every corner. The BART system is a disaster. Cars are pulled over at random. It seems the DHS's new motto is "Everyone is the Enemy, so Treat All as the Enemy".
Marcus refuses to tolerate this new order. He starts up a new, untraceable system: Xnet. He wreaks havoc with the DHS's electronics, turning the innocent into the enemy and screwing with their files.
But they're going to catch up with him somehow...
Little Brother is an amazing book – there's no dull parts, no faulty characters, and a totally believable plot. Doctorow even manages to add a little romance into the mix! MUST READ! As Scott Westerfeld so aptly puts it, "A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion."
Note: not suggested for younger kids (e.g., for 12 and up, not to restrict by age [I'm reading high school stuff myself] but there are several... suggestive scenes.) : )

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