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Little Brother, Makers and newly released For the Win

May 11, 2010

Over the last six or so months, I have read the books Little Brother and Makers by Cory Doctorow, and now, I am reading his brand new (Released yesterday, May 10, 2010) book called For the Win.

Cory has really come into his own now. These last three books, I believe are his crowning achievements….to date.

I will get back to Makers and Little Brother in a bit, (Little Brother was Cory’s first YA – Young Adult – book) because they were really good, but for now, I want to focus on Cory’s new YA book that he just released yesterday, For the Win. Which for the sake of honesty, I have to say, I have not completed as yet but will soon – you bet on that! But I didn’t want to let another of Cory’s book release weeks go by before I posted about it.

For the Win by Cory Doctorow

For the Win by Cory Doctorow

For the Win
By Cory Doctorow
Released: May 10, 2010
Hardcover: 480 pages

US edition: Tor Books
ISBN: 978-0765322166

UK edition: HarperVoyager
UK ISBN: 978-0007352012

The juxtaposition of physical and game-based violence makes Doctorow’s novel a page-turner. Doctorow juggles dialects and gamer slang to make the story more convincing. Even for readers who aren’t avidly connected to the gaming world, the economic implications of buying and selling futures in virtual goods is fascinating

Lara Killian, PopMatters

Purchase from various locations from Cory’s site here. Amazon has the hardcover book available for a discounted $12.23 (reg: $17.99), and it’s eligible for free shipping. Now that’s a good deal for a hardcover book. Or do what I do, download the free ebook and then decide.

I didn’t want to wait to get the hardcover book or audio book to begin reading, so I downloaded the free ebook version (epub) from Cory’s site here, and am already hooked on reading this book — and I have only gotten a few chapters into it. I also listened to the wonderful free sample from Random House Audio audiobook version linked on Cory’s page here (available DRM-Free! from Cory’s site for $29.00). The For the Win audiobook runs 16.5 hours and is formatted for burning onto 13 CDs. Sample here.

Cory has done a remarkable job in writing this amazing young adult science fiction novel. He has, in a fast paced, knowledgeable, believable, and totally engaging manner addressed such difficult concepts as global online marketplaces, virtual sweatshops, online gaming, trade unions and their politics, diverse economics and culture, and individual people. But that doesn’t begin to tell how interesting this book is to read or how Cory sucks you in so easily. I didn’t want to put the book down. I am thoroughly enjoying this book. It had me so quickly engrossed in the story. And I know, that’s the way it is supposed to be — after all this is a Young Adult book, but I am, eh, hum, no longer a Young Adult. ;)

I can’t wait to get either the hardcover book or the audio book version. After hearing the sample of the audio book, it’s making that original decision to get the hardcover, a really hard decision. I know I would prefer the audiobook version, especially after hearing the reader/narrator. Hey, what am I talking about, I can’t even wait to finish the free ebook.

Makers by Cory Doctorow

Makers by Cory Doctorow

Makers
By Cory Doctorow
Released: October 29, 2009 (UK)
Hardcover: 416 pages

US edition: Tor Books
ISBN: 9780765312792

UK edition: HarperVoyager
UK ISBN: 9780007325221

In the end, Makers feels like a personal, cultural, and literary milestone: an employment of the full literary toolbox of SF, in the service of a portrait of how the world actually works. If only every genre author set out with the same high ambitions, there would be no talk of SF’s failures, only triumphs.

Paul Di Filippo, Barnes and Noble

Purchase from various locations from Cory’s site here. Amazon has the hardcover book available for a discounted $16.49 (reg: $24.99). Or the audiobook from Cory’s site here. The DRM-Free Makers Random House Audio audiobook runs 18.5 hours and is formatted for burning onto 15 CDs and costs, $27.50. Sample here. Or again, you can do what I do, download the free ebook and then decide.

Makers is amazing. The intricacies, the diversity of characters involved and so many locations! This is one big book. It was an amazing book. It must be amazing inside Cory’s mind. I have heard Cory speak so many times and he is so excited about life and his passions — he just downloads all he can into a small space of time. In this book, he kinda does the same thing, although he gives great attention to detail, he’s not rushed, and he manages to hit on so many aspects of his main and secondary characters’ lives in this failed economic system where people still need to eat, to live, to work and play. He gives such genuine feelings to their triumphs, losses and all kinds of real life events in truly horrific physical and economic conditions. Cory shows so well how the best and worst of people come out, and ultimately how these very types of situations can actually foster deep innovation and commitment on so many levels. Although there were some very hard parts of the book (meaning hard to deal with because you get to know the characters), the book still left you feeling good about life.

EDIT 6-23-2010: Locus Online News reports Cory Doctorow’s Makers is one of the 2010 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalists! Congratulations Cory!

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother
By Cory Doctorow
Released: April 29, 2008
Hardcover: 384 pages

US edition: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765319853

UK edition: HarperVoyager
ISBN: 0007288425

Purchase from various locations from Cory’s site here. Amazon has the hardcover book available for a discounted $12.21 (reg: $17.95). You can also buy the audiobook version at Amazon here for $36.48 (reg: $48.00). Or as I mentioned previously, you can do what I did and download the free ebook first and then decide.

I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year, and I’d want to get it into the hands of as many smart 13 year olds, male and female, as I can.

Because I think it’ll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won’t be the same after they’ve read it. Maybe they’ll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it’ll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they’ll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they’ll want to open their computer and see what’s in there. I don’t know. It made me want to be 13 again right now and reading it for the first time, and then go out and make the world better or stranger or odder. It’s a wonderful, important book, in a way that renders its flaws pretty much meaningless.
Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman and Anansi Boys

I thoroughly loved this book and have already purchased the hardcover book for the library here at home. And would love to also get the audiobook version. No matter what age you are, you will feel for Marcus, aka w1n5t0n, and his circle of friends and what they all go through, and what their families go through in this book. George Orwell would be proud of this book — done in an updated style, and as technically detailed as his own 1984 in many respects. I too would recommend this book to anyone in the Young Adult range, but I would go further and say that anyone, any age who is even the least bit geeky will love it. I remember thinking that this is Cory’s best work yet. And one so needed in today’s world.

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