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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  3,593 ratings  ·  483 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, a major novel of the booms, busts, and further booms in store for America
Perry and Lester invent things—seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems, like the "New Work," a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the...more
Kindle Edition, 597 pages
Published (first published October 27th 2009)
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I hesitate to mark this book as 'read', but I did read over half of it. I usually don't stop in the middle of books, but this book was an exception. I didn't just dislike it - it made me actively angry.

It's not the concepts or politics that made me angry - I'm familiar with Doctorow's agenda, and I agree with most of it. I'm a lefty, I'm interested in technology and decentralized/local production of goods and services, I think activism can be important, and I think copyright is broken. I didn't...more
At first, I was a little annoyed with feeling like I was just reading BoingBoing in novel version. All the usual suspects show up: DIY everything, creative economic models, subcultures, nonsense legal actions, open source, 3d printing, Disney, online meeting/consensus tools, revision control systems, police brutality, urban decay, and of course citizen-journalism.

But then a whole plot appears and it's compelling. The book doesn't quit bringing new ideas and twists and I really like how it follow...more
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
This is a book people will either love or be "meh" about. The best I can do for a review is tell people what to expect. So if you're okay with the following, then the book may be for you..

The book has a non-traditional story arc. The narrative doesn't go where you think it's going to go at any point in time, and resists attempts to categorise it. Some people may feel it that it meanders, or that it doesn't have a point. I am okay with this.

All of the characters are flawed. There is not a single...more
I’ve always wished that I had the engineering knack so I could invent something like a robot that does laundry or flying cars or something cool like that. Hell, I’d be tickled if I could figure out something fun like dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. After reading this book, I’m kind of glad to be technically challenged because it seems like there’d be a dark side to being that kind of guy.

This realistic sci-fi story takes place in the near future where economic woes have left corporations as shel...more
Chill Cheslow
Cory friggin Doctorow. I don't know what to make of this guy. I really want to give this book both a 0 and a 5. He is full of fascinating ideas. This book is fascinating. He shows the implications of technology, really doable tech, but with huge consequences in society. What happens as three d printers get better and making more stuff. When the distance between design and the product gets shorter and easier. What will people do? What will corporations do when anyone can do what they do? He prese...more
Maya Panika
I tried very hard to like this book. I loved the pretext and I really wanted to like it, but it’s so hard going, nothing much seems to happen and it’s much, much too long.

Focussing on a very near, wholly believable future, the story kicks off brilliantly, the characters start out interesting but then - nothing. The characters quickly merge and become indistinguishable, so that you have to work rather too hard to keep up with who’s doing what, where and why. What story there is is so heavily padd...more
I am so glad this one is finished with. It's strange, I really quite like Doctorow but only in short bursts it seems. His ideas are great and his message worth while but it gets a little tiring being preached to in your fiction and in Makers there's a whole lot of didactic dialogue. Doctorow takes his idea and spins it through several revolutions of basically the same plot for 400+ pages in an attempt to make it an epic spectacle that takes decades to come to fruition, instead leaving you feelin...more
As a Gen Xer I've been regaled with tales of those early PC days when the prehistoric hackers worked from garages and slept under the VW buses together, and I think Cory Doctorow has as well. In Makers he takes the same idea of the passionate artists and technology hackers pushing the boundaries with new technologies and places them in the near future - the twenty-teens. In this brave new world he explores the implications of junk yards full of hardware and kitsch mass-marketed detritus, obesity...more
Actual rating: 1.5 stars.

If you follow the Boing Boing web site, you'll be familiar with the themes expressed in Makers, Cory Doctorow's "Novel of the Whirlwind Changes to Come." If you've read Ayn Rand, you'll be familiar with Cory's writing style and pacing. If you've ever made a list of two hundred techno-geek words and thought about using them in a book, you'll be familiar with Cory Doctorow's method. I was ready to quit after one chapter, but told myself I'd plod on until Cory started to in...more
This is a book full of BIG IDEAS - and if you're the type of geeky tech-obsessed person who loves BIG IDEAS about the future of tech, business, litigation, fitness, etc., you'll enjoy the truly speculative fiction element of this book. I enjoy that sort of stuff just fine, but I already read a million blogs and New Yorker articles about it, and when I read fiction I want to read FICTION. Doctorow is a terrible fiction writer; as much as I love his blog and his ideas (and he's an amazing person t...more
Cory Doctorow's Makers is a book full of ideas and possibility, which makes up for a somewhat predictable plot and flattened characters.

I read this book after I had read Doctorow's Little Brother; the two have very strong similarities in plot structure. It's a serviceable - if a bit transparent - structure, but the girders and siding are definitely showing after reading both of these books.

This isn't surprising - both books are idea books. Where Little Brother is concerned with personal freedoms...more
The future is now, kids, and Makers shines a light on the irrepressible heroes of the humming hive of creative, cooperative production.

Perry and Lester are a couple of tinkering tech whizzes whose tastes and talents gear towards fabricating new, cool stuff out of junk. Bankrolled by biz visionary Kettlewell, and media-documented by the astute tech chronicler Suzanne Church, they manage to spawn a whole new approach to goods production, The New Work, and in the process rehabilitate a squat site...more
Ben Babcock
Economics is weird. The economy is a social system. Once upon a time, it was based somewhat in reality, with gold standards and natural resources forming a large part of this anchor. At present, it has transformed into a mostly speculative beast, the taming of which is the goal of any number of hedge fund managers, stock market analysts, and economics professors with cushy degrees from Ivy League or wannabe-Ivy League schools. To make matters worse, the economy is based on the behaviour of peopl...more
Tim Hicks
May 26, 2012 Tim Hicks rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Doctorow fans
Buzzword dump.

Lots of interesting but weak ideas. Barely adequate characters. A sex scene that I didn't dislike as much as others but it was as out of place as a tuxedo on a frog (yeah, I know, Hello, mah honey, helo, mah baby ...). A Heinleinesque style where the world has three incredibly smart people and six billion morons. Cory's Disney obsession again.

Two things in particular wrecked it for me.

First, the assumption that within a few short years, you can put generic goop into a 3D printer...more
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
This is sort of a strange book. It was hard to figure out whether this book was about people or about technology or about business or about creativity or (as is most likely) an amalgamation of all four. The story takes a few jumps: at the beginning it seems to set itself up as one thing and then shifts gears rather dramatically into another direction.

Cory Doctorow also continues his fascination and love/hate relationship with Disney. The only other book of his I've read, Down and Out in the Mag...more
The first part of this book made me angry. The main POV character, a journalist who becomes a successful blogger by writing about nerds making stuff, smelled strongly of author insertion and it pushed some personal buttons of mine with regards to how it presented people with weight issues. I think the issues raised by Lester and the fatkins diet could be interesting if developed into their own story, but as a subplot to a larger work it felt sloppy and disrespectful.

Later sections of the book we...more
Abby Jean
did not care for this. doctrow's fetishization of returning to the days of hand crafts and tooled leather belts and blah blah seemed more retro than futuristic to me, and when he got into a future word where weight loss was easy but you could still tell who the former fatties were, he lost me for good. didn't finish.
Cory Doctorow’s “Makers” (Tor, $24.99, 416 pages) isn’t really a traditional science fiction or fantasy novel – it’s much more serious in intent and execution, though it is set in the near future.

Doctorow’s topic is creativity, and the human urge to make things. The central characters are a pair of tinkerers in a slightly dystopic future where the American economy has collapsed and junkyards are the repository of the remnants of the consumer culture. The pair are endlessly inventive, creating pl...more
Marc Weidenbaum
Doctorow's novel tries to imagine the near future as impacted by inexpensive 3D printers just as much as we have in our time been impacted by the Internet.

The book follows two natural inventors who glom onto 3D technology, inspire a collective project that spans the globe, and find themselves doing litigious battle with Disney.

In brief: new tech + hive mind vs. corporations.

This formula has become something of a theme for Doctorow. But as Nick Lowe once sang, "This rut I am in, it once was a...more
D.L. Morrese
In an economically struggling America, two good friends, Perry and Lester, invent and sell novelty items made of junk. This places them in the vanguard of the New Work movement, and they ride that wave until it busts in obvious parallel to the bursting of the dot-com bubble. They shake themselves off, and build an ever-changing amusement ride in south Florida. It seems to be catching on, which in turn, catches the attention of a nervous Disney executive concerned about declining attendance at th...more
Mark Harding
It's such a page turner that I stayed up all night to finish it. Three new ideas a page.

Interesting things:
The novel is purposely designed to force the reader to make moral judgments and avoid easy answers:
-- Lester and Perry make different choices at the end. Which one is more realistic about the nature of capitalism. Which is the more moral choice? Are they both fantasists?
-- Can you morally coexist with the MBA types? Is the company structure the only effective way to get things done?
-- Are...more
This was an awesome book, except for about 3-4 pages of excruciatingly detailed sex that I felt was unnecessary and out of place. I still don't get why Doctorow had it in there; even the violent attack on one of the characters wasn't nearly as detailed, so it wasn't as if he was making some statement that society can tolerate violence but not sex. It just didn't fit.

Anyway, the writing was appropriately frenetic, as the storyline followed free thinker/inventor types living in a setup of their ma...more
Jeffrey Paris [was Infinite Tasks]
"The future has imploded into the present," writes Charles Cross, quoting Gareth Branwyn's Is there a Cyberpunk Movement?. Cory Doctorow's Makers is another reminder that what looks like the future is already here.

This book, set from the 20-teens and on, describes a New Work economy and its after-effects. It sounded like an interesting premise: a pair of Florida hacker/inventors work with 3-dee printers to create facsimiles of three-dimensional objects. They begin making kitschy, retro objects...more
Some 30 years after the Reagan revolution transformed the American economy and refocused all our resources on a wealth transfer to the richest among us, we can see that the goals of that Revolution have been nearly completed. The middle class is disappearing rapidly and well on its way to being converted into a huge mass of people who can no longer be called working class since the jobs have disappeared. Without a socialist intervention in the very near future, America can expect to end up in a...more
Doug Cornelius
Cory Doctorow tells the story in the near future of a two hardware hackers who fall in with microfinancing venture capitalists and invent the “New Work” economy, and then find themselves swimming with corporate sharks, fighting with each other, and leading a band of global techno-revolutionaries.

The New Work economy is small groups of entrepreneurs producing their wares. The origination comes from the private equity leader who combines Kodak and Duracell together. But he is not looking to rebuil...more
Joel Neff
Dec 12, 2009 Joel Neff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
The first third is really fun. There is a lot of easy wordplay; the thing about many of Doctorow's books is that I want to have the things he talks about it them (HomeAware and Kitchen Gnome, not to mention fat treatments).

Given that at least part of it was written before Little Brother and they have differing themes, this could read almost as a sequel - what happens to the kids in Little Brother as they grow up and keep hacking, keep making?

Not as much character development as there is in othe...more
Cory Doctorow always has an agenda, and usually that comes through in his books. This one is no exception. It's pretty clear that he's pushing a particular ideology, but as long as the reader is ok with that, his work can be entertaining. I'd say that's what's going on here.

Another note: Doctorow's work has always seemed to me a version of fantasy set to words. It seems like he's just writing down what happens in his fantasies. This isn't necessarily bad, but certainly is something to keep in mi...more
Lester and Perry are a couple of nerds whose puttering with garbage results in fantastical creations. Suzanne is a blogger who chronicles their meteoric rise once their creative genius is hitched to a major corporation. This unlikely combination spawns an economic paradigm called New Work, based on 3D printers and geekery. Then everything goes to hell, because corporations, lawyers, and accountants are evil. Tracing the fallout from New Work over the following decades, this novel seriously fetis...more
First time I read any of Doctorow. Mixed feelings. Love the content, it's like post-post-cyberpunk, written by, about, and for exactly the type of geek that I am. Not the biggest fan of the prose though. But the same things about the prose that rub me the wrong way simultaneously embody the essence of why Doctorow writes books like this: because he wanted to, and nothing else, and so I can look past the prose itself and see the motive behind it, which definitely pleases me greatly.

Weird mix of a...more

You know in the first episode of Firefly, when Mal kicks open Simon's cooler (spoiler!), and looks in to see a naked girl inside? He peers down and then says, "...Huh." That's kind of my reaction to this book. It started out absolutely un-put-downable, fascinating and ebullient. Then it kind of dragged in the middle. By 2/3 of the way through I just wanted to finish so I could be finished, though it warmed up a little towards the end. I really don't know what to make of the book as a whole....more
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Hard SF: BotM: “Makers” by Cory Doctorow 2 25 Nov 12, 2013 12:28AM  
  • Toast
  • The Artificial Kid (Context, San Francisco)
  • The Night Sessions
  • Cyberabad Days
  • This Is Not a Game (Dagmar, #1)
  • Gardens of the Sun
  • Vacuum Flowers
  • Yellow Blue Tibia
  • Maelstrom (Rifters, #2)
  • Infoquake (The Jump 225 Trilogy, #1)
  • Zendegi
  • WWW: Watch (WWW, #2)
  • Elvissey
  • Daughter of Elysium
Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

He is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books.

Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, Disney, and post-scarcity economics.
More about Cory Doctorow...
Little Brother (Little Brother, #1) Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom For the Win Pirate Cinema Homeland (Little Brother, #2)

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“He had them as spellbound as a room full of Ewoks listening to C-3PO.” 15 likes
“We don’t care about what you did yesterday—we care about what you’re going to do tomorrow.” 8 likes
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