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Little Brother (Little Brother #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  37,313 Ratings  ·  4,932 Reviews
Marcus, a.k.a "w1n5t0n," is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school's intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath o
ebook, 318 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Tor Teen (first published January 1st 2008)
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Ami If you are not interested in learning about computer science and network security, then this book will not be for you. Add to that fact that it all…moreIf you are not interested in learning about computer science and network security, then this book will not be for you. Add to that fact that it all was written in a very, very short amount of time. For such a limited schedule and so much information, it is daunting to read. But it inspired me to pursue Computer Science as a minor, so there's that. :)(less)
Miles There's quite a few similarities, and the book makes multiple references to 1984.

Community Reviews

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Jun 23, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every American over 14 (does contain some graphic material)
There is a reason why totalitarian governments ban books. The reason is that books can change the world. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and Frederick Douglass' autobiography opened people's eyes to the evils of slavery; Anne Frank's Diary taught us that genocide kills innocent young girls; "To Kill a Mockingbird" showed us that justice isn't always just and that people should be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin; "The Grapes of Wrath" opened our eyes to the plight of migrant far ...more
May 10, 2015 Nataliya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
“It's not about doing something shameful. It's about doing something private. It's about your life belonging to you.”
What do you value more - privacy or security? What if the endless security measures lull you into thinking you're safe but are in fact little but an excuse for a tight grip on your, ahem, 'unmentionables' in order to keep you meek and docile?

Billed as a young adult book, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, despite its decidedly young voice and a few overexplanations aimed at chrono
Jun 28, 2008 Krystyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In an attempt to win over a new generation of sci-fi readers, Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" is marketed as a young adult book. However, adult readers shouldn't worry that Doctorow's book will leave them behind or have them feeling juvenile for reading it.

"Little Brother" is a mature, contemporary novel that looks at the issue of security in a near-future that doesn't seem too far from today. When San Francisco is attacked by terrorists, seventeen-year-old hacker Marcus and his friends are out
Jun 08, 2008 Brendan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What sounds from the description like a fun techno-thriller tinged with lefty politics is instead a didactic bore of a blog entry masquerading as a novel. I agree with the politics of the book; it's the bad writing I have a problem with. It seems Doctorow was so concerned with conveying his Important Message that he forgot that long lectures tend to kill plot momentum. (He also forgot about credible characters and dialogue that sounds like a real human being would actually say it.) A colossal di ...more
Monica Edinger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Seventeen-year-old Marcus studies at a normal school in San Francisco set in the very near future. In this case normal school means total surveillance over the students, complete control over their movement and what they read. Marcus is knowledgeable and rebellious enough to fool the system into giving himself some freedom and privacy. One normal day at school follows another until Marcus and his friends escape it during a break and almost perished in a terrorist attack.

The survivors are rounde
Oct 14, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow hits some sensitive themes over and over in a narrative of the sooner rather than later dystopian problems following a post 9/11 terrorist attack on America, this time in San Francisco.

Making an obvious tip of the cap to George Orwell, Doctorow begins his story in 2015 with hip, techie teenager Marcus and his exploits trying to avoid problems with his assistant principal. Geeky adolescent shenanigans are quickly interrupted by the attack and the subsequent martia
May 05, 2008 Hayden rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, sci-fi, guy-book
Oy, what a disappointment. I kept thinking, right up until the very end, that this book was about to get awesome, but it never did. The premise--a very near future where Homeland Security cracks down on ordinary citizens like a mofo--could be great. But unlike 1984, Little Brother is never able to build any tension, or take advantage of all the possibilities for betrayal and suspicion in a world where the DHS recruits teens to spy on each other.

Instead, Little Brother seems to be just a gross fa
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 26, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Marcus Yallow may not be a typical 17 year old kid, but he is fairly harmless. He might hack
Wil Wheaton
May 20, 2009 Wil Wheaton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens, technology enthusiasts,
Shelves: political, sci-fi
More polemic than novel, Little Brother is the kind of book I would have devoured when I was a teenager. I gave it to my teenage son, and he went nuts for it (he isn't a reader) and was inspired by the various suggestions in the text to learn more about RFID, surveillance, privacy, EFF, Linux, and other technologies Doctorow explores or mentions in the text.

The story and characters aren't as complex as they could have been, but I didn't mind. Cory wrote this for teenagers, and he was clearly mor
Yes, I put a book that was published 8 years ago on my 'Classics' & 'Historical' shelves. It's NOT on my 'Science Fiction' shelf. I read a fair amount of history & SF. This book is very important historically & will be acknowledged as a classic. I've been fiddling with computers since before the Internet was public & have been administering networks for 20 years now. There's nothing in this book that takes the science into the realm of SF.

One of my basic duties is dealing with se
Jul 06, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
One of the things that I love most about science fiction is its ability to look at trends in contemporary society, extrapolate them to their most extreme ends, and then use those extremes to reveal a fantastic analysis of our world and the directions that we are heading down. Good science fiction is the type that makes you step back when you finish and take a closer look at our own lives. With Little Brother, Cory Doctorow has crafted just such a novel. The fact that this is a book whose intende ...more
Mohamed IBrahim

احذر الأخ الأكبر يراقبك دائماٌ
لكن عليك أن تحذر أيضاٌ فالأخ الأصغر دائماٌ ما ينتصر

الرواية نسخة مستقبلية من رواية 1984 تلك الرائعة الكلاسيكية التي تتحدث عن سيطرة الدولة علي شعوبها وطغيان النخب الحاكمة ومراقبتهم لخصوصية وكل همسات الشعوب واختراق الشعوب والعقول والسيطرة بهاجس الامن والامان والوحدة والعدو الخارجي

خلق العدو الوهمي ومن ثم محاربة الجميع وقمع الحريات والأشخاص والفكر من أجل هذه المعركة الوهمية تلك التي تجيدها الانظمة الحاكمة
وزارة الامن الوطني هي التي تمثل الانظمة الحاكمة المتعددة التي ت
Dec 16, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I have to admit that the first couple pages or so had me rolling my eyes and wondering if I would be able to actually finish this book. There's so much technoslang that it seemed to me to be trying too hard, even though it is a book about hackers and technokids... Like, "Spending Fridays at school was teh suck anyway, and I was glad of an excuse to make my escape." Teh suck? Really. Ugh. (Although, to be fair, at least he spelled out "suck" and didn't write "teh sux" or something. I probably wou ...more
I think I might be too stupid to write this review.

Long story short: This book was a hell of a ride. It was slightly problematic as a novel, but damn if it wasn’t powerful anyway. It should probably be required reading. Long story long? Weeeeeellll. That’s when my brain starts to make whirring and booping noises and then I want to put my laptop away and go to sleep. Or eat a milkshake. Either one of those things, really.

Marcus Yallow is a seventeen year old in near-future San Francisco. When a t
Mar 28, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm reading an ARC of Cory Doctorow's new book and it is predictably well written and surprisingly infuriating. It's like a sub rosa training manual for pro-tech pro-civil liberty pro-privacy activists of tomorrow. He extrapolates into the future the tiniest amount but today's greasy fingerprints are all over the dystopic picture he paints of individual freedom. I'm finding myself enraged page after page, which is the whole point, and Doctorow's casual references to easily-kitbashed technology l ...more
May 26, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Little Brother was not at all what I expected. When it was described to me, I was thinking that it would be something similar to Ready Player One, a fast-paced, high-action adventure about technology. While it was still quite a bit about technology (which is why I still gave it a higher rating), it was more of a political statement about privacy than anything else. I tend to be on the fence where privacy laws are concerned, thinking like a parent, "Well, if you're not guilty, what does it matter ...more
The book raises several interesting issues: how much freedom are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of your security? when does civil discontent become terrorism? what if department of national security is more dangerous than any terrorist group? These are very important questions for young adults to ask themselves. The subject matter definitely makes this book a very compelling read.

There are many things I like about this book. Cory Doctorow creates a very convincing atmosphere of fear and h
Jun 30, 2008 Chad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, but am a bit baffled at all the acclaim it's getting. I can see what Doctorow is trying to do, but he gets too preachy far too often and that kills any point he was trying to make for me. Marcus is too talented, too perfect at everything that needs to be done to be a legitimate portrayal of a teenager. I've seen other reviews say that he reads like Doctorow created a version of what he wished he was like at that age, and I agree completely. Throw in the most on ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Dec 18, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 13 and up
A worst-case scenario teen thriller of what could happen if our war on terror gave Homeland Security an excuse to wield absolute power and new surveillance technology over our lives to track our every move. Countering this is a teen who knows all about computer systems, security, and various role-playing games. It's an homage to 1984, Little Brother, as opposed to Big Brother, and it reminded me of Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat. It was all a bit preposterous and over the top, but that ...more
May 20, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Set in San Francisco in the year 2015, Little Brother follows 17 year old Marcus, an intelligent, techie teen. While skipping school, he's thrown into the middle of a terrorist attack and picked up by the Department of Homeland Security under suspicion of being involved. After his eventual release, Marcus vows to take down the DHS and fight against the newly established police state.

This book was awesome and definitely worth finishing in a day. Although written for a YA audience, this could clea
Natasha read this and loved it, talking me into starting as soon as she was done. It deals realistically with both the surveillance on students today in the US, and on what could happen in the immediate wake of another large-scale terrorist attack. It includes the sort of torture we know our government is fond of.

And while I was still turning it over in my mind, trying to decide how to review it, a principal decided to throw his school's One Book summer reading program out the window two days be
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Blissfully geeky, great capture of intelligent teenagers in San Francisco, and a very realistic, believable story about what a short distance we are from a complete and utter police state. *grin*

Do you trade privacy for security?

ETA (1/21/12, just re-read this and did a podcast discussion with SFF Audio)

It was harder to read Little Brother the second time around. Not because the book is hard to read, it is the opposite. But because of everything we've just been through in the USA with SOPA and P
5.0 stars. This book has it all. A compelling, relevant story, good characters and excellent, fast-paced writing. The Bay Bridge is blown up by terrorists and the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) turns San Francisco into a police state. A young hacker, caught up in the aftermath is arrested, tortured and when he is released vows to fight back. Think 1984 for the 21st century (hence the title of the book). Highly recommended!!

Nominee: Hugo Award Best Science Fiction Novel (2009)
Winner: Prome
Joseph Delaney
Aug 04, 2015 Joseph Delaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is set in a future that is not too far away. It imagines a situation similar to the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. Here, the Bay Bridge in San Francisco is destroyed by terrorists.
This not a story of the hunt for the perpetrators; the focus is upon the extreme action carried out by the agents of USA Homeland Security. Doctorow presents us with the growth of a police state where the actions of citizens are monitored by every electronic means possible. It gets worse. The t
Mar 17, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooksiown
Marcus and his friends are hackers. When they skip school to play a game called Harajuku Fun Madness which is a geo-caching game where you find clues to beat the game, the Bay Bridge is blown up and they are captured by the Department of Homeland Security who accuses them all of being terrorists. They are held captive in a secret prison and questioned for day. When they get out, only Marcus and one of his other friends are let loose as one of his other friends is still being held captive. Now th ...more
Ben Babcock
I read this book in a single night, which is a pretty good testament to how much I enjoyed it. I won't be the first person to compare Little Brother to 1984 (Doctorow himself does it, alluding to it in the story by giving his protagonist the handle w1n5t0n and through the title of the book itself), but it's a very apt comparison. Little Brother is 1984 updated to take into account September 11th, the Internet, and the Department of Homeland Security. I'm not saying this book supplants 1984; you ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I didn't place this on any of my shelves besides the "read" shelf. It's a fantasy, sort of, it takes place in an urban area...on the other hand it's really a political thriller, sort of... Never mind we'll just say I read it and talk about the book.

This book was actually written at the end of the Bush administration, and I think you'll find that obvious. I like this book, I recommend this book, but there is a certain amount of irony...some of it unintentional irony I believe. On the other hand t
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رواية الاخ الاصغر 2 15 Jun 30, 2016 09:35PM  
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Book of Choice 7 20 Feb 17, 2015 01:25PM  
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Lit Lawvers: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (October 2014) 7 18 Nov 18, 2014 05:51AM  
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Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life , the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free , and young adult novels like Homeland , Pirate Cinema and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers . He is a Fellow for the ...more
More about Cory Doctorow...

Other Books in the Series

Little Brother (2 books)
  • Homeland (Little Brother, #2)

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“Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.” 283 likes
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