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Little Brother (Little Brother #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  27,326 ratings  ·  4,097 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
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ebook, Humble Bundle Edition, 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)
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Community Reviews

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Sandi
Jun 23, 2008 Sandi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Krystyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
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
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Monica Edinger
I'm feeling totally weird about feeling so unenthusiastic about this book as everyone I know who has read it seems to have loved it. (Just see that it got another star, this one from the Horn Book.) Seems like I'm the only person on earth who didn't. Ah well. (Cory, if you are reading this stop --- I'm clearly alone in my feelings here. Go read all the reviews of people who like it. Forget about mine.)

So anyway, I read it on the plane to ALA and had to really push to finish it. Some of the writi
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Brendan
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
Hayden
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
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Wendy
Torn between two and three stars. I enjoyed reading this; the plot was interesting, and all the informative parts were pretty accessible (well, the computer/crypto stuff was done much, much better than the history). But I thought the writing was pretty bad--it got increasingly melodramatic as the book went along. I kept waiting for Marcus to say to one of his friends "But down here, it's our time! It's our time down here!". I never bought his voice as that of an American kid--there were Britishi ...more
Chloe
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
Wil Wheaton
May 20, 2009 Wil Wheaton rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Jim
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
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Jason
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
Becky
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
Sarah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
midnightfaerie
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
Tatiana
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
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Kaethe
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
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Jackie "the Librarian"
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
Jessica
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
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Chad
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
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
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Stephen
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
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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
Sparrow
May 18, 2009 Sparrow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13 year old Neil Gaiman
Recommended to Sparrow by: The Register-Guard
I can understand why this is an important book, and I honestly think I am giving it two extra stars just for that. I don't want to become complacent in losing my liberties any more than the next girl, and I think it's great to write a story that would (I guess???) appeal to high school kids and get them to think about what freedom really means and how easy it is to get swindled by the government. However, while I am completely willing to admit my own geekiness, this book is a different kind of g ...more
Tapestrymlp
Like many books, this one started with a lot of promise and quickly fizzled. I followed through until the end, however, hoping for some redeeming factor. I wanted to like the book - I really did. Some aspects were good but too many others felt contrived and the entire thing felt too much like a thinly veiled political statement. Subtlety has no place in this book. It was well written and coherent, the pacing was decent. I think the plot was just ... meh. The overtly political leanings really tur ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I've been meaning to read this for quite some time, but was waiting for the paperback to come out. You can read it for free online at the author's website, Craphound, but I don't like reading books on computers. I don't even like reading stories that are typed in Word documents, even printed. So I didn't mind waiting a bit.

Doctorow is a Canadian author who lives in London and is involved in open source programming and the "collective commons" which is, as I understand it, to do with copyright l
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Rachel
May 25, 2008 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Rachel by: neil gaiman
Shelves: war, dystopian, ya
after I finished: READ THIS BOOK. Read it. Read it and then send it to your friends and make them read it.


I think I found this via a link from Neil Gaiman's blog. Which means I should have read it posthaste, but hey, I'm only human and I had sparkly vampire braincandy to read. Now I'm ready to be serious again.

The intro alone made me fall in love.


end of chapter 2: Dude, it's like Neal Stephenson decided to hang out with high-schoolers. This kicks ass.

sometime in the middle: Only difficulty is th
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Ash
The basis of this story was very interesting, but it has a lot of tech stuff in it and I can barely work a cell phone, so most of the jargon obviously went over my head.
It annoyed me just how political it was, and completely one sided to boot. Some might argue that the dad gave a bit of the other perspective but that was a pretty half-arsed attempt if you ask me. I understand that this was supposed to show what could happen if the government ever gained too much power, but it ended up looking l
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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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Angela
The other day, editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden posted up on Making Light that he had several dozen ARCs of Cory Doctorow's forthcoming novel Little Brother to hand out to any readers of the blog willing to immediately read it and talk about it. He announced a specific email address you could contact to ask for one of the books, and all you had to do was provide an address to which they could send it.

I was one of those fortunate enough to get in an email before they ran out of copies, and mine arri
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Brownbetty
May 08, 2008 Brownbetty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brownbetty by: Vassilissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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12581
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.

http://us.macmillan.com
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“Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time-rich and cash-poor.” 214 likes
“I can't go underground for a year, ten years, my whole life, waiting for freedom to be handed to me. Freedom is something you have to take for yourself.” 35 likes
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