Josh's Reviews > Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
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's review
Aug 08, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: nebula-award-nominees, hugo-award-nominees, science-fiction, ya-kids
Read in August, 2009

The idea here is a good one: a modern retelling of 1984 within a framework of an overzealous Department of Homeland Security compromising everyone's privacy in the name of national security. The execution, however, is rough. The novel was engaging, but Doctorow simply isn't a good fiction writer. He constantly breaks the "show, don't tell" creed of writing. The lessons he presents (despite my agreement with his opinions!) are overbearing or trite. The main character is an amalgam of all known hacker cliches, complete with an unlimited stream of ability, income, and time. And for whatever reason, similar to my experience reading Doctorow's /Down and Out in the Magic Kingom/, I really had trouble buying into the overwhelming success of the characters' actions. Doctorow's fictional worlds are ones where characters can always count on a lot of support from strangers no matter how silly the ideas. Maybe this is a lesson hyper-popular bloggers learn: no matter what crazy thing you mention, there are a lot of adoring commenters. Unfortunately it doesn't translate to believable fiction.

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