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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

(Overclocked)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,146 ratings  ·  192 reviews
Have you ever wondered what it's like to get bitten by a zombie? To live through a bioweapon attack? To have every aspect of your life governed by invisible ants? In Cory Doctorow's collection of novellas, he wields his formidable experience in technology and computing to give us mindbending sci-fi tales that explore the possibilities of information technology — and its va ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Running Press
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3.79  · 
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 ·  2,146 ratings  ·  192 reviews


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Evgeny
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
This is a collection of 6 novellas that are confusingly enough available individually on the author page. I will review all of them.

Printcrime.
Thanks to copyright laws simple printing is a serious crime in the near future. It is punishable by a prison term. As usual Doctorow talks about some subjects most people do not care much about, but we really go toward this kind of future.

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth .
I do believe that sysadmin is one of the most thankless job not just in IT, but ever
...more
Brooke
I run hot and cold on Doctorow, sometimes he's really entertaining, and sometimes he doesn't do enough storytelling to cover up the fact that his books serve as a soapbox for him to share his opinions on technology.

This short-story collection contains 5 stories, and each star in my rating corresponds with each of the stories I liked. There were two I could have done without: "When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth" was too self-indulgent for my tastes, almost like it was fantasy wish-fulfillment for so
...more
Chloe
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Cory Doctorow is a nerd's nerd. As one of the founders of BoingBoing, he has been at the forefront of web culture, meme dispersion, and fair copyright advocacy. In his off-time he also writes some pretty decent science fiction.

His style is a familiar one- adopting netwide themes into stories to help explain these advances to those who spend less time fully immersed in the digital world. I imagine trying to explain the phenomena of gold farming to someone who has never played World of Warcraft w
...more
J.D. Lasica
What we have in “Overclocked” is a passionate, smart collection of shorts and novellas that plies the territory of speculative sci-fi with an absurdist, cyberpunk edge. It reminds one of the Netflix series “Black Mirror,” a sci-fi anthology that explores a twisted high-tech near future—except in “Overclocked” a ray of hope often pierces the darkness.

Some of these stories are vintage, dating back to 2005-2007 when the Web was still a gangly teenager, while other tales are more recent, but all tak
...more
Mike
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbub
Cory Doctorow has this thing he does. Reading a number of his stories in a collection together makes it more obvious than reading one here and another there, with long gaps between, so let's see if I can articulate what that thing is.

Firstly, he takes a big, unlikely premise based on exaggerating present technopolitical conflicts.

Then he pushes it all the way over the top, and takes it to an unrealistically dystopian place with no apparent way out.

Meanwhile, he distracts you with fireworks: b
...more
Jean-marcel
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm almost certain I've read a few of Doctorow's stories before, likely in Asimov's SF magazine back in the days when it used to be produced in braille, but I don't recall my impression of him at the time other than a vague idea that he liked to play with the concept of technologically assisted evolution. Here I am with my first anthology of Doctorow shorts, some of which have ended up in some pretty mainstream magazines, as well as having a story featured in the Best American Short Stories anho ...more
Mike Smith
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a collection of short stories. Similar to most other books of that type, some of them are good, others, well... In general I really like Cory Doctorow's work. Most of the stories really hit on all eight cylinders and I enjoyed them a lot. The unfortunate thing is that the last story in the book kind of fizzled out at the end. It had an interesting premise, but I would have put it as one of the earlier stories so as not to end on a bad note. Anyhow, if your a fan of techie sci-fi, it ...more
Nacho
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Colección interesante de historias, casi todas típicas de Doctorow en el estilo y las ideas.

Printcrime: 2/5
Demasiado corta, el mensaje demasiado directo. No es mala, y no vas a perder demasiado tiempo leyéndola, pero al final te vas a preguntar para qué te gastaste.


When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth: 4/5
Un grupo de sysadmins queda encerrado en un datacenter durante una serie de atentados terroristas y crisis a nivel global, y deciden hacer algo para intentar reconstruir lo que puedan.
Interesante, un
...more
Nikki
I spent a lot of time today, once I wandered over there somehow, on Cory Doctorow's site, looking at his opinions and downloading his books and thinking about it all. I decided I'd read Overclocked, since it's short stories and I didn't feel like reading anything long and drawn out. Of course, the short stories added up to more or less the same amount of reading time, but oh well.

There's six of them. I liked the first one, which is more or less microfiction -- I liked the end, anyway, and the co
...more
Jo
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dad/dogg
I really, really liked this collection of science fiction. I should probably rate it a five-star, but I'm afraid I'll turn into a fiver or something, and give the books I read nothing but ratings of five and four will turn into an insult and that would just make me feel like a fool. Kind of like the way this review is doing. So, about Overclocked: I don't always like sci-fi books; I tend more towards the "fantasy" portion of the (somewhat illogical) "sci-fi/fantasy" genre pairing in the library. ...more
Ted Fristrom
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sci Fi Fans/ Heaven's Gate survivors
Each year, Drexel requires students to read one book together as a campus, and this year's book was Cory Doctorow's Overclocked. I was pleasantly surprised that this year's read was short stories, a fast read, and by someone who has invested a fair amount of time and effort into thinking about intellectual property issues. The stories that stood out to me were "When Sysadmins Rule the Earth," "Anda's Game" and "I, Robot". The latter are interesting because they are neither really rewrites or par ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Overclocked bears witness to Cory Doctorow's strong presence on the Internet and immersion in that subculture. With the stories (all previously published) set in the near future, the collection lends a terrifying "what if" quality to our present. Doctorow's intimate knowledge of the techno-cyberculture gives his stories more credibility than a casual reader might think: it doesn't take a hardcore SF fan to believe that zombies, invisible ants, a 3D-printer world, video-game sweatshops, and globa

...more
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
Overclocked, so far, is like most of Doctorow's work: some good ideas, some patchy writing and a lot of boyish enthusiasm.

The first story (Printcrime) was a miss for me - overly simplistic and soapboxy. The second story (When Sysadmins Ruled The Earth) Is better, but meanders quite a bit, and reads like an inside joke much of the time.

The first story was about a dozen pages long, the second is over 170 pages. I just wish he'd fall into some kind of consistency as a writer, and work on some of
...more
Michelle
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Scifi short story collection with a social conscience. The first two stories in the collection seemed the weakest: "Printcrime" a mere two pages and a bit gimmicky, and "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" relied too much on geeky computer jargon, and that's saying something coming from someone who loves her geeky computer jargon. The rest of the stories were each better than the last, building to a brutal finish in "After the Siege" based on the author's grandmother's experience of the siege of Len ...more
Carolyn
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some of the stories deserved three stars, but not enough of them to bring the star rating up from a 2-star.
If you're already a die-hard fan of the author's leanings on intellectual property laws and DRM you will probably enjoy this more than I did.

Story I liked best: "Anda's Game"
I'll be reading the novel inspired by Anda's Game soon - For the Win.
Chris
Sep 24, 2008 is currently reading it
I enjoy this so far - one story is if System administrators (Ogre: "NERDDDDS" comes to mind) ruled the world; another is a fun take on the realities of online gaming (poor countries actually hire people to churn boring quests, etc. in a game to get in-game gold, which they in turn sell for real money online) i've only read a few of the stories so far. I like that he purposely copies/parodies other sci-fi titles - his explanation why is very interesting
Jack Skillingstead
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. I read his first three novels and felt his true believer fervor for file sharing and internet culture, etc. undercut the narrative tension in those books. These short stories are better. I especially liked "I, Row Boat."
Antonio Jr.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Entertaining and forward-thinking, but overly preachy. So preachy, in fact, that these stories feel like the author's personal soapbox. Not that there's anything wrong with imparting a message with fiction, but beating the audience's head in with an author's personal agenda is taking it too far.
Stephen
I’d never heard of Cory Doctorow before this week, but I encountered his name on a list of promising SF authors and looked him up. Amazon obliged my curiosity with a flash sale on one of his collections of short stories, and so I began reading Overclocked. A collection of short pieces ranging from stories to novellas, Overclocked has some fun with SF classics and exploring concepts like intellectual property, 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence. AI is particularly important, with ...more
Stanley Hutchings
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of science fiction
A great collection of science fiction stories. Eight different stories of possible (I must say fascinating but improbable) futures on a variety of themes "ripped from the headlines" but inspired by previous works of science fiction. The prologues to the stories give their inspiration (and add to the enjoyment). Then they're extrapolated into the future, sometimes dystopian, sometimes optimistic. The results are all entertaining and thought-provoking. "Printcrime" deals with the future of 3-D pri ...more
Susan
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This collects six of Doctorow's stories, and it's a rather uneven collection. I read digital versions I'd downloaded from one of the places Doctorow sometimes offers his work for free under the Creative Commons license.

1) After the Siege - 1 star - I didn't like it much. I understand that he wanted to honor his Grandmother and the siege of St. Petersburg. But squeezing a “rich country copyright & patent laws” polemic and a focus on the greed of the companies in the developed world meant it
...more
Meghan
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting series of short sci-fi stories. Only 3 stars due to the soapbox and biased agenda present.

One story was about an apocalyptic future where most of the human population is destroyed with bombs and bio weapons. Some of the people who survive are the people who are responsible for keeping the servers and infrastructure for the internet working - system administrators. They are able to communicate with others located geographically far away through the internet.

One story was about a
...more
Meg
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
this is a really good book, i enjoyed reading it, even if i dont really get the asimov references. i havent read much scifi before, and my friend recommended this book to me as an example of scifi that doesn't leave you depressed and saddened by humanity. and he's right, this is (for the most part) hopeful scifi.

didn't much care for when sysadmins rule the earth or i, robot. my favourite was anda's game, the ending is uplifting and made me smile. printcrime was short and sweet and funny, i, row
...more
Ryan Lackey
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good collection of short stories and novellas loosely based off of spoofed titles of classic sci-fi novels, inspired by current events, and/or generally set in the present or near future with highly plausible (or already-existing) technology. There's the same preachy anti-copyright/information-wants-to-be-free message throughout, and some general anti-business Internet utopianism, but overall it was pretty good. I particularly liked the idea behind "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth", although I' ...more
Peterh
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Rankings of the individual stories

Printcrime: 2/5
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth: 0/5
Anda's Game: 3.5/5
I, Robot: 3/5
I, Row-Boat: 4/5
After the Siege: 1.5/5

The whole anthology is basically about how 3D printers are going to save the world if intellectual property laws and the capitalists who wield them don't destroy it first. The prose isn't very good, and some of the stories have no plot. I like Doctorow's feminism and his optimism but they weren't enough to save this book.
Keith  Blodgett
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A variety of stories from a very talented but often depressing author. The future Doctorow paints is bleak and terrifying. As with any story collection some shine brighter than others. 'After the Siege' was dark but satisfying. Dystopia with and ending worth getting to. 'The Man Who Sold the Moon' was probably the brightest gem in this collection and at one point brought tears to my eyes. Very much worth reading.
Adrienne Kern McClintock
Collection of short stories, some better than others. I recognized most of the places in Toronto, and could see zombies attacking there. I could see bored school children. I was amused by the parody of Ender's Game, and the 2 parodies of I, Robot. The final story is a fictionalized/ fantasy story about how the author's grandparent's met. I liked the short paragraphs at the beginning of each story, explaining where he got the ideas.
Ricky Kimsey
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stories With Real World Inspirations

All the stories in this collection of the author's short fiction have real world inspirations that are explained in the introductions. My personal favorite is a story centered around gold farming which is the practice of having others grind for in game currency in massively online role playing games.
Dennis Gabel
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overclocked: More Stories of the Future Present. By Cory Doctorow

The tit!e only suggests the diverse range of the themes found in thes " stories". They are brillantly selected group that collectively build an unusual frame work to open and rearrange your thinking and assumptions.

Randal
May 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Doctorow fans only
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 stars
I think short fiction is the weakest of the three genres I've read from Doctorow (also novel, essays). They often lack the wit that makes the best short spec-fic
And they're occasionally heavyhanded. In the story on the siege, for instance, it really doesn't matter why the war is being fought (proven by the fact he uses details from the siege of Stalingrad)
He does have original ideas and they're certainly not cookie-cutters. But while I regularly hand out Little Brother at the library an
...more
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3,369 followers
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 Electron ...more

Other books in the series

Overclocked (6 books)
  • Printcrime (Overclocked #1)
  • When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth (Overclocked #2)
  • Anda's Game (Overclocked #3)
  • I, Robot (Overclocked #4)
  • I, Row-Boat (Overclocked #5)
  • After The Siege
“The United States of America was a pirate nation for the first one hundred years of its existence, ripping off the patents and trademarks of the imperial European powers it had liberated itself from by blood. By keeping their GDP at home, the U.S. revolutionaries were able to bootstrap their nation into an industrial powerhouse. Now, it seems, their descendants are bent on ensuring that no other country can pull the same trick off.” 9 likes
“It's as if the railroad were looming on the horizon, and the most visionary thing the futurists of the day can think of to say about it is that these iron horses will have a disastrous effect on the hardworking manufacturers of oat-bags for horses.” 1 likes
More quotes…