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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  1,809 Ratings  ·  155 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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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
Jul 23, 2009 Chloe 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
Jean-marcel
Nov 30, 2012 Jean-marcel 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
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 Jo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dad/dogg
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
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
Sep 12, 2009 Ted Fristrom 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
Carolyn
Sep 21, 2010 Carolyn 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 Chris 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 08, 2014 Jack Skillingstead 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 Simon Jr.
Jan 19, 2016 Antonio Simon Jr. 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.
AudioBookReviewer
May 12, 2015 AudioBookReviewer rated it it was amazing
ABR's full Overclocked audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Overclocked is composed of five Novellas (or long short stories). All are future tales based on high technology affecting society in a catastrophic way. The general feeling of the stories is something like the classic SciFi of the 50s and 60s (Bradbury, Asimov, Dick, etc.), but with distinctly 21st Century themes: alienation, poor vs. rich nations, availability of high tech, terrorism, and post human techn
...more
Saretta
Anche questo testo è ovviamente disponibile for free sul sito dell'autore che, come ricordo in ogni recensione, pubblica praticamente tutto sotto licenza Creative Commons.

Raccolta di racconti di qualità varia, di alcuni però vale decisamente la pena di recuperarli e leggerli.
Printcrime -
Racconto brevissimo che evolve il concetto di stampanti 3D a replicatori di oggetti; contiene comunque i concetti cari all'autore.

I, robot -
Questo racconto è sia bello che scadente: è bello perchè si vede il de
...more
Chris
Sep 25, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
This author desperately needs a better editor. The stories in this volume show flashes of potential, but either wander on long after the peak, or wrap up just as they hit their stride. "When SysAdmins Rolled the Earth" is an example of the first, and "I, Robot" is an example of the second. The highlight here is definitely "Anda's Game," which shows it was worthy to be nominated for a Hugo Award.
V
Well I really wanted to reread the SysAdmins story good thing I did because apparently I completely misunderstood it the first time :). Anda's Game was interesting but I didn't like the ending. Narrators were awesome made the stories lot more engaging.

But 3 stars, because I really wanted something like the "internet will kill us" type story I guess.

Maybe one his other books are about the evils of the internet though I doubt it, sounds like Mr. Doctorow loves the web as much as he hates tradema
...more
Trish
Dec 01, 2007 Trish rated it really liked it
Cory Doctorow's stories generally have a message, a techno-moral. Something about open-source software, or digital file sharing. This collection is not without strong opinions, but it mixes in more full developed characters and more layered plots.

"When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth": When global disaster strikes, some of the last people left alive are the sysadmins who were called from their beds in the middle of the night to tend the global nodes off the Net. What will they do to stay alive and to
...more
Justin
Jul 05, 2007 Justin rated it really liked it
This is actually a book of "short" stories by the same author. I picked it up because a) the title was geeky, and b) the title of one story is "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth." Each story also has an intro by the author which gives a nice perspective into the thoughts behind the stories. I'll write a little about each story as I read it:

"Printcrime"
This was a very short story that had an interesting
concept. 3D "printing" that creates actual objects (a
laptop for instance). Unfortunately it did
...more
Jesse
Mar 12, 2009 Jesse rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson
This is an amazing book of short stories. Its interesting and never boring, its thoughtful and intelligent, and it really makes a statement both about the present and the future to come.

Nanotechnology, Robotics, AI's, copy right control(maybe greed is a better word), online worker's rights, and personal health are all themes you will see in these stories.

My two favorite stories in the collection of 6 are "Anda's Game" and "After the Seige".

"Anda's Game" is one of Doctoro's plays on classic sci-f
...more
Skyler
Jan 09, 2011 Skyler rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi. Often, I find it overly technical and rather tedious reading. That was not the case here. Possibly the fact that they are all earthbound possibly near-future based stories helped with the relatability factor. Slightly reminiscent of Phillip K. Dick in tone and subject matter. It contains six short stories, all of which I enjoyed.

#1 PRINTCRIME- very short, only a couple of pages... but very enjoyable. reminds me of Naked L
...more
Balaji Dutt
When I spotted this book in the library I knew I had to read it given: a. I religiously read BoingBoing everyday and via BB I had already read one of the short stories in this book - "When Sysadmins ruled the earth". While I found that story interesting, it certainly did not qualify as a great story. As it turns out, that story is probably the weakest link in the chain. The final two stories in the book - "I, Row-Boat" and "After The Siege" are easily the highlight of the book - and far better I ...more
Rachel
Apr 07, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
This collection of short stories contains many of the aspects of Cory Doctorow's writing that made Little Brother such an engrossing story for me. His settings are contemporary or near-future (I love his "future present" descriptor) and contain all those aspects of our lives that are familiar and disconcerting.

Among the most memorable are Anda's Game (yes it's a reference to the Orson Scott Card novel) about a video game playing teen girl who learns the real world consequences of her play and Wh
...more
Raj
Mar 07, 2010 Raj rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
This is a short collection of just six stories by Doctorow, including the flash piece Printcrime, about a man with a printer and a dream; the quite excellent I, Row-Boat about a sentient row-boat who follows the creed of Asimovism getting along on a post-Singularity Earth with hardly any humans left; and the moving After the Siege about a city under siege in more ways than one.

I enjoyed most of these stories, but Doctorow's politics were always present, and some of them could feel a bit preachy.
...more
Daniel
Jul 09, 2010 Daniel rated it liked it
This was my first contact with Doctorow's fiction, and while not being all-out thrilled about it, I did like it and this will certainly not be the last of his books I've read.

"Overclocked" is a collection of five short stories, all of them being not only entertaining but also transporting a clear message that is in most cases relevant to our present societies. For some people this tone might be a little too educational, but personally that's just how I want science fiction to be.

The topics dealt
...more
John Orman
May 23, 2013 John Orman rated it really liked it
A world ruled by invisible ants--it could happen, at least in Cory Doctorow's world! In these sci-fi tales, comprising six novellas, it is information technology that runs unfettered.
In one story, people play online games all day in order to generate in-game wealth. Another wild story tells of systems administrators defending the world's software and hardware from both viral worms and bioweapons.

One of the novellas is "I, Robot", a twist on Asimov's classic tale about Robbie the Robot, now invo
...more
Aniket Sanyal
Nov 04, 2015 Aniket Sanyal rated it really liked it
Great collection of science-fiction stories mostly of the novella length. Cory Doctorow definitely creates a balance of tension between the elements of story-craft that make these tales engaging, while presenting urgent questions and demands to the reader on subjects of contemporary importance. I always enjoy the communicative aspect of Doctorow's writing; I can honestly say most if not all of the actual computer science and technological minutiae goes over my head but he's articulate enough in ...more
Chris
Oct 30, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Printcrime: Almost trivially short, but still strong.
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth: Incisive.
Anda's Game: Very good ripoff/update of Ender's Game.
I, Robot: Doctorow's standard theme -- the evils of DRM and the inevitable triumph of hackers -- in Asimov's future.
I, Rowboat: It starts off squarely in Asimov's human-derived robot future, and gradually evolves into post-singularity (with multiple resemblances to Scratch Monkey).
After the Siege: Touching and disturbing; powerful -- partially because
...more
Chris
Jul 17, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Being a fan of the EFF and a fan of sci-fi writing, I picked this book up.

It was one of the better choices that I made. Doctorow is one of the better writers out their. Combining his passion for freedom of information and sci-fi, Cory has mixed the two into a strong brew for us to chew on.

While I am usually not a fan of a writer using fiction to press a point, I found that the stories worked and were not preachy. The cause is an important one and being able to equate fictional accounts of the c
...more
Dogg
Apr 09, 2013 Dogg rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dogg by: Jo
I know that I am really slow in getting around to doing reviews. I tend to just read them and move on. Writing reviews is something new and at times I just do not feel like doing it.

I found the short stories presented by Cory Doctorow in his collection Overclocked an excellent choice of entertaining and at times thought provoking distractions to be read over a lunch hour. I found his prose smooth, which I find allows me to read a little faster than my typically slow pace. I was kicked (literally
...more
C.
Jul 02, 2010 C. rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The first book by Doctorow I read was Little Brother and I was both intrigued by, and very disappointed with it. So when my sister suggested Overclocked to me I was wary, but since it is a set of short stories I figured I could easily stop reading if I chose.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Doctorow does seem to be too much into Author On Board for my tastes, but I still enjoyed these stories enough to finish all of them within a day.

Due to it being close to my field of interest, "When Sysadmi
...more
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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
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“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.” 8 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
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