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Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,118 ratings  ·  197 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
Published (first published February 1st 2007)
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Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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
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
Overall, well narrated, but fell way short of what I expected & the stories average out to under 2.5 stars. None were terrible, but just didn't live up to their potential by a long shot. Great ideas & interesting themes that weren't developed or were diluted. Each story is preceded by a short introduction about where the idea came from & where the story was originally published plus miscellaneous observations. They're often as interesting as the story.

Printcrime: Gee, who would have thought of
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. The stories in this book made me really rethink life and the future. The sci-fi stories were really interesting, and made me see life in another way.
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
Hans Otterson
I've only read two of Doctorow's novels, one of which expanded my mind such that I've read it three times and roleplayed in its world and used it as part of an aborted Kenneth-Goldsmithian mechanico-literary experiment (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom), another of which I found competent but not worth pursuing as far as its sequel (Little Brother). I daresay that this collection is strong evidence that Doctorow provides more worth to the world when he's printing short stories in place of novel ...more
Peter Tillman
Good collection. As always, I liked some stories more then others (doh.) Whole collxn is available online at (incl audio version).
Michael Battaglia
I will give Doctorow credit that he tends to put his beliefs into practice in regards to copyright laws, releasing his books in electronic versions through Creative Commons licenses. He's a strong advocate for his ideas on how information should be handled in the 21st century and his essays on the role of digital media and our relationships to it are probably interesting reading.

I just wish he could make his stories more interesting.

Before this I had read one of his novels, "Eastern Standard Tri
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
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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

Ruby  Tombstone Lives!
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
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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.
Jack Skillingstead
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." ...more
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
Vinayak Hegde
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is a collection of short stories/novella based on various technologies themes. They are quite different from one another so I will review them separately.

Printcrime - This one deals with copyright and 3d printing technology and reflects Doctorow's ideological view on rebelling against the establishment. Areally short story that is dystopian.

After the Siege - This is inspired by Doctorow's grandmother's experiences during the siege of Leningrad. It deals with relationships during the times o
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have read from this Author before. And I really don't have any complaints. Some of the stories are good and this book and some of them to be honest I did not waste my time with it. I am very particular when it comes to hardcore science fiction.

Out of the stories in this book I liked: " when sysadmins Ruled the Earth"; " I, Robot". I've already have written about the first one. The second one has the same title as one of Isaac Asimov's novels or short stories. In the book, he gives an explanati
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 just
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joshua Faber
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably closer to 3.5 stars than 4, but we'll round up. Doctorow's stories are often entertaining, and he gets the technology details down extremely well, but he's not entirely a natural storyteller. "Sysadmins" is enough of an inside job to work well, and both "I, Robot" and "I, Rowboat" hit a bunch of neat points on self, consciousness, and robotics, kind of like Stanislaw Lem-lite without his full array of narrative gifts. The Siege is a bit more story than Doctorow can really manage, and An ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed-friend
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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. ...more
Keith  Blodgett
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
May 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mixed feelings about this book - some disturbing stories and I could not relate to many of them and they felt a bit empty or it just took me a long time to understand the scenario and environment in which they took place. Very imaginative and not the kind of future we want to see though. May they be as a warning!
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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 Elec ...more

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