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With a Little Help

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  514 ratings  ·  59 reviews
With a Little Help is my first serious experiment in self-publishing. I’ve published many novels, short story collections, books of essays and so on with publishers, and it’s all been very good and satisfying and educational and so on, but it seems like it’s time to try something new.

You see, I’ve always released my work under open licenses from the Creative Co
ebook, 362 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Sweet Home Grindstone (first published October 13th 2007)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  514 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Eric Mesa
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This book was an experiment in funding and creating a book that I'm pretty sure came out before Kickstarter was as big as it is today. You have to hand it to Cory Doctorow, he lives what he preaches. He's been releasing books that are not only DRM-free, but are also Creative Commons licensed. Even though this means it's legal to get the book for free and share it for free, he's been able to make a living on his writing. (Probably helped by living in Canada and England where healthcare costs are ...more
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of shorts from Mr. Doctorow. Some of the stories are fun, others frightening and all engaging on many levels. Some of these I had read online over the past years as he post or published them but there were many that I had not seen before, including "Epoch" commissioned by Mark Shuttleworth, which was fantastic.

I listened to most of this as an audio book, and read other parts as an ebook. The one problem I have with both those media is that it's harder than with physical books to look back and remind myself about each of the stories after I've finished the entire book. So I remember the last, most recent ones better than the earlier ones. And I'm tempted to say my favorite story was the very last one, "Chicken Little." But I really enjoyed almost all of them, and "The Right Book" was another favorite.< ...more
Dale Lane
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally don't like short stories... I take a while to get into books, and with short stories often feel like they end before I've gotten engaged.

But I really liked this - nearly every story really got me thinking. Worth a read.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great short stories. My first intro to Cory Doctorow, I'll definitely read more of his stuff in the future.
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this in audiobook form and enjoyed every single story. Not a clunker in the group which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: calibre, kindle
The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away - 3/5.
The Right Book - 2/5. A story depicting book selling in a few years time.
Other People's Money - 2/5. Story about a happy startup that doesn't want to sell to a venture capitalist.
Scroogled - 4/5. What would happen the day Google became (more) evil. A highlight from the collection.
Human Readable - 3/5. The battle between clever networks that aren't human readable vs. legible computing.
Liberation Spectrum -
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The copy of this read came from my public library, and was printed on June 9th, 2011. Why is this relevant? Doctorow was experimenting with new models for publishing, and includes an Appendix of the financials. At time of writing that appendix, 209 copies had been sold, including 61 of the one-of-a-kind hardcovers, each with end papers created from donated ephemera from notable literary friends. I was following along during this experiment, thanks to the crap hound podcasts, and looking at the m ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty good collection of short fiction by Cory Doctorow. As is his wont, they all explore the social impact of new or upcoming technology, but many of these stories had me engrossed in their plotlines and didn't just feel like a fascinating lecture (which his writing can sometimes feel like). Highly recommend grabbing this for at least half of the stories, if you like Doctorow (or think you will). Plus it's pay-what-you-want at his website:
I really do enjoy collections of short stories mainly for the ease of being able to put them down for long amounts of time. The stories in this collection were all for the most part really enjoyable give take one or two in which I f0und myself yawning and wishing they'd just end, but not wanting to skip them cause then I wouldn't really feel like i'd read the whole collection so I just muddeled through those. My two favorite were Scroogled and Epoch. Scroogled is a bit of a horror story consider ...more
Xavier Ashe
A few good stories in here, but short stories are not my favorite.
[Note: I wrote this review while at work, mostly while listening to the book. As a result the tense varies between present and past. Whatever.]

I’m listening to this on audio. It was a free download and each story is read by a different performer. I listen to it while working in the back at the library. I must confess that since I’m at work while listening to this book, my attention is rarely focused properly upon the story, therefore I can listen to a story and not have any clue what
Rating: 8/10

I listened to the audio book, and I enjoyed hearing the stories read by some interesting people.

I like Cory's short stories so much because he's about ideas first, more so than he is about character development. The short story format gives him a good length to run with an idea and its implications, without getting too bogged down. That's not to say the characters are poorly drawn; they're merely good enough to carry the story and get to the interesting parts:
neko cam
It has its ups and downs, but there are a few absolute gems in this collection that more than make the whole thing worthwhile.

'The Things That Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away' was average.

'The Right Book' started interestingly enough, but got a step or two too abstract towards the end.

'Other People's Money' was enjoyable, but par-for-the-course for Doctorow.

'Scroogled' is a brilliant, tantalizingly dystopic story set 5-minutes-into-the
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Experimental sci-fi author Cory Doctorow’s new project is a self-published, print-on-demand collection of short stories called With a Little Help: an Experiment in Publishing. The stories revolve around technology; its impacts, its misuses, and its efforts to one day take control.

Not only are the stories brilliant, his process is intriguing: readers are able to go into an online system where you can report typos and other errors on his website, Doctorow then uses the tips to fix the errors and
Alex Telander
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By now many people will be familiar with the bestselling co-editor of Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow, after the young adult novel Little Brother, and his great adult book, Makers. Doctorow clearly has a knack for not just being to be able to string a bunch of words together creatively and skillfully, but each and every story is an important “What if?” to tell. Sometimes Doctorow offers dates, sometimes not; but readers can usually guess his stories are set in either the near future or within the nex ...more
Scott Fabel
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories than nearly all have a science fiction slant to them. As an entire collection, I rather liked these stories. There are a few standouts, but there are also a few duds. It is clear that Cory Doctorow writes for a particular audience--and he does it well. He has a lot to say about technology, and he is very informed on the topic. When he veers away from this topic, his writing is a bit weaker, but still good.

There were several stories that I just co
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Doctorow's writing is pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to novels. He tends to overlook or deprecate, without any good reasoning, some of the fundamental concerns of science fiction stories when he writes scifi (a trait he shares with Stross); his story construction for tales of novel length tends to be a bit unimpressive; and his concepts start dragging after a few dozen thousands of words. Some of his novels are quite good, of course (I particularly recommend Little Brother and its sequel Homeland, plus Makers), but ...more
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories once again shows why Cory Doctorow is such a respected futurist. These are all near future stories, several of them commissioned to focus on certain aspects of the future, and yet all of them seem very fresh and unique. From facing down an AI that is aware of its impending deactivation, to dealing with relationship issues in a world where technology is becoming less reliable and the spouses are on separate sides of the issue. I think my favorite story here is Chi ...more
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any sci-fi or internet culture fan
Cory Doctorow is well known activist, journalist, and blogger. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He's the co-editor of Boing Boing. This book is his latest attempt at pushing the boundaries of book publishing to help authours prosper in the 'digital economy'

And because of all of that, many people forget or will never know the most important fact about Cory for a Goodreads reader... He's an awesome authour.
Dione Basseri
Good news: There's an audiobook of this available for free from Doctorow's website! Though you are HIGHLY encouraged to donate, and it's well worth a little cash Doctorow's way.

I've already reviewed a few stories from this volume that are in Goodreads as their own entries. "The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away," "Other People's Money," "Scroogled," and "Chicken Little." Good stories, all, but my FAVORITE in this volume is "Epoch," in which a true self-aware co
I really like Cory Doctorow's writing. He writes about very high-geek topics (things that are one the fringes of my understanding as one of those people happy to use technology without having the slightest idea how it works) but always grounds it in very real human personal interactions. I think his likeable, realistic or even quirky characters warm and make relatable these amorphous concepts. Like all good science fiction, while the story might be structured around a new technology or technique ...more
This is a collection of Doctorow's stories syndicated @ Each one was commissioned by a different magazine or group for various purposes. Perfect for any fan of speculative fiction.

I'm not Cory Doctorow's biggest fan. In fact, I couldn't consider myself a fan at all. Most of his fiction starts off w/ an unbelievable premise, and quickly jumps into the absurd. But at the last moment everyone comes together through the magic of the internet, and everything is magically mad
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like Cory Doctorow's fiction, usually a lot. "With A Little Help", a collection of 12 short stories, all but one of them being reprints, however, took me months to complete, and while there were external circumstances that contributed to this, I think that most of this can be attributed to the fact that I was a little bored by some of the stories, mainly because the writing in these stories is rather poor in my opinion.

There are some stories I liked a lot, namely "The Right Book", "Other People'
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
Review first published on My Blog. Check out all my reviews there.

Mr. Doctorow's first foray into self-publishing with a reprint of several short stories and one commissioned piece. I found the stories at the end more engrossing since they were typically longer and it was easier to really get into them. The story of BIGMAC was definitely intriguing but I think my favorite was the one with the ancient millionaires being kept alive artificially and people trying to come up with the next big
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i havent quite finished this yet, but i know how i feel about it. i just really dislike short story anthologies. and, i have learned, authors reading books.

some of the readings were SO bad, i could only listen to a few minutes before i had to turn the track. ughh.

i've read a number of cory doctorow's books now and they seem to have a pretty general theme and it is starting to show itself to be the same theme throughout. i'm okay with that.

i'll probably slow do
Peter Tillman
First four stories: I'm just not having much fun reading them, OK? Two bleak dystopias about 24/7 surveillance, check. OK story about a craphound artist, 3/5 at best. Oddball bookish story, maybe 3.5/5

So the fun factor seems to be gone/ Come to think of it, I haven't seen anything cheerful from Cory for quite some time. Maybe it's just me? Or not.

I'll dip in again later. But I've now read 4/12 of the stories, and don't feel in any hurry to go on. Sigh.
Cory Doctorow is a one message pony. That doesn't mean I didn't like his stories. I enjoy seeing how many different ways he can tell us that we shouldn't trust authority. I read this collection of short stories via DailyLit, an email subscription service, getting a bit more than a page a day. Some of the stories warranted asking for the next segment right away. Some I just read at the regular pace. I think having them spaced out more helped keep me from being annoyed at his one message. Sometime ...more
Great stories, and a wonderfully innovative publishing concept, which you can read about here:

I'll probably write out a longer review later on, but for now I'd just strongly recommend this to anyone who's already a Doctorow fan, and anyone who is interested in nifty near-future short-form science fiction, presented in what could very well be the publishing format of the future.

(And to make it even cooler, my name's in the book!)
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collection with their origin stories

I really enjoyed this collection of stories. The longer ones at the end were even more engrossing since I was better able to live in their world.
The best part may be the origin stories for these tales. It's fascinating to hear where, when and why each story was written. Nothing is created in a vacuum and it was fun to get a glimpse into where each story came from.
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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 Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open ...more