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Little Brother

(Little Brother #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  49,383 ratings  ·  5,735 reviews
Marcus aka “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a
Kindle Edition, 386 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Tor Teen (first published April 29th 2008)
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Ami If you are not interested in learning about computer science and network security, then this book will not be for you. Add to that fact that it all wa…moreIf you are not interested in learning about computer science and network security, then this book will not be for you. Add to that fact that it all was written in a very, very short amount of time. For such a limited schedule and so much information, it is daunting to read. But it inspired me to pursue Computer Science as a minor, so there's that. :)(less)
Charlie yes. it is my individual belief that this book is supposed to be Cory Doctorow's version of BB…moreyes. it is my individual belief that this book is supposed to be Cory Doctorow's version of BB(less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jun 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every American over 14 (does contain some graphic material)
There is a reason why totalitarian governments ban books. The reason is that books can change the world. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and Frederick Douglass' autobiography opened people's eyes to the evils of slavery; Anne Frank's Diary taught us that genocide kills innocent young girls; "To Kill a Mockingbird" showed us that justice isn't always just and that people should be judged by their character rather than the color of their skin; "The Grapes of Wrath" opened our eyes to the plight of migrant far ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
A softened, critical YA work in the tradition of Huxley, Orwell, and Capek, using a modern setting to show the dangers of a surveillance state, misuse of technology, political backlashes, and demagogy.

It´s a bit unrealistic that teams of teens should stand a chance against the government of a leading state (view spoiler)
“It's not about doing something shameful. It's about doing something private. It's about your life belonging to you.”
What do you value more - privacy or security? What if the endless security measures lull you into thinking you're safe but are in fact little but an excuse for a tight grip on your, ahem, 'unmentionables' in order to keep you meek and docile?

Billed as a young adult book, Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, despite its decidedly young voice and a few overexplanations aimed at chro
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What sounds from the description like a fun techno-thriller tinged with lefty politics is instead a didactic bore of a blog entry masquerading as a novel. I agree with the politics of the book; it's the bad writing I have a problem with. It seems Doctorow was so concerned with conveying his Important Message that he forgot that long lectures tend to kill plot momentum. (He also forgot about credible characters and dialogue that sounds like a real human being would actually say it.) A colossal di ...more
In an attempt to win over a new generation of sci-fi readers, Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" is marketed as a young adult book. However, adult readers shouldn't worry that Doctorow's book will leave them behind or have them feeling juvenile for reading it.

"Little Brother" is a mature, contemporary novel that looks at the issue of security in a near-future that doesn't seem too far from today. When San Francisco is attacked by terrorists, seventeen-year-old hacker Marcus and his friends are out
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow hits some sensitive themes over and over in a narrative of the sooner rather than later dystopian problems following a post 9/11 terrorist attack on America, this time in San Francisco.

Making an obvious tip of the cap to George Orwell, Doctorow begins his story in 2015 with hip, techie teenager Marcus and his exploits trying to avoid problems with his assistant principal. Geeky adolescent shenanigans are quickly interrupted by the attack and the subsequent martia
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Seventeen-year-old Marcus studies at a normal school in San Francisco set in the very near future. In this case normal school means total surveillance over the students, complete control over their movement and what they read. Marcus is knowledgeable and rebellious enough to fool the system into giving himself some freedom and privacy. One normal day at school follows another until Marcus and his friends escape it during a break and almost perished in a terrorist attack.

The survivors are rounde
Wil Wheaton
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens, technology enthusiasts,
Shelves: sci-fi, political
More polemic than novel, Little Brother is the kind of book I would have devoured when I was a teenager. I gave it to my teenage son, and he went nuts for it (he isn't a reader) and was inspired by the various suggestions in the text to learn more about RFID, surveillance, privacy, EFF, Linux, and other technologies Doctorow explores or mentions in the text.

The story and characters aren't as complex as they could have been, but I didn't mind. Cory wrote this for teenagers, and he was clearly mor
Monica Edinger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists, horny computer geeks, a sentient dumpster fire needing fuel
So I was required to read this entire book. Over the summer. For a computer science class. And I don't want to be melodramatic, but my enjoyment of that task was on par with Marcus' enjoyment of being waterboarded by the DHS. After suffering through nearly 400 poorly-edited pages, I now understand why people ban books.

Pretty much everything I wanted to say about this book has been said before by people more eloquent than I, so I thought I'd let "Little Brother" speak for itself.
Here are some pas
Yes, I put a book that was published 8 years ago on my 'Classics' & 'Historical' shelves. It's NOT on my 'Science Fiction' shelf. I read a fair amount of history & SF. This book is very important historically & will be acknowledged as a classic. I've been fiddling with computers since before the Internet was public & have been administering networks for 20 years now. There's nothing in this book that takes the science into the realm of SF.

One of my basic duties is dealing with security against b
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”Governments are instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

Marcus Yallow may not be a typical 17 year old kid, but he is fairly harmless. He might hack
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Torn between two and three stars. I enjoyed reading this; the plot was interesting, and all the informative parts were pretty accessible (well, the computer/crypto stuff was done much, much better than the history). But I thought the writing was pretty bad--it got increasingly melodramatic as the book went along. I kept waiting for Marcus to say to one of his friends "But down here, it's our time! It's our time down here!". I never bought his voice as that of an American kid--there were Britishi ...more
Claude's Bookzone
2.5 Stars

Well that had a whole lot of 'splaining throughout which, whilst necessary, made for some long dull moments in this YA dystopia.

I know this has been very popular but I honestly feel like it hasn't aged well. The main character makes lots of pervy comments about girls and says he can't hug his kidnapped, injured and traumatised male friend because guys don't hug each other. I think we have moved past that mentality as a society right? On the positive side, I really liked the way the dyst
Jul 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
One of the things that I love most about science fiction is its ability to look at trends in contemporary society, extrapolate them to their most extreme ends, and then use those extremes to reveal a fantastic analysis of our world and the directions that we are heading down. Good science fiction is the type that makes you step back when you finish and take a closer look at our own lives. With Little Brother, Cory Doctorow has crafted just such a novel. The fact that this is a book whose intende ...more
I have to admit that the first couple pages or so had me rolling my eyes and wondering if I would be able to actually finish this book. There's so much technoslang that it seemed to me to be trying too hard, even though it is a book about hackers and technokids... Like, "Spending Fridays at school was teh suck anyway, and I was glad of an excuse to make my escape." Teh suck? Really. Ugh. (Although, to be fair, at least he spelled out "suck" and didn't write "teh sux" or something. I probably wou ...more
Honestly, this book was awful. I had so many problems with it. First of all, it's extremely preachy. This could go both ways. If you agree with Cory Doctorow you would like it, however if your political views do not match up with Cory's you will find yourself angry and annoyed at the preachiness.

The book is also very condescending. Reading it is just like having a friend who keeps assuming you don't know what things mean and stops to explain every other word to you. The book explains EVERYTHING
The book raises several interesting issues: how much freedom are you willing to sacrifice for the sake of your security? when does civil discontent become terrorism? what if department of national security is more dangerous than any terrorist group? These are very important questions for young adults to ask themselves. The subject matter definitely makes this book a very compelling read.

There are many things I like about this book. Cory Doctorow creates a very convincing atmosphere of fear and h
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Blissfully geeky, great capture of intelligent teenagers in San Francisco, and a very realistic, believable story about what a short distance we are from a complete and utter police state. *grin*

Do you trade privacy for security?

ETA (1/21/12, just re-read this and did a podcast discussion with SFF Audio)

It was harder to read Little Brother the second time around. Not because the book is hard to read, it is the opposite. But because of everything we've just been through in the USA with SOPA and P
Hacker teens fight back when Homeland Security clamps down excessively on human rights after a terrorist bombing of a bridge in San Francisco. Brilliant in conception, but it’s kind of painful to immerse yourself in the plot and characters with all the didactic content. The impetus to move toward a policy state in the name of security is an ongoing issue well covered in this young adult morality tale. How these kids go about foiling the restrictions of our government with their own secure networ ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a strange mix: an alt-current SF (as alt-history, but divergence is not in the past but in the present) and a cook book about a digital security and ways to evade the surveillance state. The title alludes to the Big Brother from 1984, who watched over everyone. The book was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula in 2009.

This is a story of 17 years old Marcus Yallow, a.k.a “w1n5t0n” from San Francisco, who is a geek – he knows how to protect his data, has different DIY projects on tech side,
I think I might be too stupid to write this review.

Long story short: This book was a hell of a ride. It was slightly problematic as a novel, but damn if it wasn’t powerful anyway. It should probably be required reading. Long story long? Weeeeeellll. That’s when my brain starts to make whirring and booping noises and then I want to put my laptop away and go to sleep. Or eat a milkshake. Either one of those things, really.

Marcus Yallow is a seventeen year old in near-future San Francisco. When a t
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm reading an ARC of Cory Doctorow's new book and it is predictably well written and surprisingly infuriating. It's like a sub rosa training manual for pro-tech pro-civil liberty pro-privacy activists of tomorrow. He extrapolates into the future the tiniest amount but today's greasy fingerprints are all over the dystopic picture he paints of individual freedom. I'm finding myself enraged page after page, which is the whole point, and Doctorow's casual references to easily-kitbashed technology l ...more
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
At first I was wary of this book. It's YA, and Cory Doctorow is a technologist with very strong anarcho-libertarian-leaning views on privacy, piracy, and intellectual property rights. I happen to (mostly) agree with his views, but not without a few misgivings, and anyway, a preachy book that's a vehicle for an agenda will turn me off even if I agree with the agenda.

Despite a few spots where I think Doctorow simplified the issues too much, this is in fact a great book (taking into account that th
Jackie "the Librarian"
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 13 and up
A worst-case scenario teen thriller of what could happen if our war on terror gave Homeland Security an excuse to wield absolute power and new surveillance technology over our lives to track our every move. Countering this is a teen who knows all about computer systems, security, and various role-playing games. It's an homage to 1984, Little Brother, as opposed to Big Brother, and it reminded me of Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat. It was all a bit preposterous and over the top, but that ...more
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, but am a bit baffled at all the acclaim it's getting. I can see what Doctorow is trying to do, but he gets too preachy far too often and that kills any point he was trying to make for me. Marcus is too talented, too perfect at everything that needs to be done to be a legitimate portrayal of a teenager. I've seen other reviews say that he reads like Doctorow created a version of what he wished he was like at that age, and I agree completely. Throw in the most on ...more
Little Brother was not at all what I expected. When it was described to me, I was thinking that it would be something similar to Ready Player One, a fast-paced, high-action adventure about technology. While it was still quite a bit about technology (which is why I still gave it a higher rating), it was more of a political statement about privacy than anything else. I tend to be on the fence where privacy laws are concerned, thinking like a parent, "Well, if you're not guilty, what does it matter ...more
Natasha read this and loved it, talking me into starting as soon as she was done. It deals realistically with both the surveillance on students today in the US, and on what could happen in the immediate wake of another large-scale terrorist attack. It includes the sort of torture we know our government is fond of.

And while I was still turning it over in my mind, trying to decide how to review it, a principal decided to throw his school's One Book summer reading program out the window two days be
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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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Little Brother (3 books)
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