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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  5,717 ratings  ·  663 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother, a major novel of the booms, busts, and further booms in store for America

Perry and Lester invent things—seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems, like the “New Work,” a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,717 ratings  ·  663 reviews

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Feb 12, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, science-fiction
I hesitate to mark this book as 'read', but I did read over half of it. I usually don't stop in the middle of books, but this book was an exception. I didn't just dislike it - it made me actively angry.

It's not the concepts or politics that made me angry - I'm familiar with Doctorow's agenda, and I agree with most of it. I'm a lefty, I'm interested in technology and decentralized/local production of goods and services, I think activism can be important, and I think copyright is broken. I didn't
Ruby  Tombstone Lives!
This is a book people will either love or be "meh" about. The best I can do for a review is tell people what to expect. So if you're okay with the following, then the book may be for you..

The book has a non-traditional story arc. The narrative doesn't go where you think it's going to go at any point in time, and resists attempts to categorise it. Some people may feel it that it meanders, or that it doesn't have a point. I am okay with this.

All of the characters are flawed. There is not a single
Ari Cheslow
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Cory friggin Doctorow. I don't know what to make of this guy. I really want to give this book both a 0 and a 5. He is full of fascinating ideas. This book is fascinating. He shows the implications of technology, really doable tech, but with huge consequences in society. What happens as three d printers get better and making more stuff. When the distance between design and the product gets shorter and easier. What will people do? What will corporations do when anyone can do what they do? He prese ...more
Maya Panika
I tried very hard to like this book. I loved the pretext and I really wanted to like it, but it’s so hard going, nothing much seems to happen and it’s much, much too long.

Focussing on a very near, wholly believable future, the story kicks off brilliantly, the characters start out interesting but then - nothing. The characters quickly merge and become indistinguishable, so that you have to work rather too hard to keep up with who’s doing what, where and why. What story there is is so heavily padd
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
At first, I was a little annoyed with feeling like I was just reading BoingBoing in novel version. All the usual suspects show up: DIY everything, creative economic models, subcultures, nonsense legal actions, open source, 3d printing, Disney, online meeting/consensus tools, revision control systems, police brutality, urban decay, and of course citizen-journalism.

But then a whole plot appears and it's compelling. The book doesn't quit bringing new ideas and twists and I really like how it follow
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: future-is-now, sci-fi
I’ve always wished that I had the engineering knack so I could invent something like a robot that does laundry or flying cars or something cool like that. Hell, I’d be tickled if I could figure out something fun like dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. After reading this book, I’m kind of glad to be technically challenged because it seems like there’d be a dark side to being that kind of guy.

This realistic sci-fi story takes place in the near future where economic woes have left corporations as shel
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have a good contender for worst read of 2015!

The first half of this book is simply a message with a story slathered thinly on top. The practically all-male cast is cardboard and hollow, and their characters seem to be half developed based on what clothes they wear and food they eat. The female main character is a Mary Sue who can do little wrong (every single male character professes himself in love with her at some point). The other female characters are weird wish fulfillment girl (a college
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I am so glad this one is finished with. It's strange, I really quite like Doctorow but only in short bursts it seems. His ideas are great and his message worth while but it gets a little tiring being preached to in your fiction and in Makers there's a whole lot of didactic dialogue. Doctorow takes his idea and spins it through several revolutions of basically the same plot for 400+ pages in an attempt to make it an epic spectacle that takes decades to come to fruition, instead leaving you feelin ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Kara Babcock
Economics is weird. The economy is a social system. Once upon a time, it was based somewhat in reality, with gold standards and natural resources forming a large part of this anchor. At present, it has transformed into a mostly speculative beast, the taming of which is the goal of any number of hedge fund managers, stock market analysts, and economics professors with cushy degrees from Ivy League or wannabe-Ivy League schools. To make matters worse, the economy is based on the behaviour of peopl ...more
The future is now, kids, and Makers shines a light on the irrepressible heroes of the humming hive of creative, cooperative production.

Perry and Lester are a couple of tinkering tech whizzes whose tastes and talents gear towards fabricating new, cool stuff out of junk. Bankrolled by biz visionary Kettlewell, and media-documented by the astute tech chronicler Suzanne Church, they manage to spawn a whole new approach to goods production, The New Work, and in the process rehabilitate a squat site
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Gen Xer I've been regaled with tales of those early PC days when the prehistoric hackers worked from garages and slept under the VW buses together, and I think Cory Doctorow has as well. In Makers he takes the same idea of the passionate artists and technology hackers pushing the boundaries with new technologies and places them in the near future - the twenty-teens. In this brave new world he explores the implications of junk yards full of hardware and kitsch mass-marketed detritus, obesity ...more
Tim Hicks
May 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Buzzword dump.

Lots of interesting but weak ideas. Barely adequate characters. A sex scene that I didn't dislike as much as others but it was as out of place as a tuxedo on a frog (yeah, I know, Hello, mah honey, helo, mah baby ...). A Heinleinesque style where the world has three incredibly smart people and six billion morons. Cory's Disney obsession again.

Two things in particular wrecked it for me.

First, the assumption that within a few short years, you can put generic goop into a 3D printer
Abby Jean
Apr 13, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2011, didn-t-finish
did not care for this. doctrow's fetishization of returning to the days of hand crafts and tooled leather belts and blah blah seemed more retro than futuristic to me, and when he got into a future word where weight loss was easy but you could still tell who the former fatties were, he lost me for good. didn't finish. ...more
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was winding and kinda messy, just like what it was trying to say. Doctorow explores a potential evolution of capitalism, where the means of production are more accessible to the people, at the same time as the availability of stable jobs is shrinking. Through the eyes of the producers, a journalist, a couple of suits and a bad guy or two, we see how the ability to build and create can connect and people and create movements.

I liked this, but it was fat and weird and meandering. If you like
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 This is a departure from other Doctorow I have read. Full to the brim with ideas and society's reactions to those ideas, and a little more sx than I can recommend to the kids I normally recommend him to ;) I like the epilogue as a bit of a cautionary tale. ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
One of the most boring books I've read. I didn't care about the characters or what they were doing. Ugh...what a waste of good reading time. I marked it as read but gave up after getting halfway through. I guess I was hoping it would get better. It didn't. ...more
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Some 30 years after the Reagan revolution transformed the American economy and refocused all our resources on a wealth transfer to the richest among us, we can see that the goals of that Revolution have been nearly completed. The middle class is disappearing rapidly and well on its way to being converted into a huge mass of people who can no longer be called working class since the jobs have disappeared. Without a socialist intervention in the very near future, America can expect to end up in a ...more
Aug 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Cory Doctorow's Makers is a book full of ideas and possibility, which makes up for a somewhat predictable plot and flattened characters.

I read this book after I had read Doctorow's Little Brother; the two have very strong similarities in plot structure. It's a serviceable - if a bit transparent - structure, but the girders and siding are definitely showing after reading both of these books.

This isn't surprising - both books are idea books. Where Little Brother is concerned with personal freedoms
Mark Harding
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's such a page turner that I stayed up all night to finish it. Three new ideas a page.

Interesting things:
The novel is purposely designed to force the reader to make moral judgments and avoid easy answers:
-- Lester and Perry make different choices at the end. Which one is more realistic about the nature of capitalism. Which is the more moral choice? Are they both fantasists?
-- Can you morally coexist with the MBA types? Is the company structure the only effective way to get things done?
-- Are
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a book full of BIG IDEAS - and if you're the type of geeky tech-obsessed person who loves BIG IDEAS about the future of tech, business, litigation, fitness, etc., you'll enjoy the truly speculative fiction element of this book. I enjoy that sort of stuff just fine, but I already read a million blogs and New Yorker articles about it, and when I read fiction I want to read FICTION. Doctorow is a terrible fiction writer; as much as I love his blog and his ideas (and he's an amazing person t ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Actual rating: 1.5 stars.

If you follow the Boing Boing web site, you'll be familiar with the themes expressed in Makers, Cory Doctorow's "Novel of the Whirlwind Changes to Come." If you've read Ayn Rand, you'll be familiar with Cory's writing style and pacing. If you've ever made a list of two hundred techno-geek words and thought about using them in a book, you'll be familiar with Cory Doctorow's method. I was ready to quit after one chapter, but told myself I'd plod on until Cory started to in
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
This is sort of a strange book. It was hard to figure out whether this book was about people or about technology or about business or about creativity or (as is most likely) an amalgamation of all four. The story takes a few jumps: at the beginning it seems to set itself up as one thing and then shifts gears rather dramatically into another direction.

Cory Doctorow also continues his fascination and love/hate relationship with Disney. The only other book of his I've read, Down and Out in the Mag
May 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
The first part of this book made me angry. The main POV character, a journalist who becomes a successful blogger by writing about nerds making stuff, smelled strongly of author insertion and it pushed some personal buttons of mine with regards to how it presented people with weight issues. I think the issues raised by Lester and the fatkins diet could be interesting if developed into their own story, but as a subplot to a larger work it felt sloppy and disrespectful.

Later sections of the book we
Jan 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
It was a great book until 164 pages in there was a 3 page long x-rated sex scene with no warning and zero plot relevance. Listen, that normally doesn’t bother me but it was so gratuitous, so POINTLESS, and contained the cringetastic line “it wasn’t a one night stand. It was an intimate, loving relationship compressed into one day.” Said by college girl to guy in his 40s because she’s *enlightening* him with her *sexual energy* I guess. I’m finishing the book because the first 163 pages were good ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it liked it

You know in the first episode of Firefly, when Mal kicks open Simon's cooler (spoiler!), and looks in to see a naked girl inside? He peers down and then says, "...Huh." That's kind of my reaction to this book. It started out absolutely un-put-downable, fascinating and ebullient. Then it kind of dragged in the middle. By 2/3 of the way through I just wanted to finish so I could be finished, though it warmed up a little towards the end. I really don't know what to make of the book as a whole.
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems that people either love this book or hate this book. No middle ground.

One of the reasons that people tend to dislike Makers is that it seems to advocate a socio-communal social structure where people are basically good and if you just get the lawyers out of the way, everything will work out. However, even the author doesn't seem to believe this worldview very strongly because choices have consequences and the relationships between the best and nicest people tend to decay like a rotten t
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
I should read Cory Doctorow's books when they are new. This suffered from being set in a future that is mostly past now. (One tiny detail he got wrong: Jimmy Carter is still very much alive.) I enjoyed reading it, a lot - it has Doctorow's typical one-of-a-kind geeky characters and madcap tech.

But some things were cringeworthy, like calling people who took a treatment to reverse obesity "fatkins," and other things were too inconsistent, like if that obesity treatment were possible, the medical/
Jul 08, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2022
Woof, this was a SLOG for most of it, but the ending was worth the effort (for the most part). Quite possibly the most fatphobic book I've ever read? Often this felt like a novelization of a business plan (actually multiple plans), which was sort of interesting, but also confusing and not really necessary. I enjoyed the interactions between most of the characters, and the way the story wrapped up was unexpected and interesting. I think this exists in the same world as Walkaways (just many years ...more
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
So this book was actually pretty good in terms of writing. Normally I’d rate this book the same as I rate his other books, a solid four, but I was pretty turned off by what seemed like a lot of, and this is the only term I know for it, fat shaming. It was supposed to be a book about ideas and technology, how a future non centralized economy could work, but there was almost a fixation on putting down overweight people. Very out of place with the tone of the book.
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Hard SF: BotM: “Makers” by Cory Doctorow 2 30 Nov 12, 2013 12:28AM  

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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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