Little Brother

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Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Tom Doherty Associates | November 11, 2010 | Hardcover

Little Brother is rated 4.7059 out of 5 by 17.
Marcus, a.k.a “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 major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 8.6 × 5.8 × 1.3 in

Published: November 11, 2010

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0765319853

ISBN - 13: 9780765319852

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book This was a great book. First of all the fact that the main character is a guy is really good, i'm sick of all these books with girls as the main character. Second it's very realistic, it's scary but something like this can happen. Last but sure as hell not least this book was never boring. If you can read, you should read this book.
Date published: 2013-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome I don't think the age rating is quite appropriate though.
Date published: 2012-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must-read! Little Brother is a fantastic story — compelling, terrifying (not in a horror way) and eye opening. I think it’s a book that every teenager (and probably every adult too) should read. It makes you think twice about the things that you take for granted, and definitely makes you want to go back to carrying cash instead of cards. RFID blocking wallet? I think so! I’ve heard Cory Doctorow’s name mentioned over and over again, but I’d never read anything by him. What caught my eye with Little Brother was the blurb from Neil Gaiman on the book’s cover: “I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year.” Wow! High praise, right? How could I pass this book by? The answer is simple, I couldn’t. And folks, here’s some free advice, never pass up a recommendation by Neil Gaiman. The man is a genius, and he knows good books. Little Brother is the story of Marcus, a high school hacker who ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Marcus and his friends cut class and end up being near the center of a terrorist attack on San Francisco. The teens get picked up by Homeland Security and the story evolves from there. Doctorow deals with some strong themes and very important ideas in Little Brother. This book will make people think — think about what they are willing to give up for the sake of safety, and think about whether or not that safety is just an illusion. After reading Little Brother, I feel very strongly that it’s a book that should be read and taught in High Schools. I think that the discussions that would arise from this book would be invaluable and hugely important for a generation of kids growing up in a world that is hugely different from the way it was ten years ago. The issues that Doctorow raises with Little Brother are ones that teenagers, and adults, really need to consider as the world we live in creeps closer and closer to the world of Orwell’s 1984. Doctorow’s book, which would work as a modern day companion piece to 1984, is very well written. The plot and characters are strong and the pacing is fantastic. I really, highly, recommend this book. It’s an important work of fiction.
Date published: 2012-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read and Re-Read It was going to be fun solving the next clue in Harajuku Fun Madness. Marcus, known online as w1n5t0n(Winston), met up with his friends in the San Francisco neighbourhood called the Tenderloin. They were zeroing in on the game location when a series of blasts shook the area. While pushing their way through the crowd at the subway station, Darryl, one of the friends, is stabbed. They go back to the surface to seek help. When Marcus finally manages to flag down a passing vehicle, that's when his troubles really begin. The Department of Homeland Security mobilizes instantly after the explosions. This can't be a bad thing, as they were set up to protect American interests, and what could be more American than it's citizens. Marcus quickly learns that at least some of their employees can be very vindictive, even towards those very Americans. Much of this story unfolds through the use of technology. Yes, there are laptops and cell phones, after all, it is the rare teenager that is caught without his or her accessories. It was the use of the hacked Xbox Universal and Paranoid Linux that really got 'things' moving. I totally enjoyed the discussions of cryptography and personal and public keys. I had previously heard of key signing parties in business (persons flying in from around the globe to sign) but not for private correspondence. Now if I could just find me a fashionable Faraday pouch I'd be set, or is that secure. My favourite scene in the book had to be the vamp mob. I can imagine the frenzy of a rush hour crowd being caught up with a thousand or more teens dressed as vampires yelling "bite, bite, bite, bite, bite." My overall take on this book: America all started out playing a cooperative game, the objective being a country where all could live safely, freely and be happy. After the attack on the the bridge, the DHS became an aggressor. Each time DHS's control slipped, they cheated at the game and changed the rules. The only way the citizens could achieve their objective was to play the game with a different approach. No longer could they play to win, but they had to play to thwart this new opponent so he couldn't win. The average citizen had to play the game such that they could make the cheaters rules work against them. I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book. It was read by Kirby Heyborne. 11 hours 54 minutes. From Listening Library at Random House. After finishing listening, I ordered two hardbound copies, one for my bookshelf and one to lend. I then listened to the complete audio book for a second time.
Date published: 2011-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wasn't able to put it down Little Brother was a book I saw in my school's library and thought could be interesting; the comparision to George Orwell's 1984 helped this interest. This book is unlike anything I'd ever read -I went out and bought it a few days after finishing it and promptly told everyone I knew how much I had enjoyed it. I found the characters dynamic, the dialogue witty and the plot kept my interest every step of the way. There are not many books that I give up sleep for, but this was one of them. I thought this was a brilliant book and by the end I felt as if anything was possible; I felt as though my generation is capable of making an impact for the better. I found this book to be a call to arm's of sorts; stand up for what is right, do what you have to to be heard and don't let anyone tell you that you're too young to make any sort of difference. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to EVERYONE.
Date published: 2010-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from CyberSociety…and some sex This novel is compelling reminder for a new generation of mid to older teens that every light casts a shadow, every benefit has a cost. Our increasing reliance on public and private collective authority means that we hand over ever more of our personal power in exchange for apparent security and a more manageable, less haphazard life. LITTLE BROTHER reads well. Though I appreciated the explanations of technical details and the occasional pleasantly pedagogical meanderings through postwar American social history, I wonder if less words may have been used to this end: the cyber/tech lingo and related permutations of plot weigh the story down somewhat, and at times pushed the limits of my patience. The brief essays presented at the book’s end are interesting and informative, a nice touch. The element of LITTLE BROTHER which rather spoiled the book for me regrettably comprises a sizeable chunk of our culture. It is almost inescapable in adult reading material and on screen, and is making its way relentlessly into teen and YA fiction resources. IT is explicit sex. Even when it occupies a relatively small portion of a book. IT has compromised many a novel for me, and when my daughter was younger than her current ripe old age of 15, it caused me to refrain from recommending to her attention several otherwise excellent books (perhaps the tables have turned now?). I wonder if it’s helpful to dwell on this. Maybe our hyper-sexualized ethos is just a symptom of a deeper, more primary problem which must be addressed first. But there will always be a more-underlying issue…we can only act where we find ourselves now, and hope that what we sow may chance upon a patch of receptive soil. What saddens me, and the reason I write this, is that I fear that increasing sexual indulgence and explicitness, the commodification and commercialization of sex, go hand-in-hand with a decline in the integrity of a society; that they reflect patterns throughout human history that form part of a downward spiralling and, ultimately, the dis-integration of civilizations. My daughter (at present not exactly a paradigm of patience) tells me that she tends to find children bothersome and often just plain annoying, and that she may well choose not to bear a child when she is older. In a way, this gives me a feeling of relief, because I find myself struggling to keep up my faith in, and hope for, humanity. (Though perhaps it’s not humanity that is the proper object of faith anyway…) Mr. Doctorow: your characters wonder, Who can be trusted? Surely, before all, they trust YOU not to spy on perhaps the most intimate experiences of their lives. They trust you, of all people, to respect their privacy—just as they rebel against government surveillance of their everyday lives. Authors: please do not make me a voyeuse! Take to heart what the ghostly protagonist in a story by Aidan Chambers has to say: I’m not one of those ghosts who go round peeping at friends they’ve left behind, enjoying the sight of them in all kinds of situations both public and private. (Personally, I think that’s as sick an occupation for a ghost as it is for a mortal.) (from Dead Trouble in GHOSTS THAT HAUNT YOU) Mercifully, in LB the inevitable consummation of said relationship is not graphically spelled out for us. Excellent writers learn how to employ understatement, subtlety, brevity, humour, distancing, mystery—in a word, tact—to represent, and honour, sexual intimacy. They do not betray the trust of their characters, nor that of their readers.
Date published: 2009-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 1985 jr. Welcome the american distopia. Marcus lives in a post 9/11 world where security is the excuse for violating civil liberties. This only gets worse after a major terrorist attack on the san fran bay bridge. Marcus is a 17 year old hacker who is arrest by DHS for just being near a terrorist attack. His treatment at the hands of DHS and the major increase in the governmental access to personal information causes marcus to fight back. Peacefully of course. When the internet is monitored, he creates his own internet. When the cops start keeping profiles of citizens movement he scrambles citizen electronic ids. When the government starts censoring the news he publishes the truth. Any one who has watched the U.S. freedoms crumble under the patriot act will find the the novel eerily familiar. And a frightening vision of what could be.
Date published: 2009-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Could totally win the Hugo's this august, 'nuff said.
Date published: 2009-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sibling of "Nineteen Eighty Five" Little Brother is party about the way society runs under the careful watch of a government. Little Brother is partly about the dark side and illegal imprisonment. Little Brother is partly about the clever use of technology. On seeing the title, one is immediately reminded of George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty Five where Big Brother is all powerful and watchful. Is Cory Doctorow suggesting that the forces of Little Brother are similar but to a lesser degree? Or is he simply writing the tale of a teenager who grows up as a techno-geek? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Teens play an important role at times when society is corrupted. It is wrong for adults to say that teens are rebellious and that their thoughts and actions are reckless. Teens do in fact have credible opinions and are idealistic. Doctorow validates teens by making them heroes in this turbulent society where control is exercised and fear results. In fact rebellion can be good. Through first person narration, Doctorow develops the main character, Marcus Yallow, to be a highly influential leader. He has a sturdy belief that they should live in a freedom loving country, but his belief is stifled by the Department of Homeland Security. Consequently, he rebels in a very rousing and active way. In the end, he succeeds at gaining the attention and agreement of adults and put an end to the police state. Yes, teen rebellion can be a good thing. Today, sophisticated technology exists that enhances daily life. In Little Brother, Doctorow suggests that even though technology benefits every aspect of living, it certainly has its flaws. The domineering government uses technology to control its citizens. Cameras are at every corner street and track the travel patterns of the citizens. Doctorow uses explicit detail to describe each and every piece of technology in the world of Little Brother. On the other hand, the technology allows Marcus to use XNet which assembles an army of teens to rebel against the imposing government. In other words, technology empowers the heroes. A distinct sense of suspense is created when the government instills fear into its citizens. Doctorow once again relates it to society where there may be an illegal and inhumane prison just a mile off shore. The government would be very authoritative and no privacy would be considered. The police state which controls the citizens in Little Brother reminds me of present day prison camps such as Guantanamo Bay and those in war torn Afghanistan and Iraq. The way Little Brother is very similar to Nineteen Eighty Five strongly suggests the theme of censorship and Doctorow surely made it clear with all the evidences. No doubt, fear and imprisonment is the ultimate tool of a government to control its citizens. This book is undoubtedly one of the most suspenseful and arousing novel I have read. It reminds us of many moral attributes that we are blinded from. It is a book worth spending the time to reflect deeply about. Read it. Sleep with it. Dream about it. It’s a great book.
Date published: 2009-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Bit Heavy on the Message Little Brother was blurbed by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Scott Westerfeld. It's appeared on multiple best books of 2008 lists, received a ton of great reviews and is a contender for The Hugo Award for best novel. Marcus, a seventeen year-old hacker, is skipping school with three of his friends when Bay Bridge is blown up. In the chaos, he and his friends are mistaken for perpetrators and captured by the police. They are taken to an unknown location where they are interrogated for days. When they're finally released, Marcus is shocked to discover the methods police use to "prevent terrorism" (which often include taken away citizens' rights). He refuses to take this lying down-ultimately, deciding to take the problem into his own hands. He's a smart, technologically aware teen and soon he's found himself leading a following of people, devoted to exposing the government's misdemeanors. At first, I found the book engaging, informative (but still interesting) and hard to put down. However, subtle would not be the best word to describe the book. It's filled with paragraphs explaining technology (such as LARPing, gait-recognition software, etc.) and paragraphs that almost seem to lecture you. On one hand, I knew very little about the technology Marcus described and the way it was presented was easy to understand and in some cases, absolutely fascinating. But, on the other hand, those moments tended to take me out of the story. Sometimes I felt as if the book sacrificed a better-developed plotline and characters for the message. Still, the novel's an excellent way to spark a discussion-the exact discussion that needs to be had at a point where we all rely on technology so much (without fully understanding it) and how easy it would be for our rights to be taken away. Little Brother is also a coming-of-age novel. By the end of the novel, Marcus had made a lot of mistakes (and learned from them..most of the time), fallen in love and grown up. He's a smart, believable character just like the novel (in fact, the novel's premise is frighteningly realistic). Despite my problems with the book, I would definitely recommend reading i
Date published: 2009-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Little Brother XD This book was the best hackers book i have ever read. Well... its the only book, but it was really good! The book is about this guy named Marcus, a.k.a w1n5t0n, a.k.a M1ck3y. Marcus and his 3 friends get sent to a "prison" right after a terrorist attack, in San Fransico. Couple of weeks later they get released, except for one. Marcus decides to get back at the gouvernment for taking away everything he kept a secret/his dignity. Little Brother teaches you about hacking the right way, and how good our serveillous is in our country. Totally not a nerdy book! You just have funn reading about hacking, that in the end you want to start hacking yourself. XD
Date published: 2009-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 in 2010 This smart and sweet teen novel is narrated by Marcus, a 17-year-old who happens to be skipping school with friends on the day that terrorists attack San Francisco. Marcus and his friends, caught on the street and suspected of involvement in the attack, are imprisoned and interrogated. Marcus is released after a few days, but one of his friends remains missing. In the aftermath of the attack, freedoms are curtailed, surveillance is heightened, and fear of further attacks is used to quell public protest. As the Department of Homeland Security escalates its interventions, Marcus, who's seen what they can do to innocent civilians in the name of security, begins to fight back, first by organizing an informal network of hacked Xboxes immune to surveillance. The Xnet becomes a vector for political dissent, and Marcus finds himself one of the leaders of a new movement. The near-future scenario of this book is all too plausible and familiar, and the arguments around government monitoring of private information are presented intelligently and respectfully. Doctorow very clearly comes down on the side of individual privacy and freedom, but without dismissing the real fears and tragedies that lead people to comply with security measures. Marcus is a goofy, smart and believable character: he loves his parents but can't always stand them; his actions are sometimes brave and well-planned, and other times silly or impetuous. He's a good kid: smart, loyal and idealistic; he is also a normal kid, who occasionally drinks, has sex with his girlfriend, and skips class to play games. Marcus's enemies are adults, but adults aren't The Enemy; his parents and their friends become valuable allies, once Marcus gets over his unwillingness to confide in them. And while there is plenty of information, both technical and philosophical, for the reader to absorb, the novel is funny and whimsical enough that it rarely feels didactic. A climactic scene in which Marcus attempts to skip town under the cover of a live-action vampire role-playing game is both hilarious and terrifying. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2009-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! This is a must-read! It teaches you so much and makes you question things about technology that most people don't think about or just overlook. It makes you more aware about how the government (and companies) can track you through them, and shows we can't take our freedom for granted. Seventeen year old Marcus and his friends find themselves at the wrong place and time, caught up in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco and are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and whisked away to a secret prison, which turns out to be on an island off the city. When the DHS finally releases them, except for his friend, Darryl, Marcus discovers that the city has changed and is now run like a police state. The DHS treats everyone like a terrorist, creating checkpoints and monitoring the activities of everyone. Marcus knows that the only way to get his city and friend back is to fight the DHS with all he's got, but how? He uses the Xnet, basically a system that uses the Internet through an Xbox but which the government doesn't have control over yet. (The novel explains this stuff way better than this of course.) Soon, more people are joining, but will the Xnetters, or "Little Brothers" be able to take down a government that's out of control? It was such a great book. I liked the useful descriptions about computer security and stuff (which was told in a way that you could understand) , the storyline, the lessons learned, and the characters, which I felt like you could really get into and relate.
Date published: 2009-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Xquisite Set in a near future world that is realistic and very well possible, this novel, which pays homage to George Orwell's 1984, features a wonderful plot filled with twists and turns, and engaging---Not to mention human---characters that just feel absolutely real. This book is the must read of the year.
Date published: 2008-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1984 for the 21st century This book was fantastic! I never really enjoyed 1984 when I read it but i understood the concepts and ideas behind the book. Little brother takes those ideas and applies them to the world post 9/11. It actually made me want to pull my computer apart and see what makes it tick. It also made me aware of how many of our day to day actions can be tracked and used for profiling. Seems that Orwell's message to stay ever vigilant and not let our governments take all power from its citizens is alive and well in this book. 11 out of 10
Date published: 2008-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from TImely and Relevant Little Brother could very well be the 21st century's Catcher in the Rye. In a world only narrowly removed from goose-stepping totalitarianism, Doctorow shows us not only how easy it would be to remove that last barrier, but what people can do to fight against monolithic, bureaucratic evil, one individual at a time. I've enjoyed all of Doctorow's works so far, but Little Brother is his most polished work to date. Marcus, the narrator, is a tech-savvy 17-year old, and he never talks down to his audience even while at his most instructive - no pedantry here. Althouth the book is marketed toward teens (the Tor Teen imprint is on the spine), it is easily the most entertaining book I've read so far in 2008, and is equally accessible for adults - although you might not be able to trust yourself entirely after reading it, especially if you're over 25. Rarely have I felt as emotionally involved in a novel, and I literally couldn't put it down - I began reading at 10pm, and didn't stop until finishing the acknowledgements at 6am the next morning. In a nutshell, and not to sound too melodramatic, this book is important: important if you care about freedom; important if you don't think Big Brother is out there; important if you think it's only those with things to hide that need to worry about increased scrutiny and illegal wire-tapping. If you care about the future we and our children will be living in, read this book.
Date published: 2008-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Recommended for everyone over 13y I've been trying for two days to come up with a more coherent review than "possibly the best book I've ever read!" -- and yet that about sums it up. There's something in here for just about everyone. Whether you're a techno-geek or a Luddite, the technology descriptions are written in easy-to-read and easy to understand terms. Marcus's narrative flows smoothly, providing asides in tones of "this is cool! let me tell you why" but never patronizing or condescending. It's a book about clever kids being clever, but still making mistakes and learning from them. It's a story about coming of age while the world is changing drastically around you. It's about learning what's worth fighting for, and how to fight against overwhelming odds. It's about trust -- in yourself, in your friends and family, in your country and government -- and what it takes to lose it and earn it. Most importantly - it inspires hope that big things can be changed, and that even small changes are worth making.
Date published: 2008-04-30

– More About This Product –

Little Brother

by Cory Doctorow

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 8.6 × 5.8 × 1.3 in

Published: November 11, 2010

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0765319853

ISBN - 13: 9780765319852

About the Book

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. WHO'S WATCHING BACK?

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 I’m a senior at Cesar Chavez, High in San Francisco’s sunny Mission district, and that makes me one of the most surveilled people in the world. My name is Marcus Yallow, but back when this story starts, I was going by w1n5t0n. Pronounced "Winston." Not pronounced "Double-you-one-enn-five-tee-zero-enn"— unless you’re a clueless disciplinary officer who’s far enough behind the curve that you still call the Internet "the information superhighway." I know just such a clueless person, and his name is Fred Benson, one of three vice-principals at Cesar Chavez. He’s a sucking chest wound of a human being. But if you’re going to have a jailer, better a clueless one than one who’s really on the ball. "Marcus Yallow," he said over the PA one Friday morning. The PA isn’t very good to begin with, and when you combine that with Benson’s habitual mumble, you get something that sounds more like someone struggling to digest a bad burrito than a school announcement. But human beings are good at picking their names out of audio confusion—it’s a survival trait. I grabbed my bag and folded my laptop three-quarters shut—I didn’t want to blow my downloads—and got ready for the inevitable. "Report to the administration office immediately." My social studies teacher, Ms. Galvez, rolled her eyes at me and I rolled my eyes back at her. The Man was always coming down on me, just because I go through schoo
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From the Publisher

Marcus, a.k.a “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 major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the co-editor of the popular blog BoingBoing. He is the author of the young adult novel For the Win, and his adult science fiction novels and short stories have won him three Locus Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He has been named one of the Web’s twenty-five “influencers” by Forbes Magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Editorial Reviews

“A wonderful, important book…I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year, and I’d want to get it into the hands of as many smart thirteen-year-olds, male and female, as I can. Because I think it’ll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won’t be the same after they’ve read it. Maybe they’ll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it’ll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they’ll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they’ll want to open their computer and see what’s in there. I don’t know. It made me want to be thirteen again right now, and reading it for the first time.” —Neil Gaiman, author of Sandman and American Gods on Little Brother “A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion.” --Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies , Pretties , and Specials , on Little Brother “A worthy younger sibling to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother is lively, precocious, and most importantly, a little scary.” --Brian K. Vaughan, author of the graphic novel Y: The Last Man on Little Brother “A tale of struggle familiar to any teenager, about those moments when you choose what your life is going to mean.” —Steven Gould, author of Jumper , on Little Brother “A believable and frightening tale of a near-future San Francisc
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