Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Makers by Cory Doctorow

This is the Boing Boing guy, yah?
Yah. Co-editor of the Boing Boing zine, begetter of the Craphound blog. Author of a shelf of books, also released online under creative commons licences that encourage filesharing.
Blah. Is this any good?
Just giving you the background - because Doctorow is writing about what he knows. Son of Trotskyist teachers (his father born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan), he grew up an activist.
And the story? The story?
Well, uh, yeah. At first it’s a spark-shower of creativity, with ideas zipping and humming and bouncing off each other. Reporter Suzanne is lured in to write about deeds of derring-do by corporate suit Kettlewell, head of a merger between Kodak and Digicell.
This is a story?
It’s like one of those old dotcom novels - remember Microserfs? Kettlewell wants zillions of creative cells around America to work for his firm Kodacell. He drags Suzanne to Florida to meet nerdy Perry and lardass Lester, who are doing crazy projects combining science and art.
Sounds worthy
Then they bring in talented people from a nearby shantytown, whose guru is an old aerospace engineer bankrupted by his dying wife’s medical bills.
And they do what?
That’s the problem. Doctorow’s story is tugging itself to pieces, his vocational egalitarianism pulling one way, his natural elitocracism dragging him relentlessly another, while he’s trying to write about a kleptocracy.
No! No! Big words!
Put it this way: the boys want information to be free; vicious tycoon rivals want to crush their ideals. There’s randomish violence. A subplot about Russian gene tech that cures obesity, and a whole class of ‘fatkins’ - skinny, avid former fat people who have mad sex like the 1980s gay subculture.
Worth a buy?
Certainly worth reading online for that brilliant first 100 pages.
Author's site

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