Monday, November 10, 2008

Cory Doctorow's Little Brother



I haven't had time to read much lately thanks to all the work that has been piling up but since it's the start of a brand new week, I thought I should start reading something again. No, comics don't count! This morning, I downloaded a copy of Cory Doctorow's latest novel, Little Brother on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. Watch the video. For those of you who are interested, a review of the Xperia X1 will be posted later today. In the meantime, view the unboxing pics here.

Little Brother is a story about a 17 year old geek name Marcus who finds himself caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. He and his friends are wrongly arrested by the Department of Homeland Security. After days of interrogation, Marcus is finally released but only to discover that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. Here's a snip from Chapter 1 of the book:
"If it isn't Double-you-one-enn-five-tee-zero-enn," he said. Fredrick Benson -- Social Security number 545-03-2343, date of birth August 15 1962, mother's maiden name Di Bona, hometown Petaluma -- is a lot taller than me. I'm a runty 5'8", while he stands 6'7", and his college basketball days are far enough behind him that his chest muscles have turned into saggy man-boobs that were painfully obvious through his freebie dot-com polo-shirts. He always looks like he's about to slam-dunk your ass, and he's really into raising his voice for dramatic effect. Both these start to lose their efficacy with repeated application.

"Sorry, nope," I said. "I never heard of this R2D2 character of yours."

"W1n5t0n," he said, spelling it out again. He gave me a hairy eyeball and waited for me to wilt. Of course it was my handle, and had been for years. It was the identity I used when I was posting on message-boards where I was making my contributions to the field of applied security research. You know, like sneaking out of school and disabling the minder-tracer on my phone. But he didn't know that this was my handle. Only a small number of people did, and I trusted them all to the end of the earth.

"Um, not ringing any bells," I said. I'd done some pretty cool stuff around school using that handle -- I was very proud of my work on snitch-tag killers -- and if he could link the two identities, I'd be in trouble. No one at school ever called me w1n5t0n or even Winston. Not even my pals. It was Marcus or nothing.

Benson settled down behind his desk and tapped his class-ring nervously on his blotter. He did this whenever things started to go bad for him. Poker players call stuff like this a "tell" -- something that let you know what was going on in the other guy's head. I knew Benson's tells backwards and forwards.

"Marcus, I hope you realize how serious this is."
Go download Little Brother here or buy the book at your bookstore.

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