Monday, August 04, 2008

Little Brother

Another freebook, but not from Tor, this time straight from the horse's mouth. Cory Doctorow has a long history of giving away his stuff for free, and has championed the Creative Commons licensing system to help others give stuff away without missing out on the chance to make money. As he has done for most (if not all) of his novels, he allows anyone to download "Little Brother" from his site, and remix it into different formats and media - as long as you're not trying to make any money from it. The idea is that this kind of thing boosts publicity, aids in getting word-of-mouth out, and boosts sales of the dead tree version. It all goes to combat obscurity, an artist's main problem (paraphrasing Tim O'Reilly, I think).

The book is typical Doctorow standard - packed with great ideas, a neat plot and well-drawn characters. It details a city's slide into paranoia and fear after a terrorist attack, and the ways a small group of teenagers try to keep hold of their freedoms in the face of the government's determination to keep everyone safe/scared.

There's a tremendous amount of information in here: security systems, linux, encryption, the American constitution. It's like a Neal Stephenson book, entertaining, exciting, informative, but thankfully not 12000 pages long. This will drive up the numbers of kids wanting to become security consultants - it's even got an afterword by security guru Bruce Schneier. Great stuff.

UPDATED: now with linky goodness (it's hard to put links in when writing reviews on my phone).

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