Tom Doherty Associates, LLC: NY, 2010.
This is an exciting book! I have not read Little Brother or its new sequel, but my son has been bugging me to read this one since it was published. He was sure I'd like it, though he says there are things about Doctorow's writing he doesn't like. It is reactionary and activistic, so yes, I like it. Thinking about political and social workings is a good thing, because public involvement matters.
I didn't get into the story immediately. The setting is gaming and gamers, which isn't that interesting to me. I stuck with it, because it was highly recommended. It doesn't take too long to move into the major story, though, which is exploitation of workers and organizing and communicating for a fair deal. Doctorow is good at finding the crux of a matter. He has hit on a way forward for unions and workers, if they have the presence of mind to grab it and run with it. I would like to know what spurs him to write his stories, as Pirate Cinema was also out on the edge of consciousness, in the same manner. I liked that one, too, though I think this is a smoother writing. The other has some preachiness; this one maintains the story better.
There are two things fresh and different about this book. The violent reactions to workers' strikes and demands happen in the game as well as in reality. The workers are prepared and communicate well in order to avoid some of the violence. The juxtaposition of in world and out can be jarring, which is likely intentional. The other aspect is the extended use of communication with people in various parts of the world which makes the strikes more potent, makes for unheard of partnerships, and broadens the minds of all involved. They are not unstoppable, but the demands become so widespread they can no longer be ignored.
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