Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cory Doctorow, Matt Ruff,, John Robert Marlow

Cory Doctorow has done it again. Less speculative than his last and more dystopian. Little Brother is post 9/11 paranoia realized and thwarted, so utopian in the sense that there is a happy ending (but not a permanent solution, rather an ongoing fight for personal privacy.) The setting is San Francsico, which is fun because it's all familiar territory for the past 5 years while I've lived not too far away in the Sacramento Valley. I especially like the bibliography in the back: and Adam Greenfield's Everyware on arphids of special interest to me at the moment because we're implementing them for the first time in my library. I've avoided them as long as possible, but it would seem that the world is going in that direction for the sake of convenience regardless of the longterm implications of their potential as tracking devices.
Then there's 3D printers!??? Must look into this: Neal Gershenfeld's MIT Fab Lab with the book titled Fab and online at
Because I think all those listed in the bibliography would agree with the premise that information wants to be free, I'm including the lot for my own as well as your edification. as well as Sterling's Shaping Things
Bruce Schneier's Secrets and Lies with his blog at, and are more generic intellectual freedom sites worth visiting. You never know when you might need support. sounds hot and like much of the stuff mentioned, I must admit, is over my head, but still, I like to be informed, inquiring minds and all that.
Oh, I didn't mention that Doctorow's latest was written for YA's, though as most anyone in library land these days knows YA is just as much for us grown up kids. Cory recommends Daniel Pinkwater's comic series Alan Mendelsohn and Scott Westerfeld's So Yesterday, that is good enough to put them immediately onto the top of my must-read list.
I'm really looking forward to the possibility of hearing Doctorow at ALA 2008 in Anaheim in a few weeks. Maybe in the meantime I'll have a chance to google "spoof caller id" (though I'll actually probably ixquick it, as I prefer it as a metasearch engine 90% of the time.)
Because I think it's worth repeating,I'd like to point out to any patriot act trawlers:
"Governments are instituted among (wo)men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it..."

Nano by John Robert Marlow is also set in San Francisco, and posits a future where we repair remap neural networks which brings up many questions of how this would play out. Marlow mentions Hazel Henderson's Creating Alternative Futures that considers economic implications of such a world. A cover blurb by Vernor Vigne suggests Nano would make a great movie and I would have to agree. Kind of a Bill Gates dreams of master cyber race kind of thing to be caught out by techno journalist Bond, James Bond.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff is far-fetched in a kind of whacked out, psychiatric mystery kind of way. Amusing and better than his Sewer, Gas & Electric which I tried to read a number of years ago but couldn't get into it. Bad Monkey's Jane Charlotte is quite endearing and makes me again think whether or not all the loonies and bag ladies on the streets are more or less sane than the rest of us in the larger scheme of things.