Reason Online, the online presence of libertarian political magazine Reason, is featuring a book review of Cory Doctorow’s book, Little Brother. Little Brother re-imagines George Orwell’s classic, dystopian novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, as a modern cyberpunk thriller for a young adult audience.
The story centers around Marcus Yallow, a cocky, technology, savvy 17 year-old, and his friends who are detained by the Department of Homeland Security as suspected terrorists after a terror attack on San Francisco. After being interrogated and detained, Marcus is released and returns to living in a city occupied, monitored, and repressed by the government.
Bristling indignation and chaffing against the authoritarian rules imposed on a post-attack city, Marcus begins to search for ways to resist. His search leads him to creating a network of Xboxs running ParanoidLinux (A distro “that assumes its operator is under assault from the government.”) to spread his message, cloning RFIDs, and Bayesian math. While the book is aimed at a teenage audience, it is interesting to see a novel incorporate modern technology, such as Linux and RFIDs, and then tackle the question of how the current technology could be used in a such a scenario.
Speaking of current technology, Cory Doctorow is offering the book as a free download from his website. The book is available in plain text, HTML, PDF, and 19 other formats. Along with offering a the book as a free download, portions of the audiobook can be sampled and reused once purchased.
The New York Times also posted a write-up of the book on September 12th.