05 June 2013
Homeland by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I spent a decent amount of time as a Little Brother evangelist, which was a book that took some ideas, applied them to the near future, and...mostly succeeded. The slight failings here and there were minimal compared to how well the book generally worked, and the basic narrative.
Homeland is the next step in the book series. Instead of being an issue-oriented future fiction, it instead reads as an ideological (both political/social and for free internet-type stuff) narrative that is more stunted and held back by trying to shoehorn in all the stuff Doctorow wants to publicize as opposed to a possible future. Where Little Brother may have been just as heavy-handed with the cluebat, it just felt much more overbearing for this book,
Given that I tend to agree with Doctorow more often than not on issues of internet freedom and social stuff, that even felt the need to say "oh, get on with it already" is telling. The most egregious may be early on, when our lead character, while at Burning Man (sigh) slips into a tent where members of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (double sigh) are playing a game, and in walks Wil Wheaton (triple sigh with a dose of "really?"). It's unnecessary-name dropping combined with the worst kinds of promotion.
It's a free read from Doctorow's website (as is Little Brother and basically everything else he writes), but I'd suggest skipping this one entirely in favor of something a little more fun and a little less preachy. Closer to a 2.5.
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