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Little Brother [Hardcover]

Cory Doctorow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 April 2008

SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, the accalaimed novel of one teenager’s rebellion against the surveillance state.

Big Brother is watching you. Who’s watching back?

Marcus is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works – and how to work the system. Smart, fast and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison, where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state, where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (29 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765319853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765319852
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15.5 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,310,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Little Brother. He has won the Locus Award for his fiction three times, been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula, and is the only author to have won both the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Campbell Award for best SF Novel of the Year. He is the co-editor of, writes columns for Make, Information Week, the Guardian online and Locus and has been named one of the internet's top 25 influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Cory Doctorow lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Product Description


‘I’d recommend ‘Little Brother’ over pretty much any book I’ve read this year. Because I think it’ll change lives. It’s a wonderful, important book’ Neil Gaiman

‘Cory Doctorow’s novel could hardly be more relevant, scary and eye-opening … seriously entertaining.’ The Times

‘A cracking read’ Guardian

‘A well structured and superbly executed thriller with breakneck pacing and an emotional payoff to boot. Engaging, thought provoking, and at times harrowing.SciFi Now

‘An entertaining thriller and a thoughful polemic on Internet-era civil rights … a terrific read’ New York Times

‘A compulsive and chillingly credible read … would make a great discussion for any reading group’ New Books

‘A tale of struggle familiar to any teenager, about those moments when you choose what your life is going to mean.’ Steven Gould, author of ‘Jumper’

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'It's also a cracking read.' --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Counter-Culture Blockbuster 23 Nov 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I picked up 'Little Brother' on the back of one or two interesting reviews, and it's fair to say it didn't disappoint. Both exciting and provocative, I expect it to become one of the most talked about novels of 2008.

With a title like 'Little Brother', Cory Doctorow's novel is bound to draw comparison with 1984, although the two are only superficially similar. To me choice of title feels as though it was made in the hope of catching some reflected glory from Orwell's masterpiece, which is shame; though not destined for 1984's greatness amongst the literary canon, I think 'Little Brother' may, in future, be seen as a seminal piece of counter-cultural fiction.

But what do I know? I'm over 25, which Doctorow goes some to lengths to point out, means that it's best not to listen to me. Little Brother, is very much a novel for the young and although I enjoyed it, I'm sure I missed some of the nuances of an IT savvy lifestyle and the general state of oppression that most teenagers (feel they) live under. I found 'Little Brother' very reminiscent of Scott Westerfeld's novels, which I have also enjoyed and at the end of the novel, Doctorow acknowledges Westerfeld's influence.

Little Brother breaks down into two major themes; the use of technology and the abuse of power. The sections that detail using an Xbox to create an underground internet and outline the various cryptographic measures taken by the characters, reek of authenticty and form a solid framework upon which the novel is built. For me though, the strength of the novel lies in its assessment of the abuse of our basic human rights through anti-terror legislation.

The near-future, pictured by Doctorow is entirely plausible and therefore all the more
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Information Bombardment 21 Oct 2008
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I wouldn't quite go as far as Neil Gaiman, but I would certainly recommend Little Brother to anyone interested in civil liberties, dystopia fiction or hacking. In writing this novel Cory Doctorow deservedly joins the company of a long line of dystopic writers like Jack London, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. His intertextual link with Orwell warrants particular mention; Little Brother doesn't just allude to Nineteen Eighty Four, it seems to consciously set out to expand on it. And although Nineteen Eighty Four is a superior novel, Doctorow has definitely succeeded in contemporising the central point.

Doctorow sets out to bombard his readers with information in a way vaguely reminiscent of Manuel Puig's footnotes in Kiss of the Spider Woman - this is a polemic with a narrative with a hundred articles on youth culture, political history, the beats, human rights, counter-terrorism and so on and so forth all in one book. It is openly didactic and angrily political and if you agree with its social commentary (as I do) it is quite an experience.

Little Brother is also an instruction manual on how to think about security - from mundane security to draconian security to security against draconian security; Doctorow aims to show how security can work for you and against you and how security without privacy is ineffective and harmful. In addition Little Brother is a homage to hackers (like Andrew "bunnie" Huang), defenders of freedom (like Emma Goldman) and writers (like George Orwell).

The novels style is fast, meandering, idiomatic (in a middle class geeky way) and realist. Doctorow is not above using thriller devices like chapter cliff-hangers and foreshadowing nor will he be gentle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Thomas
Format:Kindle Edition
The Kindle edition of this eBook can be downloaded legally & for free from the author's website, so by buying it from the Kindle Store, you are really paying £4.00 just for the book's copyrighted cover art.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a smashing book, techno-rich and strikingly both contemporary (with Sept 11th overtones) and futuristic. Teenagers in San Francisco are trying to hold on to their civil liberties and fight a big brother state that is worrying unduly about foreign extremists, while the very real threat of US Guantanamo-bay treatment looms all too close to All-American students. With high-level hacking (all a bit beyond me, I must confess) and first love, fear and heroics, choices and chilling risk, this is an exciting and pacy adventure. It's also a very thought provoking read about the trade-off between state-security/authority and personal freedom/privacy, the potential of the internet and security technologies etc. that will appeal to a computer-literate generation of teens. [There's even unnerving "Afterwords" and Bibliography giving would-be hackers advice that'll keep them off the streets.] Little Brother will have wider appeal than just teens: I was intrigued by it and hooked from very early on, enjoying it so much that I have ordered a copy to be sent to my own Little Brother (aged 29). It is without question a gripping 21st century tale for adults too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 23 Jun 2013
By able
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant read, particularly relevant in view of the Snowden issue. I liked the conversations with the teacher and the boys father that challenge assumptions about privacy and security and should make you question your own attitudes. The story was interesting, the characters convincing and the message frightening.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Brother
The message is right on - the tension between security and comfort is as much a part of the war on terror as it is a part of the whole internet experience, or paying for goods, or... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Brother for nerds
The writing style is not as subtle as Orwell but the story shows how his predictions can be instituted (and are being) by subtle and insidious means. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ian Andrew Neve
5.0 out of 5 stars brill
Page turner, really enjoyed the story. Nice to find tech and story well done. First Doctorow book. Ordering the next one now.
Published 3 months ago by pawebb
3.0 out of 5 stars Scarily plausible, raising interesting questions about terrorism and...
I have to confess that I've never read Nineteen Eighty-Four - though I obviously recognised the allusion to it in the title of Little Brother - and most of my expectations come... Read more
Published 3 months ago by StephanieIsReading
4.0 out of 5 stars Facinating and relevant
The topic of government surveillance is becoming an ever more prescient one, and Doctorow's book is a great introduction to what is and might be possible in the coming few years. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Euan
4.0 out of 5 stars CD spins a brilliant morality-tale
About Cory Doctorow's 'Little Bro.', his prose is intelligent, and his style is suave. He tells in witty, conversational tones a technically astute tale of one man's, Marcus Yallow... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Puss
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read
this is an excellent book, well written and gripping from start to finish. works on lots of levels and of interest to wide range of age groups. great book for teens to study.
Published 11 months ago by lb
2.0 out of 5 stars Text speak
I have tried to read this a few times, but an unable to get past the yoof text speak it starts in and the apparent annoyance factor of the protagonist. Read more
Published 11 months ago by K. J. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars eat it up, then get Homeland for dessert
One of my favourite books of the last few years, Little Brother exposes the bankruptcy of much of the mainstream "security", anti-sharing and surveillance agendas. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Little Brother
As this book is aimed at a target audience of late-teen/ young adult; it is not my usual genre; It was a nomination from a book club. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Curlyview!!
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