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Makers Paperback – 8 Jul 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (8 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007327897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007327898
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 3.9 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Doctorow's novel fizzes with ideas and jumps with breathtaking speed from one technological breakthrough to another until you're no longer sure what's based on reality and what's purely a figment of his inventive mind … Doctorow's optimism about the technology of the present and the near future is infectious’ Guardian

‘Fresh and full of thought-provoking ideas, a book about tomorrow that demands to be read now.’ The Times

‘A compelling near-future tale … a complex, ideas-led, thought-provoking book … the vivid characters and meticulously crafted future make this a book well worth checking out’ SFX

‘A tour de force … one of the most brilliant reimaginings of the near future since cyberpunk wore out its mirror shades … bitingly realistic and miraculously avoids cliché or predictability’ Publishers Weekly

‘Doctorow brilliantly shows us a near-future that’s equally wondrous, inspiring and terrifying’ BBC Focus

‘There is plenty in Cory Doctorow’s fifth novel to get technology buffs salivating … interesting and effective’ Metro

‘Prodigiously inventive … intriguing’ Daily Mail

‘Exhilarating and thought-provoking’ Courier Mail (Australia)

‘A gread read’ Good Reading (Australia)

‘Bursting with ideas’ Sydney Morning Herald

Praise for Little Brother:

‘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

From the Author

1. Makers is concerned with the end of the economy. Can you see the changes that occur in the plot ever coming to pass?
Not as such – this isn’t meant to be predictive so much as allegorical. The kinds of microcapitalized, microprofitable firms in Makers are already here today in the form of millions of web-startups that needed little or no money to get going, and that needed to innovate all the time to stay profitable.

2. Little Brother has won, or been nominated for, several notable awards. Has this changed your writing in any way?
I don't think so! Every book is different, of course, because I’m in different circumstances every time. The book I’m writing now, For the Win, is the first book I wrote as a father, which means that the time to write it has been stolen in smaller, more intense sips than previous books; it’s also the first book I ever set out to research almost from scratch, reading hundreds of books and articles and travelling all over Asia for it. That, too, effected the writing – I feel like these macro-factors change the work more than awards (also, I had previously won and been nominated for many of the same awards!)

3. You have been described as a ‘digital-rights activist’. Do you feel that this comes across in your novels?

Yes, of course. I think sf is best at describing the social changes wrought by technological change; an activist tries to *steer* the social changes wrought by technological change. Describing and steering are closely related activities.

4. One of the things I found most enjoyable about MAKERS was the strong characterisation. Did you have a favourite character to write?
I think I had the most fun with the villain, Freddie, who epitomizes the kind of sleazy, cynical, lazy technologist that frustrates me the most. Getting into his head was a real adventure.

5. What can we expect from you in your next books?

In the twenty-first century, it’s not just capital that’s globalized: labour is, too. The Webblies are a union of ‘gold-farmers’ who labour day and night in video-games, amassing virtual gold that’s sold on to rich players. They fight their bosses, the people who own the games, and the rich speculators who trade in derivatives of game-gold for the right to organize a trade-union. And they do it all under the noses of the ruling elites in China and the rest of Asia by using video-games to outsmart them. For the Win is a book that explains labour politics and macroeconomics for kids, using an army of clever, dedicated, and endangered boys and girls who play video-games to do it. The Webblies fight pitched battles in every flavour of cyberspace, in the ports of Los Angeles, on container ships, in the slums of Mumbai, in the red light district of Singapore, and in South China’s enormous industrial cities. They are so successful that they provoke a worldwide general strike – and incur the wrath of the rich and powerful around the world. Blending near-future speculation with the exuberant gamer underground and the globalized net-culture, this is a book that gives young people the frame to understand economic meltdown, Ponzi schemes, and overheated investment bubbles. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Probably the best book I've read in ten years (and I'm not usually a great one for novels)...

As someone on the very edges of the 'Maker Movement', I was challenged and excited by the things created by the characters (and everything is either feasible today or will be soon), but this book is much more than that - every character is 'real', I've met them all and that took the story from a novel to an undiscovered reality for me.

Absolutely superb!!!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a major slog. At 416 pages, I reckon it's at least 150 pages too long. And, ultimately, there was not a lot of point to it.

The story appears to be about a new 'work ethic' of small-time entrepreneurs co-operating in a distributed form of corporation. But it self-destructs early on in the novel in a similar way to the dot com bubble, and the parallels are duly drawn. The story then meanders about a bit until the 'bad guy' appears in the form of an exec from a more traditional corporation. Finally, it all works out and they do or do not live happily ever after. But finally, we don't really care. Nothing has changed, no-one seems to have learnt anything, there's nothing new in the world.

So what about the characterisation? Yes, what about the characterisation. There really isn't any. All the characters are more or less interchangeable. Character-full dialogue is rare - every time anyone opens their mouth for more than a sentence, it feels more like a lecture on some aspect of new technology than any attempt at actually holding a two-way conversation.

The style is deliberately and, at times, almost painfully informal. Scattered throughout are four-letter words and technical type abbreviations. I don't have a problem with this per se, but it came across as forced and artificial; a sort of 'we all know what we're talking about' chumminess that just got irritating.

It is almost totally centred around the US. Russia gets a look-in in the form of a 'mafiyeh' entrepreneurialism and as a haven for Swedish doctors escaping the 'horrors' of socialised medicine. There is a Brit in the mix - Rat Toothed Freddy, a tech blogger from the seamier end of the blogoshere, there is a one sentence reference to Africa and that's it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wanted to like this, I really did. Doctorow has tried to re-write Vonneguts 'Player Piano' for the 21st century. He describes a near-future world where traditional manufacturing is taken over by small teams of entrepreneur geeks, reusing exisiting technology by use of hacking, reverse-engineering, and rapid-prototyping techniques (3D printers). The basic premise is that even the most disposable of our junk purchases contains more computing power than anyone could ever need, so lets resuse it.

The problem for me was that the story is so naive. Doctorow has his protagonists come up with a cool idea, build a prototype, and then within half a page it's sold millions. Who made them? The geeks with the idea? Factories tooled up? Ah, perhaps it was all done with 3D printers? Where? Who has the printers? What about approval from the FCC and various safety organisations? Patent problems? DRM complaints? Shipping? Marketing? Distribution? For Doctorow it seems the idea is enough and all the bureaucracy of getting a product to market is wonderfully missing from his future vision.
Doctorow also makes the same basic mistake in his premise that Vonnegut made in 'Player Piano' - if everyone is reusing existing tech for new products, eventually no new developement will take place. It's like buying a lego set and limiting yourself to only being able to make things from that lego set - no new bricks ever. If you can't make it from the bricks you have, it's impossible. I found myself asking similar questions at the page as I was reading this, but no answers appeared.

Doctorow has obviously used this novel to write an essay of his future ideas of manufacturing and product development instead of writing what might have been a dry technical paper.
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By Karura VINE VOICE on 12 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
In the not-too-distant future, conventional economics is no longer enough to keep big companies afloat. With that in mind, the newly formed Kodacell (Kodak+Duracell) decides that its best bet is to invest in individuals with vision- quirky inventors like Perry and Lester, who use the technology in discarded junk to come up with weird and wonderful creations. But can such a bold new model really turn a profit?

Although it lost steam towards the end, overall I was left with a good impression from Doctorow's earlier novel Little Brother, and so I decided to give him a chance to up his game in this second work. Unfortunately, this book proved to be a slog from start to finish, leaving me quite relieved when it was all over and I didn't have to read it anymore.

Lacking the flair of his previous novel, Makers proves to be something of a drag. The characters aren't particularly memorable or likable, and a lot of the time it seems as if their efforts amount to nothing- either they fail miserably, or they succeed and move onto the next thing. Doctorow's writing seems to be aimed at impressing the reader with technobabble, but it gives it a dry, clinical edge that lacks true depth and heart. A lot of time is spent on technical details at the expense of larger potholes, whilst incongruous sections such as a surprisingly detailed sex scene only add the jarring, disorientating feel of reading this novel.

Overall, I really can't remember this book- it drags on for far too long without really giving the reader any reason to continue other than the relief of being able to put it aside once and for all. Doctorow showed promise with Little Brother, but this has put me off reading any of his future novels.
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