In twelve days, Tor will release one of the books that, should I happen to be run down by a beer truck next Tuesday, I’d most like to be remembered for having helped into print: Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother.
“A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion—as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane.” —Scott WesterfeldHere’s some cover copy I wrote about it:
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” 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.Little Brother is a whole bunch of things I love. It’s science fiction about how the world works. It’s unabashedly didactic about big issues like freedom and authority, and about technical issues like what is and isn’t real security. (Underlining that last: an afterword by Bruce Schneier.)
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 that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
“Read this book. You’ll learn a great deal about computer security, surveillance and how to counter it, and the risk of trading off freedom for ‘security.’ And you’ll have fun doing it.” —Tim O’ReillyBut it’s also smart about the business of being a kid, in ways that speak to younger and older readers alike. Marcus has right and truth on his side, and he’s smarter than many of his antagonists, but that doesn’t save him from screwing up and being a source of pain to others. The world is complicated, and Little Brother is a story of growing up into the world.
“The teenage voice is pitch-perfect. I couldn’t put it down, and I loved it.” —Jo WaltonThe hardcover of Little Brother releases on Tuesday, April 29. But right now, stacked up in my office, I have a few dozen of what we call ARCs— advance reading copies, handsome trade paperbacks printed specifically to stir up interest prior to a book’s official publication date. I’d like each of these to find a home. If you want one of them, and are willing to promise to read it immediately and talk about it to your friends—online, on your blog, in a forum somewhere, in somebody’s comment section, or just in plain old in-person conversation—I’ll have one sent to you right away. You don’t have to promise to like it or praise it, just talk about it. Requests, including your ship-to address, should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll update this post when the stack of ARCs is used up.
“Cory’s captured a particular element of adolescence very well—that sense of being a grownup (or maybe even understanding things better than a grownup would) without having the baggage of accumulated years of failure to tell you exactly how it is that things could go horribly wrong.” —Elizabeth Bear
“A tale of struggle familiar to any teenager, about those moments when you choose what your life is going to mean.” —Steven Gould
“A wonderful, important book…I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year, and I’d want to get it into the hands of as many smart thirteen-year-olds, male and female, as I can. Because I think it’ll change lives. Because some kids, maybe just a few, won’t be the same after they’ve read it. Maybe they’ll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it’ll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they’ll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they’ll want to open their computer and see what’s in there. I don’t know. It made me want to be thirteen again right now, and reading it for the first time.” —Neil GaimanAct now, act without thinking! Email me at email@example.com today.
UPDATE: All 83 ARCs are now spoken for—by the time I got to the office, there were twice as many requests. Copies will go to the first 83 people who emailed; apologies to the rest. (If you emailed too late, you’ll get a response saying so. Give us a few hours to sort it.) The actual book does go on sale a week from this coming Tuesday…