Marcus is only seventeen, but he thinks he has the world figured out. He’s a techno-geek and he spends his free time playing an interactive video game treasure hunt with his friends. He’s already figured out how to defeat or evade many of the security monitoring measures in his San Francisco public high school, and he and his friends sometimes sneak out of school. He is with three friends, exploring San Francisco when his whole world changes. Terrorists bomb a major bridge, air raid sirens blare, pedestrians stampede seeking safety. In the chaos, Marcus and his friends get picked up by the Department of Homeland Security, and interrogated for days in a secret prison. Only three of the four friends are released, after being humiliated and threatened to scare them into not telling anyone where they have been. When they try to go home, they find that their city has changed. The police and the DHS are on every corner, tracking citizens, taking them for questioning, detaining them without cause, and using surveillance technology to monitor everyone and everything. San Francisco is out of control, and everyone is being treated like a terrorist suspect.
Marcus swears to fight back against the government and regain his freedom. But how can one teenager take down an unjust government agency who is monitoring his every move?
Check out Little Brother by Cory Doctorow!
Do you still need more reasons to read Little Brother?
- In my book group, we always end with the question “what does the author hope we will take away from reading this book?”
- The author bio on the back about Cory Doctorow says “He hopes you’ll use technology to change the world.”
- Little Brother is available as a free ebook download in EVERY ereader or digital format directly from the author.
- A recent Letter from a young reader about Litte Brother was posted on Cory Doctorow’s website. It’s worth a read, and the picture of the reader with the author is absolutely awkward and worth seeing as well.
Even if you don’t usually read fiction, this book has you covered:
Two brief essays at the end of the book, one from security expert Bruce Schneier www.schneier.com and one from Andrew Bunny Wong, author of Hacking the Xbox, give some encouragement to readers who may be inspired but the motivations and adventures of Marcus and his friends. Schneier calls security “the most fun job you could possibly have” and Wong reminds the reader to “Dare to be free.” But the bibliography at the end of the book is the best part. The bibliography is worth reading even if you don’t read the fictional story first.
One last thing:
If anything in this book review sounded at all interesting, you will be thrilled to hear that a sequel to Little Brother, called Homeland, has recently been published! It picks up Marcus’s story two years after the events of Little Brother, when Marcus is handed a thumbdrive full of revealing leaked documents and forced to decide whether to publish the information, before the scary people shadowing him decide for him!