Little Brother

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Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. New York: TOR, 2008. Afterword by Bruce Schneir.

Near-future, high-tech surveillance dystopia. Think of a Robert A. Heinlein's civilian Juan Rico from the didactic Starship Troopers as rendered by George Orwell plus, well, Cory Doctorow —put into a near-future San Francisco after a deadly terrorist attack, where the Department of Homeland Security takes over and uses cutting-edge 21st-c. electronic technology to catch (presumably some) terrorists and a lot of teenage dissidents. Unlike Nineteen Eighty-Four, however, the dissidents are young, high-school educated, very savy about computers and Information Technology in general and networking in particular — and have a bit more of a chance.

CAUTION: The DHS thugs are less brutal than Orwell's Thought Police, and the world of Little Brother is a good deal less grim than that of Big Brother; that still leaves a lot of room for the brutal and grim. Kids should be encouraged to read the book, but told there are some rough passages — and that the "paranoid style" here may be necessary in the world they are inheriting.

3. FICTION, RDE, 10/I/12, retitled 31Mar21