Review Blog

Dec 03 2008

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

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Harper, 2008
(Age 13-16) Marcus and his friends are dedicated gamers and hackers but they are not terrorists. They are loyal to the values of the US constitution, so loyal that they take on the Department of Homeland Security when it overreacts to a terrorist bridge attack in San Francisco by arresting and torturing anyone in the area. By setting up illegal but secure Xnet connections the gamers mobilise support amongst the young using the slogan 'Don't trust anyone under 25'. The reactions to torture are believable and the physicality of the torture and confinement contrast with the details of the cyberspace underworld/otherworld created by the gamers. There is little character development and the plot, including a first love affair, is predictable. However, there are lots of technical details that may be interesting and the action is fast-paced. The dilemma of the balance between the need for safety and a corresponding loss of rights is explored hypothetically in the classroom and in reality in the streets. Recommended for Years 9-11.
Jenny Hamilton

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