Cory Doctorow‘s article on Tor/Forge echoes the remarks he’s been making on his soon to conclude book tour in support of Homeland.
I think it’s great that he’s focusing so much on what happened with Aaron Swartz, and also talking about the issues of depression and suicide, though I could wish that there was enough time on his tour to also talk more about the book, which is great, but also a slightly different proposition from Little Brother, the book for which it is ostensibly a sequel.
Homeland seems to take place earlier in time/history, and in an world very much more like our own than Little Brother, which was a cool, near-future dystopian reflection on trends in technology and the “war against terrorism.”
Homeland reads much more like one of Cory’s (excellent) articles or op ed pieces than did Little Brother – or any of his other fiction. It practically feels like non-fiction, and that’s both good and bad. It isn’t as satisfying a read, purely as a novel, as Little Brother, For the Win or Pirate Cinema. On the other hand, it’s extremely satisfying and effective as a political and social intervention. I want to go out and find Joe Noss and work on his campaign. I’m much more attentive to Alameda County’s attempt to buy drones than I might have been. I’ve been thinking about the issues it raises.
That’s great: Cory knows what he is talking about, and the issues that he is addressing are vital ones. But I still wanted a bit more fiction than I got. And along those lines, I certainly feel like the tween girl in the audience for Cory’s reading at The Booksmith on Haight Street last week: is there going to be a sequel to Pirate Cinema? I love Cory’s articles, op ed pieces, and his activism. I also love his novels. We were lucky over the past year to get three novels from Cory in pretty rapid succession: Pirate Cinema, Rapture of the Nerds, and Homeland. And based on his remarks about what he’s working on, we might continue to see something like that output in the future.
Written by Cory Doctorow
On January 11, a young hacker, hacktivist and entrepreneur named Aaron Swartz took his own life. He was 26, and I had known him since he was 14. He was facing 50 years in prison. His crime was to walk into an unsecured computer closet at MIT, near the Harvard campus where he had a fellowship, and plug a laptop into the campus network, with which he proceeded to download a large amount of paywalled academic journal articles from JSTOR, an online repository of scholarly works. It is widely speculated that he planned on making these available for free, though it may be that no one will ever know what he really intended.
Here’s what we do know: Aaron didn’t care about the freedom of information. Aaron cared about the freedom of *people* to make use of information. When I met Aaron, he was already someone…
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