Cory Doctorow is a Canadian born writer who currently lives in England. His book Little Brother first brought to my attention by a YA (young adult) book site. Dealing with youth and technology/technology security I figured that it would be relevant and interesting for everyone here at Saints, and I was excited to see for myself what all the hype was about. So, I ordered the book and then promptly forgot about it in the craziness of the last couple of weeks. I still haven’t got around to reading it yet, but luckily I’m not the only one who thought that this book would be great for creating discussion in the classroom.
Centered around seventeen years old Marcus, a.k.a. “w1n5t0n,” this is a story of a fight for freedom. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time during a terrorist attack on San Fransisco, Marcus and his friends are captured by the Department of Homeland Security and taken to a secret prison to be interrogated. After they are released, they find themselves in a police state where one wrong look can label you as a terrorist… and in this new world, that’s definitely not what you want to happen. With no one around who will believe his story, Marcus does the only thing he can. He turns to his technology and begins his mission to take down the DHS.
This book addresses many issues with today’s technological world. From intellectual freedom and access to the misuse of technology disguised as “protection”, Cory Doctorow shares his views and knowledge with his readers. A promoter of open source, Cory actively engages the reader in questioning their own thoughts on copyright and technology. Recently he was in Melbourne, Australia at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival where he talked about how copyright does not necessarily help or protect creativity, specifically in relation to digital resource management locks (DRM). It is all recorded if you want to watch/hear the entire lecture. As you will figure out quite quickly from this, Cory is pretty unorthodox in his opinions surrounding copyright and intellectual freedom/access. Which any teacher wanting to use his book should be forever thankful of. It is on his website (click here!) as a free e-book (this link is a definition link only) with multiple formats for you download with. Including one for the Kindle (yay!). So, it’s free… it’s supposedly brilliant… I will definitely be reading this book soon!