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26 July 2011

Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

Rise up, stand up

Yesterday I went out and bought an ebook reader. It's one of these things with an "electronic ink" screen, which were all the rage a few years ago and are going out of style a bit already. The market for these things in Greece is really dried out, I found only a few brands in stores and I wasn't going for the bigger and more expensive units with wifi and lots of features I don't need. I got a bare bones thing (I'll maybe write more about it another time). I filled it with lots of classic's from Project Gutenberg and then I went and downloaded - for free and legal - some books from Cory Doctorow.

The first one I've read from head to toe on the ebook reader is "Little Brother". I had read another one of Cory's books on my laptop screen a few years ago and the "electronic ink" screen is really much easier. The reader is also easier to hold than a laptop computer, it weights only about 150 grams.

"Little Brother" is a book that's been said to be for younger readers (no idea what term is official and acceptable for that). It didn't came over as a "youth book" to me. Maybe it's not twisted to the 17th degree of psychology, but it's no simplistic read either. I skipped over some of the technological explanations, stuff I already knew. The only thing that screams "young readership" to me is the happy ending. Man, I which life was that easy.

What really got me moving with this book was the similarity of the "slightly into the future" world of the book to our reality right now here in Greece. With us it's not the "terrorist scare", but rather the "financial crisis" scare.

But only too fresh are the memories of me being gassed at a peaceful demonstration. Only too close do the feelings of being humiliated, tracked, "occupied" by the police forces resonate in my breast. I haven't been arrested, but a coworker of a friend has been, only a few hours after we'd taken a break at their office. At the time of his arrest we were only a few meters away in a crowd of people who got attacked and beaten by a large group of motorcycle police. (Some of them then went on to drop tear gas into a subway station nearby.) Our friend's coworker was on a bicycle, on his way home. As far as I had understood, he hadn't even taken part in the demonstration.

So I went through the pages of "Little Brother" like on fire. What gripped me - besides a good told tale - was to look forward for what solution the author would propose. Was there really a new idea out there? Would there be some magical "click" that he'd take technology to, to give the people the upper hand again? Sadly, not really. All the use of technology is nice and dandy, but in the end the nice happy end comes with the cavalry riding in at the last moment.

Posted by betabug at 21:12 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

So which one was it? A BeBook? A Turbo-X? A Bookeen?

Posted by: adamo at July 27,2011 22:27
Re: Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

Ups, forgot to mention that! It's a Bookeen Cybook Opus. I could say I took the simplest and smallest one, but more to the fact it was practically the only one I found. I would have liked a BeBook better (especially the mini, same as you have), but didn't find one. I didn't look at any of the high-price "wifi" models. The market here in .gr is a bit dry it seems. I think I'll write a bit more about the Cybook in another post.

Posted by: betabug at July 28,2011 11:31
Re: Cory Doctorow's Little Brother

Welcome to the club! These ebook devices are great, even if I like to read "real" paper books from time to time, when travelling ebooks are great (lightweight, multi-book and some extra-addons like dictionaries are really nice features to have).

I own a Nook (v1), from barnes&noble, and I had to buy it in the US (they don't sell it outside that country). I did search a bit here in spain, but everything with the same features as the nook was 3x more expensive...

So far I've read some techie books novels on the nook, and I've enjoyed the time reading on its e-ink screen (even if it is not the brand-new pearl-and-whatever one).

Nowadays, when everybody is willing to buy a "tablet" (like the iPad, the samsung galaxy tab or the motorola xoom), I'd say that if all you want is a device for reading books, an ebook is, by far, a much better device (and it is great for reading manga!).

I hope you will have lots of fun reading nice books on your new device, enjoy it!

Posted by: Wu at July 30,2011 11:55
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