Little Brother book cover by Corey Doctorow

I’m not going to lie, I really struggled with this book, as in I wanted to Lem it while I was reading the first quarter to third of it. Now having said that I won’t lie it does get better as the book progresses. I can’t even say this is a story that should be read because there are important ideas to get out here. I think the problem ultimately, is with myself as by my own preferences I enjoy stories that entertain me and challenge me to think. I want to be engaged mentally and this doesn’t do anything of the like to me. Maybe it’s because I’m familiar with a lot of the concepts of tech involved so for me, there’s nothing new there. Now, if you don’t understand the ideas of Linux, cryptography, and data tracking, there is a lot to learn.

That’s probably why I wasn’t interested in this as it’s not for me, this sounded more like someone preaching propaganda of government overthrow and abuse of power. I’m not saying these aren’t important topics to discuss, I’m just saying I wasn’t in the right place to seriously consider this. The horrible ideas of our own government working against us and that it’s the right and responsibility of the people to overthrow those who abuse power are good points. I just felt that the beginning of this book was very one-sided and expected me to instantly just agree with it, rather than convince me otherwise. Having finished the book I will say Cory eventually gets around to covering all his bases. A lot of the thoughts you might have are represented here. There are other opinions that get brought up as counterpoints to the main rethroic of the story but they get kind of hand-waived around rather than explored to my liking, but at least they’re brought up.

I think my biggest thoughts overall on this are this. I don’t like being preached at. I feel this does a lot of preaching and trying to force techy knowledge down my throat. Is it bad that they spend so much time actually delving into the concepts of trust no one encryption? No, you can tell a story and educate others. But that’s for me the hardest part of accepting this story. There is so much time spent on teaching the tech and ideas that there isn’t enough time, in the beginning, to set up the world and tell the story to keep me entertained.

TLDR: It’s a good “what if” story and tries to educate you into being aware of what we should know to combat abuse of authority and be cognizant of our digital footprint and lives. I’m not sure it’s a good story though, maybe more of a textbook with a story arc in it.

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