I read about Cory Doctorow’s book at SeSam’s, and then i read the book itself (downloaded for free from the writer’s website and printed for free at the university) on the ferry to China (about which later). I couldn’t really stop once i started.
It’s a youth novel centered on technology, privacy and national security. To be exact, the point where these all clash. It has plenty of nerd talk, plenty of preaching about rights and lots of dissatisfaction with national security.
Except for a few bit forced “youthful phrases”, the whole thing feels natural, though i myself couldn’t really imagine high schoolers gathering on the seashore, get drunk and then exchange encryption keys. But it somehow fits in the near future America scene of the book.
This book should totally be made compulsory. Just as lectures about sexuality are compulsory in every school, the information literacy that one can get from this book is priceless in the age we live in and it will be even more as we go on.
But it was not actually the book that left the deepest impression in me, but a sentence in the foreword, saying that our world is one
where any measure, including torture, could be justified just by waving your hands and shouting “Terrorism! 9/11! Terrorism!” until all dissent fell silent. So true.
Although i can say i didn’t learn anything really new from the book, being pretty much of a nerd before anyway, but it surely changed my way of thinking a bit and gave me a great reading experience.