Monday, May 06, 2013

Lawful Interception by Cory Doctorow

Lawful Interception, Cory Doctorow.  New York:  Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC., 2013.  ebook, novella, 121 pps.

Cory Doctorow can be found on Twitter as @doctorow.

Cory Doctorow characterizes Lawful Interception as a Little Brother story on the book cover.  It is that and a bit more.  The setting is San Francisco and Oakland across the bay.  The main characters are Marcus Yarrow and his sidekick Ange.  This is during and after a Seneca earthquake.  Parts of the city are a mess.  FEMA is there-- a bunch of suits with paperwork and desks; as is OccupySeneca-- regular folk with determination to get done what needs to be done without all the red tape.  In Occupy, the people help each other.  The Anons are in evidence also.  A paste dump is made that reveals Oakland's not so humane plans to bulldoze what rubble remains of the project housing units and replace them with units that the rich and affluent would snap up.

The cops are in evidence and trouble is caused.  Kettling is explained to the uninitiated.  Drones fly around and QR codes are put to good use.  And there is a hackerspace, or a Makespace.  It's all glorious and chaotic but a bit scarey too.  Marcus Yarrow has a psychological awakening involving a feeling of helplessness which melds nicely within the circumstances.  A less skillful author would not have gotten away with that little extra tantalizing bit.  Under Doctorow's hands, it serves to remind us that Marcus and Ange are human, just like us. 

sapphoq reviews says: Lawful Interception is a masterful short novella for us nerds.  As in all of Cory Doctorow's fiction, evidence of developing technology being used for nefarious ends are right there.  The future that Doctorow paints is already happening.  Part fiction but also part instruction manual, Doctorow continues to serve up the radical cyber dishes which I fully enjoy.  Highly recommended.

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