Friday, April 10, 2009

Big Brother and Little Brother

Cory Doctorow's wonderful Little Brother has been nominated for a Hugo Award and you can check it out for free here. If you read the novel, you'll have a pretty good idea why all of his stuff is available online for free.

The title is (obviously) a reference to the omnipresent looming presence of Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984, which you can also read free online. You might also be interested in the philosopher Peter van Inwagen's paper "Was George Orwell a Metaphysical Realist"?

Doctorow's book takes place in the (all too?) near future of the U.S. and maps out a route into an Orwellian future. Yet it's ultimately a very hopeful book. Significantly, while technology can be the means of the state's oppression and control, in Doctorow's story it's the savviness and technological sophistication of a group of geeks that creates the possibility of liberation.

And it's a really great read.

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