Cory Doctorow website.
photo by Patrick H. Lauke aka Redux, http://www.splintered.co.uk.
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction novelist, blogger, columnist, and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular computer geek website Boing Boing, and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. Doctorow was the Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology. In 2006/2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the University of Southern California. He was named one of Forbes Magazine's 2007 and 2008 Web Celebrities, and one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders for 2007. Entertainment Weekly has called him, "The William Gibson of his generation." Doctorow is the author of the novels Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, and Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, and two short story collections, A Place So Foreign and Eight More, and Overclocked. His next novel, Little Brother, portrays hacker kids who fight to restore the Bill of Rights to terrorism-crazed America, and will be published in May 2008. Content is his first nonfiction collection. He lives in London, England.
Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
by Cory Doctorow
Trade paperback / $14.95 / 224 pp.
Introduction by John Perry Barlow
Also by Cory Doctorow
Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century
Read Cindy Cohn's acceptance speech for Cory Doctorow's Norton Award
Praise for Content
"Doctorow uses science fiction as a kind of cultural WD-40, loosening hinges and dissolving adhesions to peer into some of society's unlighted corners."
-New York Times
"If you want to glimpse the future of copyright policing, video-game sweatshops, robotic intelligence, info war, and how computer geeks will survive the apocalypse.... Doctorow is rapidly emerging as the William Gibson of his generation."
Hailed by Bruce Sterling as a "political activist, gizmo freak, junk collector, programmer, entrepreneur, and all-around Renaissance geek," Cory Doctorow is the Internet’s most celebrated hi-tech pop culture maven. Content is the first collection of Doctorow's infamous articles, essays, and polemics. Here's why Microsoft should stop treating their customers as criminals (through relentless digital rights management); how America chose copyright and Happy Meal toys over jobs; why Facebook is taking a faceplant; how Wikipedia is a poor cousin of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; and of course, why free e-books kick ass.
Practicing what he preaches, Doctorow's book, including this one, are simultaneously released in print and online under Creative Commons licenses (go to www.craphound.com and download your own copy, no charge). Controversially, he insists that giving away his books has considerably increased his sales by enlisting his readers to do his marketing for him. And you know, it's working.
Accessible to geeks and noobs (if you’re not sure what that means, it's you) alike, Content is a must-have compilation from Cory Doctorow, who as he effortlessly surfs the zeitgeist will be glad to take you along for the ride.
Excerpt from Microsoft DRM talk
Greetings fellow pirates! Arrrrr!
I'm here today to talk to you about copyright, technology and DRM [digital rights management], I work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation on copyright stuff (mostly), and I live in London. I'm not a lawyer - I'm a kind of mouthpiece/activist type, though occasionally they shave me and stuff me into my Bar Mitzvah suit and send me to a standards body or the UN to stir up trouble. I spend about three weeks a month on the road doing completely weird stuff like going to Microsoft to talk about DRM.
I lead a double life: I'm also a science fiction writer. That means I've got a dog in this fight, because I've been dreaming of making my living from writing since I was 12 years old. Admittedly, my IP-based biz isn't as big as yours, but I guarantee you that it's every bit as important to me as yours is to you.
Here's what I'm here to convince you of:
1. That DRM systems don't work
2. That DRM systems are bad for society
3. That DRM systems are bad for business
4. That DRM systems are bad for artists
5. That DRM is a bad business-move for MSFT
It's a big brief, this talk. Microsoft has sunk a lot of capital into DRM systems, and spent a lot of time sending folks like Martha and Brian and Peter around to various smoke-filled rooms to make sure that Microsoft DRM finds a hospitable home in the future world. Companies like Microsoft steer like old Buicks, and this issue has a lot of forward momentum that will be hard to soak up without driving the engine block back into the driver's compartment. At best I think that Microsoft might convert some of that momentum on DRM into angular momentum, and in so doing, save all our asses.
"Doctorow here proves he's smart, funny, and good at accessibly boiling down issues he's passionate about...a pleasure to read, not to mention thought-provoking."
"...more than just insightful, brilliant, and to the point - it's also funny and fun to read."
-Electronic Frontier Foundation
"If you want to know what's happening at the sharp end of digital publication and new ideas about the relationships between authors and their readers - do yourself a favour and listen to what he has to say."
Praise for Cory Doctorow:
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
"...the impressively imagined world of the novel is tricked out in lively prose."
—New York Times
"Cory Doctorow meshes all of these outlandish ideas into a novel of power and skill. His story is told on many levels, with a surprising complexity and the perfect touch of humor. Like all good science fiction, Doctorow tackles the issues of today, tomorrow. Morality, cloning, socialism, poverty, right to die, freedom of choice, pratfalls of hubris, and the cult of celebrity are all explored in what may be the best debut science-fiction novel since Neuromancer."
"Fast, smart, fun and flashy: Cory Doctorow’s 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom' is all of the above. Even when science fiction is based on solid predictions, it can demonstrate the pinwheeling pyrotechnics of a first-class fireworks display."
"It would not be an exaggeration to say that Doctorow's work is one of the main reasons I still read science fiction.... A fast, funny, smart, clever book which entertains so well that it's only upon reflection that its surprising sophistication and depths become evident."
"Doctorow has created a rich and exciting vision of the future, and then wrote a page-turner of a story in it. I couldn't put the book down."
—Bruce Schneier, Author, Secrets and Lies
For A Place So Foreign and Eight More:
"As a political activist, gizmo freak, junk collector, programmer, entrepreneur, and all-around Renaissance geek, Cory Doctorow is a science fiction writer who can really drill down.... We should all hope and trust that our culture has the guts and moxie to follow this guy. He’s got a lot to tell us."
"Cory Doctorow straps on his miner's helmet and takes you deep into the caverns and underground rivers of Pop Culture, here filtered through SF-coloured glasses."
—Neil Gaiman, Author of American Gods and Sandman
"A Place So Foreign and 8 More is the post-cyberpunk iconoclast’s much anticipated first collection, and it starts with a bang."
"As knowledgeable about computers as he is about flea markets, Doctorow uses science fiction as a kind of cultural WD-40, loosening hinges and dissolving adhesions to peer into some of society's unlighted corners. His best known story, 'Craphound,' tells of a competitive friendship between two junk collectors, one human and one alien; what it says about the uses of the past is no more mysterious than the prices paid for a vintage Coke bottle or an early Barbie doll. Not every attempt to wrest truth from cliche works - but you won't want to miss Doctorow's satiric glance at co-opted dissent among the grade-school set or the insidious horror of his updated Pinocchio tale."
—New York Times
"Achingly funny...by relentlessly exposing disenchanted Silicon Valley dwellers caught in a military-industrial web of khaki money, Congress-critters and babykiller projects, Doctorow explores the intersection of social concern and technology."
"Time travel made fresh. Pinocchio made haunting. Even the tangential ideas, incidental word choices and minor sub-stories crackle with creativity."
—Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon.com
For Eastern Standard Tribe:
"Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar - a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)."
—William Gibson, Author of Neuromancer
"....a satisfying dose of suspense and humor."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"...Doctorow maintains an unrelenting pace; many readers will find themselves finishing the novel, as I did, in a single sitting."
"At its heart, Tribe is a witty, sometimes acerbic poke in the eye at modern culture. Everything comes under Doctorow's microscope, and he manages to be both up to date and off the cuff in the best possible way."
For Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town:
"Someone Comes to Town is a fantastic example of a fairy tale for grownups, a weird and wonderful piece of 21st century fantasy."
"A glorious book, but there are hundreds of those. It is more. It is a glorious book unlike any book you’ve ever read."
"Doctorow (Eastern Standard Tribe) treats these and other bizarre images and themes with deadpan wit. In this inventive parable about tolerance and acceptance, he demonstrates how memorably the outrageous and the everyday can coexist."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Cory Doctorow is the apotheosis of what we talk about when we talk about The Web."
"I found Someone Comes to Town to be a great celebration of life and a novel that manages to be downright scary at times while still utterly resplendent with hope."
"Magical realism and literary iconoclasm abound in a novel that should appeal to fans of experimental fiction in a near-future setting."
"It's official: Cory Doctorow has become the new Neal Stephenson. Or, rather, he’s become the new early-period Neal Stephenson, since Stephenson himself has moved away from quirky, computer tech-y, zippy future-kitsch. Doctorow began filling the resulting gap with his first novels, Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe. But his latest, Someone Comes To Town, Someone Leaves Town, is his most Stephenson-like novel to date, all bizarre characters, cutting-edge culture, and technological lectures, swirled into a refreshing, compellingly grounded semi-fable."
—The Onion AV Club
"Doctorow strings together wonderfully witty words into pithy sentences that have no right making as much sense as they do. He brings a powerful but lighthearted magic to a world we very much hope resembles the real world."
"Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present is really good story telling, good extrapolation on present trends. My sysadmins should check out the first story, 'When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth.'"
—Craig “craigslist” Newmark
"In these quirky, brashly engaged 'stories of the future present' Cory Doctorow shows us life from the point-of-view of the plugged-in generation and makes it feel like a totally alien world."
"He has a knack for identifying those seminal trends of our current landscape that will in all likelihood determine the shape of our future(s)...."
—Sci Fi Weekly
"'Overclocked'" is a reminder that we can’t hope to keep up and shouldn't bother. But we do need to keep alert, to keep ourselves caffeinated, to run as fast as we can – if we hope to stay in the same place. Getting ahead? That's, alas, a thing of the past."
"If you want to glimpse the future of copyright policing, video-game sweatshops, robotic intelligence, info war, and how computer geeks will survive the apocalypse, then this collection of shorts is your oracle.... Doctorow is rapidly emerging as the William Gibson of his generation."
"Each short story is an idea bomb with a candy coating of human drama, wrapped in shiny tech tropes and ready to blow your mind. Overclocked is SF info-warfare ammunition of the highest caliber, so load up, move out, and take no prisoners…"
"The appealing characters, snappy writing and swift pace will surely tempt the younger and/or geekier sections of the SF audience."
Little Brother (forthcoming):
"A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion, as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane."
—Scott Westerfeld, author of Pretties, Uglies, and Extras
"I can talk about Little Brother in terms of its bravura political speculation or its brilliant uses of technology — each of which make this book a must-read — but, at the end of it all, I’m haunted by the universality of Marcus's rite-of-passage and struggle, an experience any teen today is going to grasp: the moment when you choose what your life will mean and how to achieve it."
—Steven C Gould, author of Jumper and Reflex
"A worthy younger sibling to Orwell’s 1984, Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother is lively, precocious, and most importantly, a little scary."
—Brian K Vaughn, author of Y: The Last Man