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'Little Brother' and What Orwell Got Wrong - Cory Doctorow

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Published on Jun 7, 2010

Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2010/05/18/Cory_Doctor...

Boing Boing co-editor and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow explains the idea behind his novel Little Brother, which he describes as "related" to George Orwell's 1984 in that both explore similar themes of technology and control. Although Doctorow argues that Orwell may have underestimated the ability of technology to empower individuals, he warns that future technologies may allow governments more control over their citizens -- and parents more control over their children -- than ever before.

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Millions of people play multiplayer online games, battling to win virtual "gold," jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world's poorest countries, where "gold farmers," harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who spend real money to skip to higher levels.

In rural India, Mala's leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of "General Robotwalla." In Shenzen, Matthew is building his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard lives in Southern California but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia. They will all become entangled with Big Sister Nor, who will build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.

The forces arrayed against them are willing to use any means to protect their power -- including blackmail, extortion, infiltration, violence, and even murder. To survive, Big Sister's people must outthink the system. This will lead them to devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once -- a scheme that ends up being the most fun game of all. - Books Inc

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction novelist, blogger and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net), and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, the New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. A visiting senior lecturer at the Open University, he was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org), a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. In 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

His novels are published by HarperCollins UK and simultaneously released on the Internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their re-use and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work. He has won the Locus and Sunburst Awards, and been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and British Science Fiction Awards.

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