I was first introduced to Cory Doctorow’s books when I picked up the young adult novel Little Brother, which is a kind of counter-culture, grass-roots, cyber-terrorism sort of story, and I loved it. With those descriptive terms, what’s not to love?
Anywho, when I went to the American Library Association national conference in Washington, D.C. this summer I attended a sci-fi panel that Cory Doctorow was on. Besides being cute in a nerdy way, Doctorow was entertaining and interesting in his discussions of all things sci-fi and technology. (Side note: I don’t really think of his writings as SciFi, so don’t let that scare you off.)
I got a grab bag of books of the newest books of all the authors on the panel including Doctorow’s latest, For the Win. The book follows a revolution of youth as they fight back against the companies they work for – online multi-player games owned by the Coca Cola Company — that bring in big money for everyone except the workers; children and teens working mainly in India and China. Led by the mysterious Big Sister Nor, a cyber union called the Webblies forms and begins to bring about change in both the online worlds and the real world sweat shops to which they are so closely linked.
Doctorow weaves the story bringing together the most unlikely of characters; Mala, a born leader growing up on the streets of Dharvi, India, Leonard; a privileged Orange County teen who loves everything Chinese, and a beautiful young woman turned radio personality trying to help mobilize girls working in the sweat shops.
Because Doctorow is such a lover of all things open-source and a self-proclaimed “technology activist,” his book is actually available for free download, so there’s nothing to stop you from reading it right this second. Or, you know, you can come to your local library. We’d love to see you.