Makers

Makers

4.1 23
by Cory Doctorow
     
 

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Perry and Lester invent things: seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems. When Kodak and Duracell are broken up for parts by sharp venture capitalists, Perry and Lester help to invent the "New Work," a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation,

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Overview

Perry and Lester invent things: seashell robots that make toast, Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars. They also invent entirely new economic systems. When Kodak and Duracell are broken up for parts by sharp venture capitalists, Perry and Lester help to invent the "New Work," a New Deal for the technological era. Barefoot bankers cross the nation, microinvesting in high-tech communal mini-startups. Together, they transform the nation and blogger Andrea Fleeks is there to document it.

Then it slides into collapse. The New Work bust puts the dot-bomb to shame. Perry and Lester build a network of interactive rides in abandoned Walmarts across the land. As their rides gain in popularity, a rogue Disney executive engineers a savage attack on the rides by convincing the police that their 3D printers are being used to make AK-47s.

Lawsuits multiply as venture capitalists take on a new investment strategy: backing litigation against companies like Disney. Lester and Perry's friendship falls to pieces when Lester gets the fatkins treatment, which turns him into a sybaritic gigolo.

Then things get really interesting.

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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Sterling
This is just one king-hell of a science fiction novel. Nobody in the world but [Doctorow] could have fabricated this amazing thing. It reads like it was written in 800-word van Vogt bursts in between yoga sessions, but man, this is the stuff. It makes twentieth century science fiction read like an antique collection.
Sara Sklaroff
Doctorow…has an ear for geek-talk and corporate-speak…plus a Carl Hiaasen-like sense of caper.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
In this tour de force, Doctorow (Little Brother) uses the contradictions of two overused SF themes—the decline and fall of America and the boundless optimism of open source/hacker culture—to draw one of the most brilliant reimaginings of the near future since cyberpunk wore out its mirror shades. Perry Gibbons and Lester Banks, typical brilliant geeks in a garage, are trash-hackers who find inspiration in the growing pile of technical junk. Attracting the attention of suits and smart reporter Suzanne Church, the duo soon get involved with cheap and easy 3D printing, a cure for obesity and crowd-sourced theme parks. The result is bitingly realistic and miraculously avoids cliché or predictability. While dates and details occasionally contradict one another, Doctorow's combination of business strategy, brilliant product ideas and laugh-out-loud moments of insight will keep readers powering through this quick-moving tale. (Nov.)
Library Journal
After winning acclaim and awards for his YA novel Little Brother, Locus Award winner Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) returns to adult sf. His latest involves a corporate executive who funds high-tech microprojects—they cost thousands of dollars instead of millions—a pair of inventors who can make anything out of anything, and a blogger who chronicles their careers. Doctorow isn't Pollyannesque about the effects of rapid technological change: change of such scope and force is often devastating—boom followed by bust, then boom again, then bust. The ending of this well-written, well-conceived novel is bittersweet. VERDICT In speculative fiction, too often the ideas outrun the writing, but not here. Doctorow's novel features a good, modest story, appealing characters, and extremely interesting ideas that will appeal to his fans and sf aficionados as well as readers interested in cogitating on the social consequences of cybertechnology's near-exponential growth. Enthusiastically recommended.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A strangely lifeless outing from Canadian author and blogger Doctorow. The author again combines cutting-edge technology with libertarian ideas in his latest novel, set in a near-future America. A group of corporate-funded hardware engineers in Florida perfect a three-dimensional printer that allows products of all kinds to be churned out with little effort. The corporation tanks, but the printer technology spreads throughout society, and the out-of-work engineers independently use it to create their own amusement-park rides. Walt Disney Company executives, unamused, use lawsuits and shady corporate espionage to try and bring the creators down. Doctorow rides several of his usual hobbyhorses, particularly focusing on open-source technology, intellectual-property law and crowdsourcing; his obsession with Disney goes back to his debut (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, 2003). But while the brilliant Little Brother (2008) meshed similar ideas with appealing characters and a sharp, fast-paced thriller plot, this aimless follow-up lacks the visceral narrative drive of Doctorow's previous work. Indeed, many of its two-dimensional characters-techies, bloggers, corporate types and goth teenagers-seem to exist merely as mouthpieces for the author's views, while the plot drifts along with little urgency. Uncharacteristically bland and disappointing.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765312815
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
1,329,239
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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