Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present
  • Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present
  • Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

4.5 2
by Cory Doctorow
     
 

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to get bitten by a zombie? To live through a bioweapon attack? To have every aspect of your life governed by invisible ants?
In Cory Doctorow's collection of novellas, he wields his formidable experience in technology and computing to give us mindbending sci-fi tales that explore the possibilities of information

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Overview

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to get bitten by a zombie? To live through a bioweapon attack? To have every aspect of your life governed by invisible ants?
In Cory Doctorow's collection of novellas, he wields his formidable experience in technology and computing to give us mindbending sci-fi tales that explore the possibilities of information technology — and its various uses — run amok. "Anda's Game" is a spin on the bizarre new phenomenon of “cyber sweatshops,” in which people are paid very low wages to play online games all day in order to generate in-game wealth, which can be converted into actual money. Another tale tells of the heroic exploits of “sysadmins” — systems administrators — as they defend the cyber-world, and hence the world at large, from worms and bioweapons. And yes, there is a story about zombies, too.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An unabashed promulgator of the Internet and its democratic potential, Doctorow (Eastern Standard Tribe) explores the benefits and consequences of online systems in this provocative collection of six mostly long stories. "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" is a moving chronicle of a widely dispersed network of techno-geeks laboring to keep the World Wide Web running as an epitaph to an earth devastated by a bioweapon apocalypse. In "After the Siege"-the bleak chronicle of a modern siege of Stalingrad-the horrors of war become fodder for a documentary film crew's reality-based entertainment. Two tales riff on classic SF themes: "I, Robot," in which Isaac Asimov's positronic bots are cogs in a dysfunctional future totalitarian state, and "Anda's Game," a brilliant homage to Orson Scott Card's Ender's saga, in which a role-playing enthusiast finds herself immersed in a surprisingly real world of class warfare fought online by avatars of game players. Most "meat"-minded readers will find much to savor. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom; cofounder boingboing.com) brings a sense of the offbeat and absurd to sf, notably in this collection of six stories that look at our near future and how technology is shaping our society. "I, Robot" and "I Row-Boat" each explore artificial intelligence and scrutinize the practicalities of Isaac Asimov's three rules of robotics. "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth," a fresh take on the end-of-the-world story, is both funny and touching. "After the Siege" is much grimmer, despite merely being about one small war. Like the other stories in the collection, "Printcrime" and "Anda's Game" delve into the way technology is controlled by governments and business and in turn used to control people. All the stories have been previously published in magazines, in anthologies, or on web sites. Doctorow adds head notes for each work, detailing how it came to be—a nice peek into the writing process. A thought-provoking and fun collection; recommended for all public libraries.
—Devon Thomas
Kirkus Reviews
Five substantial stories plus one short-short, all previously published, all computer-related and bulging with knowing SF references. "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" depicts the heroic struggles of a handful of dedicated system administrators to keep the Internet up and running in the face of an ill-defined, terrorist-related global meltdown. In "Anda's Game," the standout entry, child laborers in third-world sweatshops toil to accumulate advantages playing online games on behalf of affluent first-worlders, so that the rich kids can enjoy the games without all the drudgery. The robots of "I, Robot" are at war: One faction is hobbled by Asimov's famous Three Laws, while the others are free to develop independence and vastly enhanced intelligence (although it's hard to see what stops the latter from simply taking over, or doing their own thing and ignoring humanity altogether). Elsewhere, godlike humans uploaded into orbiting electronic matrices prod inanimate objects or lowly lifeforms like coral reefs into consciousness. And Doctorow bases another war, this over intellectual-property rights, upon the horrific WWII siege of Leningrad: He doesn't quite pull it off, but it's a worthy effort. The ideas don't always stand up to a searching examination, but the appealing characters, snappy writing and swift pace will surely tempt the younger and/or geekier sections of the SF audience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560259817
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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