Category Archives: Tech

The Information by James Gleick

The Information by James GleickReview: The Information by James Gleick (Vintage, 2012)

‘In the beginning there was information. The word came later.’

James Gleick has never been shy of approaching big topics. I first came across him many years back reading his just-published Chaos which remains for my money the single best introduction to the mind-bending world of chaos theory on the market. Since then he’s tackled biographies of intellectual behemoths Isaac Newton and Richard Feynman as well as a thoughtful treatise on the apparently accelerating pace of modern life. However, he’s saved the best for this release. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood takes on the very concept of information itself, tracing its transmission and dissemination from African drumming through to modern-day quantum computing. A daunting task to say the least.

Thankfully he’s more than up to the task. The first half of The Information is essentially a fast-track history of our attempts at communication beginning as mentioned with African drumming. For many westerners our only exposure to this art has been a patronising, distorted or outright racist depiction of bongo-pounding savages in the darkest jungle. Gleick swiftly puts the lie to this outdated notion with a gushing account of the incredible complexity achieved by so simple an idea. However, key to this section as well as those following on from it is his razor-sharp analysis of the limitations inherent in them. The recurring notion of redundancy rears its head here for the first time and you’d better pay attention because it’s one of the stars of the show.

From here we travel spatially and temporally, stopping in at the Middle East and Ancient Greece to check out the invention of the written word. Given the gusto with which I rail against anti-piracy copyright barons in the internet age it was with no small chuckle that I discovered Plato himself was none too keen on this new-fangled ‘writing’. It wasn’t for the same reasons as the grisly media cartels – he maintained it would forever destroy our memories – but it’s interesting to note that technophobia has been present at every advancement in the informational arena. There are a few more pitstops along the way but I’ll not delve too deep here save to mention there early dictionary pioneer about whom we know nothing save that in 1611 he visited London where he may or may not have seen a dead crocodile. For an information pioneer this is a cruel irony indeed.

So much for the history, for me the exposition on the current state of information theory was the icing on the cake and it’s all down to one Claude Shannon, a little-known mathematician who by all rights ought to be a household name. I’ll leave the details to Mr Gleick but without Shannon we would have little in the way of telephony, internet, satellite communication, almost everything we currently take for granted. At this point in the books the heavier scientific concepts come into play but the author is a master at boiling down fuse-blowing theories and equations into easily handled chunks. At no point does the technical load become heavy enough to put the casual reader off and if anything they’ll come away greatly enlightened. Reference junkies will be happy too as almost a third of the book is taken up by comprehensive notes and a bibliography which had me salivating.

It’s hard to give an idea of the scope of The Information in a short review but take it from me that it’s one of those books which peels your eyelids back and lets you see farther and wider than you could have imagined before. James Gleick manages to achieve a near perfect balance between humourous historical anecdotes and masterful scientific presentation. The previous titles I read of his were true classics in the popular science genre and this is possibly his greatest to date. Simply essential for any citizen of the information age.

Buy The Information via the Vintage website.

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Influx by Daniel Suarez

Influx by Daniel SuarezReview: Influx by Daniel Suarez (Dutton, 2014)

“Mankind was on the moon in the 1960s, Jon. That was half a century ago. Nuclear power. The transistor. The laser. All existed even back then. Do you really think the pinnacle of innovation since that time is Facebook?”

I almost didn’t read this one. Right there on the cover, emblazoned in a starburst, the blurb proclaiming Suarez to be a natural successor to Michael Chrichton. So this is going to be airport fiction by a man whose mind has been warped by climate change denialism? No thanks. Fortunately reviews elsewhere convinced me to give it a chance. And while it may well fall into the ‘holiday read’ category it’s nonetheless a thought-provoking and knowledgeable read.

Influx kicks off in an unassuming research lab being visited by representatives of a concerned group of venture capitalists. It seems Jon Grady and his team have been lax in producing the promised results and their funders are concerned. However their concern is far from warranted. Using their original research as a cover, the assembled crew of scientists have managed to unlock the keys to one of nature’s most fundamental forces, creating a ‘gravity mirror’ with unlimited applications. This is the kind of revolutionary science (explained in brain-smashing detail) which only happens once in a lifetime and changes everything forever afterwards.

Which is a problem. No sooner are the team celebrating than they are visited by a lunatic religious cult. Their mission: to relieve the world of ungodly technology and the humans responsible. Knocked unconscious and shackled atop a massive fertiliser bomb, Grady barely has time to say goodbye to his colleague, the aged Professor Aldcot, before blinding white light tears his world and body apart. And then he’s awake, in a shiny office…

Grady has been targeted by the Bureau of Technology Control, a government department charged with the control and removal of technologies with the power to upset the delicate balance of society. The BTC lives in almost a parallel universe, a hidden world of fusion power and artificial intelligence, faking the deaths of the most creative and cutting-edge scientists, shelving their creations until a suitable and tasking them with further research with virtually unlimited resources. Their remit is ostensibly for the good of mankind but Grady resists, refusing to cooperate with what he sees as an immoral obstacle to human progress. This, it turns out, is a very bad move indeed. The BTC are a more powerful and wide-reaching enemy than he could ever have imagined.

Influx aims to get its hooks into the current conspiratorial, anti-science zeitgeist and very much succeeds. The BTC and its director, the sinister Hendrick, are straight out of a Conspiracy Theory 101 course. In fact I sincerely wonder how many people are going to read this book and say “I told you so! I knew they were out there!”. One could level the charge of picking easy targets at Suarez as after all this is just an extension of the tinfoil hat crew’s alarm call of “If there are so many scientists working on cancer, why isn’t there a cure? They’re keeping it from us and feeding us poison instead!” However Suarez picks up their mixture of ignorance, credulity and general stupidity and proceeds to throw it all into an action-movie blender. The result is a very readable thriller with the perfect balance of plausible science and brainless action to attract a pretty wide audience.

Part of the fun is the sheer level of imagination involved. From the background and complexity of the BTC itself to their fiendish prison, Hibernity, Influx keeps throwing idea after idea at you, but never to the point where you start drowning in them. And the toys, oh my god the toys. We’ve got hover belts, heat rays, even neurological sleep guns. And how much do I want a chain golem?

One first picking up the book I was worried that it was going to stray into Crichton’s recent anti-scientific realms but fortunately Suarez seems to be on the side of sanity. For him the scientists are the heroes and it’s over-reaching government – with the BTC being specifically NSA-like in many of its actions – which are the target of his ire. It’s far from intellectually challenging although it’ll make you stop and think now and again. And the plotholes are too numerous to get into here. But in the end it’s an enjoyably silly read for anyone with even a passing interest in technology and the pace of human progress.

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Nexus by Ramez Naam

Nexus by Namez RaamReview: Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot, 2012)

The mind is a beautiful, wonderful, intricate thing. But it’s also flawed at some fundamental levels. The product of aeons of slapdash evolutionary bodge jobs, it’s inefficient, slow and running far below its potential. But what if we could change all that? Hack the brain, patch its OS, free it from its evolutionary origins and launch it to the next level, Humanity 2.0? What would we be capable of? Would it lead to good, evil or a subtle blend of both? And how would the populace – and more importantly, those in power – react?

Welcome to the world of Nexus, debut novel of Ramez Naam. The Nexus of the title is a new wonder-drug unlike any which have gone before it. Capable of rewiring the brain of the user to produce unbelievable highs, craft total fantasies and enhance the user’s abilities, it understandably draws the ire of governments around the world. Under a harsh new regime, hardwired into law by the fictional Chandler Act and Copenhagen Accord, such ‘threats to humanity’ are criminalised and their research outlawed. However, for some the lure of Nexus’s potential is too much to ignore. Kaden Lane, along with his colleagues Ilya and Rangan, create a nanotech-enhanced version of Nexus, enabling it to literally rewrite the brains underlying systems, remain in the body permanently and even allow direct brain-to-brain contact and control.

Not surprisingly, Kade and company find themselves targeted by the ERD (Emerging Risks Directorate), a government agency which makes today’s NSA appear restrained and rational. Faced with spending the rest of their lives in a deep, dark hole they are forced to cut a deal. Kade agrees to help the ERD, under the guidance of young, bio-enhanced operative Samantha, to infiltrate a Chinese organisation supposedly working on posthuman technology. The tech is the stuff of dreams to idealistic Kade, but to Sam and other zealots in the ERD it represents nothing less than an immediate threat to humanity as a whole.

Before long Kade and Sam are in Bangkok, attending a conference with the underlying goal of securing Kade a research position with Shu Yung-Su, enigmatic scientist and ERD enemy number one. Of course, the unexpected happens and before long they are caught between several factions fighting over the future of humanity and, above all, the Nexus 5 implant carried in Kade’s head.

Nexus may be Ramez Naam’s first novel but it certainly is not his first publication. A respected technologist, involved in the creation of IE and Outlook (yeah, I know…), he recently published More Than Human. Basically a non-fiction primer for Nexus, More Than Human laid down the current state of play as regards neurological research. The levels of technology within our reach right now are simply staggering and make novels like Nexus extremely important.

You see, despite its appearance as a book for tech-junkies dressed up as an action thriller, the core of Nexus deals with the potential of the technology and the reaction towards it. In the characters of Sam and others at the ERD, Naam crafts a chillingly convincing portrait of the fear, ignorance and resulting paranoia at the heart of government. Unable to accept the possibility of everyone having access to technology with the power to fundamentally alter the world, they must assume that it will be used for evil and attempt to shut it down, lock it away forever (except where they decide to use it themselves). In the current climate of oppressive laws and treatment of anyone who refuses to toe the government line as traitors and terrorists, the alarmist line depicted in Nexus rings all too true.

Naam isn’t entirely one-sided though. Despite being clearly in favour of new technologies, and particularly making such advances available to everyone to ensure true democracy, he does illustrate the dangers of going too far to the other extreme. He asks how a world inhabited by humans and posthumans alike would behave. Would both co-exist peacefully or would the gulf in abilities soon lead to a hideous caste war?

The book itself is remarkably well written, especially for someone with Naam’s background. Despite a shaky start it soon finds its feet and fleshes out the main chracters wonderfully. The key players – Kade, Sam and the wonderful Cole Wats – work together beautifully and convincingly. The plot is played out at a good pace, with events intensifying towards a satisfying climax and few loose threads left untied. The action has received some criticism as being overblown and distracting from the central plot but I have to say I loved it. In fact it recalled the epic sequences in Neal Stephenson’s reamde, high praise indeed, although it inevitably lacks Stephenson’s in-depth knowledge of every single subject ever conceived of by mankind.

There were only a couple of things which detracted from Nexus. The first was the language employed at times. In a futuristic, energetic thriller it is more than a little anachronistic to hear a phone referred to as a ‘blasted thing’ or have characters exclaiming ‘Bloody hell!’ This isn’t steampunk. Okay, it raised a smile the first time but seriously Ramez – learn to swear with conviction! Secondly, there was enough cliche in the book to sink a battleship. Some elements, like Sam’s traumatic backstory being mirrored later in the book with roles reversed, were just unbelievably corny. Although counter to this I must vote ‘Confucian Fist’ as the best name for a shady clade of super-soldiers ever.

So, a hearty recommendation for Nexus. It’s a staggeringly good debut novel, by turns sci-fi, thriller, scientific lecture and political diatribe. Somehow it manages to blend these elements almost seamlessly into an addictive whole, one which you will be urging your friends to pick up for months to come.

(Angry Robot have kindly provided me with an advance reading copy of Crux, the upcoming sequel to Nexus. Expect a full review as soon as it’s finished.)

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Homeland by Cory Doctorow

Homeland by Cory DoctorowReview: Homeland by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen, 2013)

As Bradley Manning, hero of the Wikileaks scandal, endures his court martial under a near-total blanket of secrecy from the powers that be, and the tech world still reels from the suicide of Aaron Swartz (who provides a posthumous afterword), it seems a perfect time to talk about Homeland, the latest young adult novel by king of the geeks Cory Doctorow and sequel to his wonderful YA debut Little Brother. In the previous volume a young tech enthusiast named Marcus (or MiK3y) was hounded by the government following a terrorist attack on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge. Aided by overreaching new laws they hounded him and his friends, to a point including waterboarding, for their part in organising an underground knowledge network on the Darknet in order to disseminate news about the horrific abuses of power being carried out int he name of security.

Homeland opens a couple of years into the future. Far from fulfilling his promise as a computer whizzkid, Marcus has been forced to abandon his college studies due to lack of funding. His government blacklisting has resulted in the loss of his father’s job, making things tight for everyone. Keeping himself busy through tinkering with 3D printing he finds himself at the Burning Man festival where Masha, an old acquaintance, appears from nowhere and passes something into his possession, an encryption key, with a sinister message. If she suddenly disappears or is found dead he is to use the key to decrypt a file hosted on Pirate Bay’s servers and make it public. As a snoop for the Department Of Homeland Security she has been collecting all manner of incriminating documents from other operatives whose consciences could no longer bear the weight of the secrets they were carrying. The file is dynamite, set to expose all manner of wrongdoing from torture to government complicity in the spiraling circle of debt so many find themselves trapped in.

Soon after this meeting Masha and her partner Zeb vanish from sight, soon after Marcus spots his nemesis Carrie Johnstone (responsible for his torture) patrolling the camp. Seconds later there is a massive, ‘accidental’ explosion involving one of the automotive art installations and when the dust clears Carrie is gone. What follows for Marcus is yet another series of trials, both mental and physical, stretching his integrity and his relationships to breaking point and forcing himself to fight the demons of his past. Should he release the documents? What will the consequences be? How should he do this and does he truly have the backbone to go through with it? Both aiding and abetting his quest is his appointment to the position of technical manager for a firebrand independent politician’s election campaign.

Doctorow manages to push all the right buttons in Homeland, giving us some snippets of actions, hefty doses of righteous indignation, comic relief and allowing high enough doses of reality to keep everything grounded. The characters from Little Brother become more fleshed out with that of Marcus being particularly well written. It’s no mean feat to make a neurotic, obsessive geek into a likable hero but aside from a few questionable decisions he fits the bill pretty well. In fact he veers away from the hero archetype, spending plenty of time weighing the options between going down in a blaze of glory – hounded as he is by the government, mercenaries and hackers alike – and simply ducking for cover to save his own skin and protect those around him. His decisions are real and they are hard, eliciting plenty sympathy from the reader.

Most rewarding for me, and the reason I picked it up, is the fact that Homeland – like Little Brother and Pirate Cinema before it – reads almost like a manual for youth insurrection. It’s steeped in technical know-how from start to finish, discussing online privacy, cryptography, surveillance and general politics – not to mention how to cold-brew the perfect cup of coffee! I have said many times that these books make me wish I had been born in the late 90’s so I could be coming of age in a world where all of this is accessible to an impressionable teen. It’s inspiring stuff and has already inspired me to start learning a couple of programming languages as well as expanding my knowledge of Linux operating systems. Not content with simply weaving these elements into the tale, Doctorow provides a handy appendix full of links and references to get you or your child started as a hacker/caffeine addict.

Homeland, despite its heavy topics, is a very easy and enjoyable read. If you have any interest at all in technology, the internet, freedom of speech, open government and other related topics then regardless of your age you will get something out of it. It inspires both thought and action while dressing everything up in the garb of a traditional thriller transposed to modern times. If you have kids in their teenage years simply do not hesitate – buy this book for them now. It’s dark for sure and may instill an inherent distrust for authority but is that really such a bad thing?

(As a closing word it should be pointed out that Homeland, like all of Cory Doctorow’s works, is available to download for free from his website, Craphound. Unlike anti-consumer websites such as Amazon, Doctorow performed an experiment whereby he simultaneously released books for free and for sale. The results were undeniable – those books with free versions sold far more copies than pay-only volumes. Word of mouth goes a long way. So go try it for free if you have a reader – any reader as his books, unlike Amazon’s, are entirely DRM-free and can be read on any kind or number of devices. If you want to pay him some money for his efforts – and the free copies are peppered with reminders and shout-outs to his favourite independent bookstores – then you can buy a paper copy afterwards and have it donated to a library or public school. This is the future of publishing, not the fearful ‘we own your purchases’ attitude of Amazon, Apple, etc.)

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Alif The Unseen

Alif The Unseen by G. Willow WilsonReview – Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (Grove Press, 2012)

The worlds of high-tech cyberwarriors and that of ancient spirits seem at first glance unlikely bedfellows. After all cyberpunk as a literary genre is one which generally tends to eschew the supernatural in favour of the power of technology. Man’s intellect obviates the need for angels and demons, relegating our myths and legends to the back alleys of the modern world. G. Willow Wilson’s Alif The Unseen seeks to broker a peace between the two traditions, spinning a tale that weaves constantly between the motherboard and the otherworld and in doing so creates a new genre out of whole cloth.

Alif The Unseen takes as its base an imaginary yet entirely believable Middle-Eastern enclave known simply as The City, capital of an unnamed oil Sultanate. The City is strictly demarcated into economic zones, the huddled masses kept safely away from royalty and those grown fat on black gold. The titular Alif belongs in the former, spending his days huddled in his cramped room with his computers as his only friends. A talented hacker, Alif earns himself some spending money by offering online protection and anonymity to his clients around the world, a motley crew of porn barons, gamblers and activists. Chief among his concerns his evading the grasp of ‘The Hand’, another techno-wizard recently employed by the city’s rulers to crack down on online dissidents and their enablers. Alif’s comrades-in-arms engage the hand in cyberwarfare on a daily basis, an ever-escalating arms race for digital superiority.

Beyond the glare of the screen Alif was until recently besotted by the daughter of one of the city’s privileged elite, eagerly pursuing her despite their economic disparities. Eventually reality takes its toll and she breaks off their furtive relationship, spurring Alif to create a program which will detect her online presence via no more than the manner of her typing. Its noble purpose is an early warning system, to erase his tracks from her sight and spare her the heartache of any online reminders. Alif does not suspect that it’s about to turn his world upside down.

What follows next is a wonderful act of genre-mashing as Alif receives a gift from his former love – a book known as the Alf Yeom, an ancient, magical tome allegedly penned by the djinn themselves. Before he knows what is happening, Alif and his childhood friend Dina are being pursued through the city, aided and abetted by djinn and humans alike. The Hand turns his warning program into a weapon against the city’s digital rebels and pours all his resources into acquiring the Alf Yeom for himself.

Alif The Unseen manages to splice the two worlds together seamlessly with Wilson drawing on an extensive knowledge of Arabic lore as well as modern technology to infuse her tale with a surprising level of authenticity. The influences at play are numerous and eclectic, drawing on the writings of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, Islamic legends and even movies. The character of Alif seems remarkably like a more streetwise at Neo at times,while the bazaar scenes in the invisible world of the djinn sent my mind straight to the secret market of Del Toro’s Hellboy movies.

Despite drawing on such numerous sources, Alif The Unseen successfully forges and retains its own identity throughout – the book is unmistakably Wilson’s own and its unique flavour is one of the key attractions. Unlike Alif, whose skepticism initially prevents him from accepting the reality of his new circumstances, the reader is instantly drawn in. You don’t question for a second that an archaic, mystical text can somehow hold the key to insanely powerful computing. It simply does, and Wilson ensures that you’re entirely at ease with this fact. The supernatural powers of the djinn contrast well with the cyberpowers of Alif and his adversary, while the unrest in the background recalls the recent events of the ‘Arab Spring’, giving the book a very real grounding in the contemporary world.

It’s difficult to envisage any sci-fi/fantasy reader who wouldn’t find something to enjoy here. If technology isn’t your thing then focus on the djinn, and vice versa. In the meantime there’s an old-fashioned thriller story happening behind the scenes with just enough splashes of comedy and romantic interest to relieve the tension. For those with a passing interest in the history and culture of the Gulf states there is even more enjoyment to be had, though it is by no means a prerequisite to enjoying the book. Above all it’s worth picking up just to see how two such disparate threads can be combined such that their union seems the most natural thing in the world.

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Pirate Party

Pirate Cinema by Coy DoctorowReview: Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen, 2012)

(Note: This was originally written for The Mountains Of Instead but turned out too long. I had to use it, especially in light of the recent death of Aaron Swartz. The themes of this book are very relevant to the case)

The year is, well, not so far from now. Life in the UK is much the same, only the technology has changed. Even in that sense society is entirely recognisable, with the only significant difference being further reliance on the internet: for study; for work; for recreation; even for claiming benefits. It is against this background that nerd icon Cory Doctorow sets his latest YA novel, Pirate Cinema.

Pirate Cinema opens with Trent McCauley, a nondescript 16 year old Bradford schoolkid, indulging in his hobby. Trent is a remixer, downloading any appearances of fictional actor Scot Colford which he can lay his hands on and rearranging them into his own wildly creative and popular montages. Unfortunately for Trent, the entertainment industry takes a dim view of such activities and under the draconian laws of the land his family have their internet service disconnected.

Even today this would be a blow to many people – one year without access to email, Facebook, YouTube and everything else. In Trent’s world it is nigh a death sentence. His younger sister is cut off from vital educational resources in the middle of her schooling. His father, barely scraping by at an online temping gig, has his sole source of income removed. His mother can no longer apply for benefits to aid her crippling leg problems, nor can she find any online help. Trent, shocked by the consequences of his innocent downloading, flees home and heads for the bright lights of London.

By the end of his first night he has lost his laptop (using it as a pillow while sleeping in a park was perhaps a silly idea) and is reduced to begging for change. Fortunately he is adopted by Jem, a genuinely altruistic old hand at this life and Doctorow briefly transforms Pirate Cinema into Oliver Twist. Jem introduces Trent to the smart (and honest) way to live on the streets, with the principle of sharing their gains with those less fortunate at the forefront of their minds. Before long they are squatting in an abandoned pub and renovating it, transforming it into a veritable palace.

Trent soon finds his internet feet again and is continuing his remixing under the alias Cecil B. DeVil. This soon lands him in hot water yet again and matters escalate to the point of a legal battle and a grassroots war with the entertainment industry and the corrupt politicians whose pockets they are filling to ensure their laws pass. The ongoing collaborations with Trent and his new-found activist friends, set against the scheming and machinations of the executives and politicians, form the meat of Pirate Cinema, with Cory Doctorow subjecting his characters to all manner of mishaps and misadventures before reaching an exhilarating conclusion.

Pirate Cinema is a great little read. My only real gripe was his often embarrassing attempts so conduct dialogue using teenage slang. Canadian Doctorow has been resident in the UK for several years but his grasp of kidspeak is tenuous at best and makes for some unintentional giggle along the way. Seriously, I have never seen anyone say “Cor!” outside of the Beano.

On the plus side, it never takes itself too seriously and plays about with pop culture references, pokes gentle fun at its geeky excesses and manages to entertain and ultimately educate at the same time. It’s suited perfectly to an audience of an age with its protagonist and any references to sex, drugs and swearing are subtly glossed over. It’s possible that some may find Doctorow’s style overly preachy, an accusation levelled at his previous YA effort Little Brother (a book which made me wish I had been born 20 years later so I could be reading it as a teenager today). However, as an avowed copyfighter this was not an issue for me personally. Overall it delivers exactly what one would expect from a YA novel with this premise – a funny, rousing techno-fable which should please a wide audience, especially among computer-literate teens.

So that’s the meat of the review. Now for the Public Service Announcement. Pirate Cinema is a fictional novel but the world it depicts is most assuredly not. The legal battles, political maneuvering and lobbying which form the heart of the story are based, with very little exaggeration, on events occurring right now. UK readers may be familiar with the Digital Economy Act which passed in 2010 and handed unbelievable powers to rights holders to prosecute those they believe to be infringing copyright, even without evidence. France recently introduced a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule identical to that used in Pirate Cinema. The copyright battles in the US are probably well known to everyone with an internet connection.

There is a mammoth power struggle going on and unfortunately consumers and artists are getting the short end of the stick due mainly to simple lack of funding. Multi-billion dollar industries whose profits continue to grow year on year – despite deepening recessions – would have us believe that those who would dare to remix existing works and share them without charging a single penny are on a par with organised criminals like the mafia and should be jailed. People like me, who buy an ebook at Amazon for an insanely inflated price and are forced to use third party programs to strip its DRM and read it on the device of our choosing, are lawbreakers – a threat to the entire publishing industry.

This is not hyperbole. This is real. This is how the situation is portrayed to MPs by lobbyists with pockets full of party invitations and brown envelopes. People like Cory Doctorow are trying to help the situation by informing and educating.

And yes, he is a man with the courage of his convictions. Pirate Cinema is available for free download at his website, along with all of his other novels. Contrary to what the industry would have us believe, he conducted his own experiment and, in line with what other similar studies have shown, found that offering free downloads with no DRM at all actually increased sales of paper and electronic copies alike. Sharing is good. Sharing works.

(Okay, the free copy has regular ‘commercial interludes’ reminding you that he has to eat but this is a small price to pay. If so inclined you can choose to donate a copy to a school or library via his website while retaining a free copy yourself. This is very, very good thing.)

So there we have it. Call Pirate Cinema a simple novel, in which case it is a wonderfully enjoyable David and Goliath tale. Call it an educational supplement, opening people’s eyes to the goings-on around them. Call it a call to arms for today’s young generation, warning them of the need to exercise their rights and maintain eternal vigilance. Whichever way you look at it, Pirate Cinema is a gem of a book for any tech-oriented, creative or even vaguely pro-active mind.

Download Pirate Cinema:
Open Rights Group:
Electronic Frontier Foundation:

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