Little Brother

Little Brother

Little Brother is a novel by Cory Doctorow, published by Tor Books. It was released on April 29, 2008. The novel is about four teenagers in San Francisco who, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and BART system, defend themselves against the Department of Homeland Security's attacks on the Bill of Rights. The novel is available for free on the author's website under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA), keeping it accessible and remixable to all.


The book debuted at No. 9 on The New York Times Best Seller list, children's chapter book section, in May 2008. As of July 2, it had spent a total of six weeks on the list, rising to the No. 8 spot. Little Brother won the 2009 White Pine Award, the 2009 Prometheus Award. and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award. It also was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Little Brother received the Sunburst Award in the young adult category.


The New York Times says, "'Little Brother' isn't shy about its intent to disseminate subversive ideas to a young audience." The novel comes with two afterword essays by cryptographer and computer security specialist Bruce Schneier, and hacker Andrew "bunnie" Huang, and has a bibliography of techno-countercultural writings, from Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" to Schneier’s "Applied Cryptography".


Hacker Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko stated that the book is now used as training material for new NSA recruits in order to give them a different point of view.

Cory Efram Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.


File:Entrevista a Cory Doctorow.webmPlay media

Doctorow, interviewed in 2015 by CCCB.


    2000 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

    2004 Locus Award for Best First Novel for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

    2004 Sunburst Award for A Place So Foreign and Eight More

    2006 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "I, Robot"

    2007 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth"

    2007 The Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award


For Little Brother


    2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award

    2009 Prometheus Award

    2009 Sunburst Award

    2009 White Pine Award


For Pirate Cinema


    2013 Prometheus Award


For Homeland


    2014 Prometheus Award




In chronological sequence, unless otherwise indicated

Doctorow in his office

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.




    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Tor. 2003. ISBN 0-7653-0436-8.

    Eastern Standard Tribe. Tor. 2004. ISBN 0-7653-0759-6.

    Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Tor. 2005. ISBN 0-7653-1278-6.

    Little Brother. Tom Doherty Associates. 2008. ISBN 978-0-7653-1985-2.

    Makers. Tor. 2009. ISBN 978-0-7653-1279-2.

    For the Win. Tor. 2010. ISBN 978-0-7653-2216-6.

    The Rapture of the Nerds. Tor. September 2012. ISBN 978-0-765-32910-3.(with Charles Stross)

    Pirate Cinema. Tor. October 12, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7653-2908-0.

    Homeland. Tor. February 5, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7653-3369-8.

    Walkaway. Tor. April 25, 2017. ISBN 978-0-7653-9276-3.


Graphic novels


    In Real Life. Illustrated by Jen Wang. First Second. October 14, 2014. ISBN 978-1596436589.



A Place So Foreign and Eight More. Four Walls Eight Windows. 2003. ISBN 1568582862.

Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present. Thunder's Mouth Press. 2007. ISBN 978-1560259817.

With a Little Help. Cor-Doc Co. 2009. ISBN 9780557943050.


    Other instance: With a little help. CreateSpace. 2011. ISBN 9781456576349.


Radicalized. Tor. March 19, 2019. ISBN 978-1-2502-2858-1.



Little Brother takes place in the "near future rather than decades or centuries away." Little Brother also makes use of "obvious parallels to Orwellian warnings and post 9/11 policies."




Cindy Dobrez in her review for Booklist said that "Doctorow’s novel blurs the lines between current and potential technologies, and readers will delight in the details of how Marcus attempts to stage a techno-revolution. Obvious parallels to Orwellian warnings and post-9/11 policies, such as the Patriot Act, will provide opportunity for classroom discussion and raise questions about our enthusiasm for technology, who monitors our school library collections, and how we contribute to our own lack of privacy.Kirkus Reviews described it as an "unapologetically didactic tribute to 1984", and called it a "Terrifying glimpse of the future—or the present." Publishers Weekly said that it was "filled with sharp dialogue and detailed descriptions of how to counteract gait-recognition cameras, RFID's (radio frequency ID tags), wireless Internet tracers and other surveillance devices, this work makes its admittedly didactic point within a tautly crafted fictional framework." Institute of Public Affairs says that "Doctorow, like many freedom-fighting writers before him likes his women smart and strong. Male or female, freedom-loving writers tend to like writing strong female characters, often protagonists."

Attempted censorship


In 2014, a high school principal in Pensacola, Florida, Michael Roberts, pulled Little Brother from his school's summer reading list because the book is "about questioning authority" and portrays questioning authority "as a positive thing." Roberts also described Cory Doctorow, a Canadian author living in England, as "an outsider to the George W. Bush administration."


In response, his publisher sent 200 copies of the book directly to the school.




In early 2012, it was announced that the novel Little Brother written by Cory Doctorow will be made into a play directed by Josh Costello called Little Brother. The play was augmented with animated video projections, an original score by Chris Houston and original choreography by Daunielle Rasmussen.


Marin Independent said that Little Brother is "required watching!'


Charlie Jane Anders of io9 praised the Little Brother play: "I was lucky enough to catch a preview performance of the Custom Made Theatre Co.'s new stage adaptation of Cory Doctorow's award-winning novel Little Brother the other day—and it was a total marvel. Somehow, writer/director Josh Costello managed to condense the novel down to a two-hour play, without losing any of the impact. If anything, the staged version hits a bit harder than the book, because of the intense, but not overstated, performances."


According to TheatreStorm, "Costello has wisely tightened Doctorow’s book to three main characters. On a nearly empty stage, Costello utilizes video and sound effects superbly, creating multiple San Francisco locations, mass demonstrations, press conferences, online experiences and coaching his actors to create multiple characterizations as necessary. This is the best kind of political theatre. Thought provoking, suspenseful, emotionally real, uncomfortably close to the hard truth."



The novel has also been the subject of a possible movie. The production company AngryFilms has optioned Little Brother "with the aim of translating it to the big screen."


In September 2015, Doctorow announced on his blog that Little Brother had been optioned by Paramount with Don Murphy as the producer.



Eric Brown

Marcus and his friends bunk off school to take part in a treasure hunt in the Bay Bridge area of San Francisco. Caught up in what they think is an earthquake, in the ensuing panic they find themselves picked up by the Department for Homeland Security and accused of a terrorist attack on the bridge, which killed thousands. They're imprisoned, tortured and finally released. Marcus learns that his every move is being watched via the all-seeing eyes of the DHS, and uses his own knowledge of technology to rebel against the pervasive surveillance imposed on the city. The book is a passionate plea for every citizen to be computer-savvy in order to uphold personal liberties in an age of increased government security. It's also a cracking read



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