Cory Doctorow has a pretty interesting set of ideas in his latest book, Makers.
I found the writing/arc absolutely dreadful. I found the ideas fascinating.
Usually I power through a book like this in 2-3 days. This took me a week because by page 250 I was tired of the act of reading. I did power through because I wanted to see the full shape of Doctorow’s ideas about the near, and very clunky, future. Also, I’m biased for any story that’s about people hacking, making, constructing or goofing off in a garage.
The cool stuff Doctorow put together here is the idea that the future will be so incredibly “makeable” that everyone with an idea will just make and remake stuff. And that will create a larger and larger riff between corporations with fancy trademarks and people, often fans of those corporate thangs, ripping the corporations off. In the end those corporations will just have to keep giving in time and time again to the fans and hackers and just buy up their knock offs and mash ups. Now don’t go thinking this is just digital media. Doctorow literally means everything will be printable with in the home 3d printers. (Which isn’t very far from what’s possible considering that you can gank a 3d printer for less than $1000.)
The part I was hoping he would go into deeper was about the idea of printing self replicating machines… and exploring the ideas that the machines themselves would just keep that remashing and remaking without humans.
The downside of this whole experience was the dreadfully lame backstory involving Disney and cheesy corporate characters. I also thought the main characters were a little shallow. Almost caricatures of people who like to make shit. The cheesy story i was amused by was the idea that in the future we figure out how to mess with metabolism enough that lots of overweight people opt for a treatment to keep them skinny for life… except they have to eat 10k calories a day to keep up with the metabolism. It’s not that far of a stretch to imagine this treatment and people willing to do it. Also, IHOP makes an appearance in this book… exciting me a great deal.
In short – read the book for cool ideas. don’t expect a page turner. power through it and let’s talk.