Monday, 17 May 2010

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: For the Win - Cory Doctorow


A provocative and exhilarating tale of teen rebellion against global corporations from the New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother -- a call to arms for a new generation. Not far in the future! In the twenty-first century, it's not just capital that's globalized: labour is too. Workers in special economic zones are trapped in lives of poverty with no trade unions to represent their rights. But a group of teenagers from across the world are set to fight this injustice using the most surprising of tools - their online video games. In Industrial South China Matthew and his friends labour day and night as gold-farmers, amassing virtual wealth that's sold on to rich Western players, while in the slums of Mumbai 'General Robotwallah' Mala marshalls her team of online thugs on behalf of the local gang-boss, who in turn works for the game-owners. They're all being exploited, as their friend Wei-Dong, all the way over in LA, knows, but can do little about. Until they begin to realize that their similarities outweigh their differences, and agree to work together to claim their rights to fair working conditions. Under the noses of the ruling elites in China and the rest of Asia, they fight their bosses, the owners of the games and rich speculators, outsmarting them all with their unbeatable gaming skills. But soon the battle will spill over from the virtual world to the real one, leaving Mala, Matthew and even Wei-Dong fighting not just for their rights, but for their lives!


Having discovered Cory for myself last year, I was pretty happy when the latest offering from Harper Collin’s landed. What unfurls is a disturbing look into a future that is only slightly ahead of our own forcing the reader to face the responsibility of where a number of our goods arrive from with the title asking which side of the fence are you one.

It’s beautifully written, its got solid characterisation but it’s the question’s that will not only make the reader look closer into their own spending habits that will really stay long after the final page is turned along with the satisfaction of the underdogs “sticking it to the man.” Great stuff in my opinion.

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