Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: The Makers- Cory Doctorow

I have mixed feelings about this book, but overall they are negative and disappointed.  I feel like, as I review books here, I am often critical or negative, but I think that it is good to approach works critically.  I also think that this is the nature of challenging myself to read books that I normally wouldn't.  Now I admit I stumbled across this book first because of Make Magazine and since have heard Cory Doctorow interviewed on NPR and more recently by Deborah Blum while reviewing summer book reads on NPR's Science Friday where she mentioned she loved his books.  With this kind of high praise the book made its way up my list of adult fiction reads, but I still went in with pretty low expectations and had trouble getting into the book right away.

     However, I had a tree down in my yard and lots of lumber to bundle and cut so I had a lot of time to invest in listening at first, and I wasn't too far into Part 1 of 3 and I was loving the book.  It followed a journalist who was following two young hackers of devices and technology.  Part of what I'd call the maker movement, and Cory Doctorow really did predict that this would take off and that 3D printing would become big.  But in the book it was a bubble, like the housing bubble of the mid 2000s or the tech and internet bubbles before that.  And maybe this is the true nature of bubbles, [SPOILER ALERT] but in the book the bubble burst really abruptly without any warning.  Then jump to Part 2 some unknown, but about 20-30 years, time in the future, where America has pretty much turned into a 2nd class nation.  The future is very different, but the reader is kind of just thrown into the world without any explanation as to how it got that way. It is also very dystopian and I've talked frequently about my dislike of dystopians here.  The same makers from Part 1, end up inventing a really abstract theme park ride mixed with antiques show that takes off and with the help of the internet and word-of-mouth, inspires a lot of spin-off rides.  There's a pointless sex-scene about the halfway point in the book while one of them is inspecting the spin-off rides.  Also, early on the rides were kind of described and also said to be amazing because they were always changing, but then they begin to tell a story and the ride stops evolving- this seems like a real shortsightedness of the world being described as it comes to a halt [the ride's evolution] to so that the novel's story-line can continue.  This then results in some legal trouble and litigation from Disney Corp., which is some kind of futuristic hot spot of depravity, whose items began to show up in the collections amongst the rides.  From there the book drags on to an eventual settlement and a Part 3 that was only a short jump into a not to different future.  Parts 2 & 3 are hard for me to distinguish in my memory, but I remember the book dragging on and not being good after Part 1.  An epilogue also followed and again did not really help the book.  Also because I disliked the book as it continued I put off listening to it very often which made it take longer, which makes me wonder if it really is a great idea to force myself to change genres so often, especially when I have so much in other areas that I want to listen to.

PS- To those who follow me and read regularly, my apologies for the flood of posts tonight.  I wanted to get the two reviews of books I listened to before school started typed up and while doing that I noticed that this review was still in draft mode because I hadn't finished it.
I'm all caught up for books I listened too and am already back on adult fiction, which again I'm struggling to get into.  I have read or mostly read 3 print books though, whose reviews I will post another time.

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