@Gwynn told me to read this, and I am happy that I listened to her.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is seventeen years old. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
I found the author discussing ideas which I have had a lot of times. The limits of freedom, the morality of surveillance and the extent to which we can take it. Does tyranny have to be as apparent as it was for Marcus' San Francisco for us to wake up and take action? Or would we be boxed in even then by ourselves and others, shutting each other out as we face a discourse that is increasingly revoking our freedoms in the name of an elusive security.
The problem I usually have with such books is that they completely romanticise the characters involved. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate a bit of exaggeration as much as the other guy, but there is a point when its just too idealistic (I'm looking at you, James Patterson). Doctorow is a writer who gives the impression of being a man who knows his shit. He gives sufficient weight to every solution, and the one which finally works is not the stupid !![we hate adults] but a more tempered and pragmatic one.
I could have lived without the romance angle, but because it balances the book I don't mind it. Also, since I am a total noob at computers, I have a lot to read up on in order to fully appreciate the book, which is never a bad thing.
Do I put the book down for a great read? No. But Little Brother is special, in its own way, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
I finished The Silence of the Lambs last Saturday, and then moved over to this. I like it up till this point, and I can see that I will like this. Good setting, and the story and characters are fairly interesting as well, even though Will Graham is nothing compared to Clarice Starling. Lecter is as engaging as he has ever been, and even tough I saw a big flaw early on, I will deem it forgivable because this book is good enough to afford it.