Forget Doctorow’s outspoken politics, this guy can tell a story. The pacing keeps things moving, and for a book about unions (and virtual unions at that!), it zips by page after page. What really makes the book work is that so much of the action is externalized in the real world. They don’t just battle with keyboards, but with their fists. The stakes are high, and there is so much more to win and lose — it’s not just video game lives they are fighting for, but their very own existence! And since they are fighting against such brutal conditions, organizing and striking can cost them not just their livelihoods, but their lives. There are the occasional sidetracks Doctorow takes to explain things like gold farming, virtual economics and even inflation and deflation. While interesting, these were not my favorite parts of the book. I kept wanting to get back to the story and the characters.