The Creative Commons license for this book allows you to remix it to make new and exciting stuff — videos, audios, new stories, anything else you can think of (games? toys?), and redistribute them on a noncommercial basis.
If you’ve done a cool remix and want to see it featured here, email me and I’ll take a look. I can’t promise that I’ll link to every mix, but I’d love to check it out in any case!
Jeannie Harrell, a student at Emerson College, was assigned to create a book jacket and interior for a course on book design. Because my novel Little Brother is available under a Creative Commons license, she was able to grab the text and do a new interior, as well as designing and publishing her own (outstanding!) cover. I really like what she came up with. Even if CC didn't sell more books for me (which it seems to be doing!), I'd still use the licenses, because this kind of thing really, really makes me happy.
I took the HTML version, ran some type-cleaning things on it, and restyled it using, of all things, Apple's Pages 8. I thought about using Adobe InDesign, but as my intention was to produce this as a PDF, thought that ID would be over-kill.
I've styled it as I thought it appropriate to the subject matter and the fonts I have on my system.
I've used Rockwell for the the Chapter titles and heads as I think the sardonicness of the "All-American" feel covers the "on-message" hypocrisy of the overall government policy here, and Minion Pro for the body, because I think it's a very readable font, and the innate typography, especially with the punctuation characters, makes it disappear for the reader. For novelty, I've used Orator for the IM texts, and ITC AMerican Typewriter for the literary extracts.
David sez, "Yahoo Group's Hard SF group chose Little Brother as the book to read and discuss in December. I could not read the 'dead tree' edition, as I'm visually impaired. I took advantage of your Creative Commons license, and generated MP3 files from the .txt file. The synthetic voice is one of the better ones, however to limit the file sizes I created them at 64Kbs. At that rate the voice is on the flat side, but not 'computer sounding'. I posted the files to archive.org."
Jenyce sez, "I am a 14 yr. old (lucky me) and I'm in high school (land of book projects), and I decided to do a project on your book. Our project is to pretend that we are the main character, and make a scrapbook. We have to make it, as if we were the main character, and guess what the character would put in it. Heck, I don't think Marcus would be one to even think about making a scrapbook...but IF he did I'd would have to make it. One of the items I decided to put in mine, was the newspaper heading of the story that Barbara wrote (It's displayed as if it was ripped out of the paper)...I had to make it, so I did it on the computer (photoshop is a wonderful thing)"
I think this totally rocks. Jenyce has a future in photoshopping!
PMOG -- the Passively Multiplayer Online Game -- has two missions for Little Brother. PMOG is a game you play by scavenger-hunting the web, while your browser keeps track of where you go and what you do. It lets you lay traps for other players and score points by luring them in. One of the missions (How I Read Little Brother) was created by my friend Justin Hall, who co-founded PMOG, and the other (Why read Little Brother?) was created by a fan, Treekyte. Both seem like a lot of fun!
No writer creates from scratch -- we all engage in what Isaac Newton called
"standing on the shoulders of giants." We borrow, plunder and remix the art and culture created by those around us and by our literary forebears.
If you liked this book and want to learn more, there are plenty of sources to turn to, online and at your local library or bookstore.
Hacking is a great subject. All science relies on telling other people what you've done so that they can verify it, learn from it, and improve on it, and hacking is all about that process, so there's plenty published on the subject.
Start with Andrew "Bunnie" Huang's
"Hacking the Xbox," (No Starch Press, 2003) a wonderful book that tells the story of how Bunnie, then a student at MIT, reverse-engineered the Xbox's anti-tampering mechanisms and opened the way for all the subsequent cool hacks for the platform. In telling the story, Bunnie has also created a kind of Bible for reverse engineering and hardware hacking.
"Secrets and Lies" (Wiley, 2000) and
"Beyond Fear" (Copernicus, 2003) are the definitive lay-person's texts on understanding security and thinking critically about it, while his
"Applied Cryptography" (Wiley, 1995) remains the authoritative source for understanding crypto. Bruce maintains an excellent
blog and mailing list at schneier.com/blog. Crypto and security are the realm of the talented amateur, and the
"cypherpunk" movement is full of kids, home-makers, parents, lawyers, and every other stripe of person, hammering away on security protocols and ciphers.
There are several great magazines devoted to this subject, but the two best ones are
2600: The Hacker Quarterly, which is full of pseudonymous, boasting accounts of hacks accomplished, and O'Reilly's
MAKE magazine, which features solid HOWTOs for making your own hardware projects at home.
The online world overflows with material on this subject, of course. Ed Felten and Alex J Halderman's
Freedom to Tinker (www.freedom-to-tinker.com) is a blog maintained by two fantastic Princeton engineering profs who write lucidly about security, wiretapping, anti-copying technology and crypto.
Don't miss Natalie Jeremijenko's
"Feral Robotics" at UC San Diego (xdesign.ucsd.edu/feralrobots/). Natalie and her students rewire toy robot dogs from Toys R Us and turn them into bad-ass toxic-waste detectors. They unleash them on public parks where big corporations have dumped their waste and demonstrate in media-friendly fashion how toxic the ground is.
Like many of the hacks in this book, the tunneling-over-DNS stuff is real. Dan Kaminsky, a tunneling expert of the first water, published details in 2004 (
The guru of "citizen journalism" is Dan Gillmor, who is presently running Center for Citizen Media at Harvard and UC Berkeley -- he also wrote a hell of a book on the subject,
"We, the Media" (O'Reilly, 2004).
If you want to learn more about hacking arphids, start with Annalee Newitz's Wired Magazine article
"The RFID Hacking Underground" (www.wirednews.com/wired/archive/14.05/rfid.html). Adam Greenfield's
"Everyware" (New Riders Press, 2006) is a chilling look at the dangers of a world of arphids.
Fab Lab at MIT (fab.cba.mit.edu) is hacking out the world's first real, cheap "3D printers" that can pump out any object you can dream of. This is documented in Gershenfeld's excellent book on the subject,
"Fab" (Basic Books, 2005).
"Shaping Things" (MIT Press, 2005) shows how arphids and fabs could be used to force companies to build products that don't poison the world.
Speaking of Bruce Sterling, he wrote the first great book on hackers and the law,
"The Hacker Crackdown" (Bantam, 1993), which is also the first book published by a major publisher that was released on the Internet at the same time (copies abound; see
stuff.mit.edu/hacker/hacker.html for one). It was reading this book that turned me on to the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, where I was privileged to work for four years.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org) is a charitable membership organization with a student rate. They spend the money that private individuals give them to keep the Internet safe for personal liberty, free speech, due process, and the rest of the Bill of Rights. They're the Internet's most effective freedom fighters, and you can join the struggle just by signing up for
their mailing list and writing to your elected officials when they're considering selling you out in the name of fighting terrorism, piracy, the mafia, or whatever bogeyman has caught their attention today. EFF also helps maintain
TOR, The Onion Router, which is a real technology you can use right now to get out of your government, school or library's censoring firewall (
And of course, you have to visit
Wikipedia, the collaborative, net-authored encyclopedia that anyone can edit, with more than 1,000,000 entries in English alone. Wikipedia covers hacking and counterculture in astonishing depth and with amazing, up-to-the-nanosecond currency. One caution: you can't just look at the entries in Wikipedia. It's really important to look at the "History" and "Discussion" links at the top of every Wikipedia page to see how the current version of the truth was arrived at, get an appreciation for the competing points-of-view there, and decide for yourself whom you trust.
If you want to get at some real forbidden knowledge, have a skim around
Cryptome (cryptome.org), the world's most amazing archive of secret, suppressed and liberated information. Cryptome's brave publishers collect material that's been pried out of the state by Freedom of Information Act requests or leaked by whistle-blowers and publishes it.
The best fictional account of the history of crypto is, hands-down, Neal Stephenson's
Cryptonomicon (Avon, 2002). Stephenson tells the story of
Alan Turing and the Nazi Enigma Machine, turning it into a gripping war-novel that you won't be able to put down.
Pirate Party mentioned in Little Brother is real and thriving in Sweden (
www.piratpartiet.se), Denmark, the USA and France at the time of this writing (July, 2006). They're a little out-there, but a movement takes all kinds.
Speaking of out-there,
Abbie Hoffman and the
Yippies did indeed try to levitate the Pentagon, throw money into the stock exchange, and work with a group called the
Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers. Abbie Hoffman's classic book on ripping off the system, "Steal This Book," is back in print (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002) and it's also online as a collaborative wiki for people who want to try to update it (
Hoffman's autobiography, "Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture" (also in print from Four Walls Eight Windows) is one of my favorite memoirs ever, even if it is highly fictionalized. Hoffman was an incredible storyteller and had great activist instincts. If you want to know how he really lived his life, though, try Larry Sloman's "Steal This Dream" (Doubleday, 1998).
More counterculture fun: Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" can be had in practically any used bookstore for a buck or two. Allan Ginsberg's
"HOWL" is online in many places, and you can hear him read it if you search for the MP3 at archive.org. For bonus points, track down the album "Tenderness Junction" by the Fugs, which includes the audio of Allan Ginsberg and Abbie Hoffman's levitation ceremony at the Pentagon.
This book couldn't have been written if not for George Orwell's magnificent, world-changing "1984," the best novel ever published on how societies go wrong. I read this book when I was 12 and have read it 30 or 40 times since, and every time, I get something new out of it. Orwell was a master of storytelling and was clearly sick over the totalitarian state that emerged in the Soviet Union. 1984 holds up today as a genuinely frightening work of science fiction, and it is one of the novels that literally changed the world. Today, "Orwellian" is synonymous with a state of ubiquitous surveillance, doublethink, and torture.
Many novelists have tackled parts of the story in Little Brother. Daniel Pinkwater's towering comic masterpiece,
"Alan Mendelsohn: The Boy From Mars" (presently in print as part of the omnibus "5 Novels," Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997) is a book that every geek needs to read. If you've ever felt like an outcast for being too smart or weird, READ THIS BOOK. It changed my life.
On a more contemporary front, there's Scott Westerfeld's
"So Yesterday" (Razorbill, 2004), which follows the adventures of cool hunters and counterculture jammers. Scott and his wife Justine Larbalestier were my partial inspiration to write a book for young adults -- as was Kathe Koja. Thanks, guys.
“I can talk about Little Brother in terms of its bravura political speculation or its brilliant uses of technology — each of which make this book a must-read — but, at the end of it all, I’m haunted by the universality of Marcus’s rite-of-passage and struggle, an experience any teen today is going to grasp: the moment when you choose what your life will mean and how to achieve it.