Tor.com has just published an excerpt from Homeland, the sequel to my novel Little Brother. Homeland's coming out in February:
Attending Burning Man made me simultaneously one of the most photographed people on the planet and one of the least surveilled humans in the modern world.
I adjusted my burnoose, covering up my nose and mouth and tucking its edge into place under the lower rim of my big, scratched goggles. The sun was high, the temperature well over a hundred degrees, and breathing through the embroidered cotton scarf made it even more stifling. But the wind had just kicked up, and there was a lot of playa dust—fine gypsum sand, deceptively soft and powdery, but alkali enough to make your eyes burn and your skin crack—and after two days in the desert, I had learned that it was better to be hot than to choke.
Pretty much everyone was holding a camera of some kind—mostly phones, of course, but also big SLRs and even old-fashioned film cameras, including a genuine antique plate camera whose operator hid out from the dust under a huge black cloth that made me hot just to look at it. Everything was ruggedized for the fine, blowing dust, mostly through the simple expedient of sticking it in a ziplock bag, which is what I’d done with my phone. I turned around slowly to get a panorama and saw that the man walking past me was holding the string for a gigantic helium balloon a hundred yards overhead, from which dangled a digital video camera. Also, the man holding the balloon was naked.
Click for the huge, full version
I recently turned in the manuscript for Homeland, the sequel to my 2008 YA novel Little Brother. Tor's going to be bringing it out next February, 2013. I've got two more books coming in the meantime: Rapture of the Nerds (with Charlie Stross) and Pirate Cinema (a YA novel). (All three will be CC licensed)
I am absolutely delighted with this cover -- a matched set with the cover for Little Brother!
The IEEE's Computer and Reliability Societies recently published "Embracing the Kobayashi Maru," by James Caroland (US Navy/US Cybercommand) and Greg Conti (West Point) describing an exercise in which they assigned students to cheat on an exam -- either jointly or individually. The goal was to get students thinking about how to secure systems from adversaries who are willing to "cheat" to win. The article describes how the students all completed the exam (they all cheated successfully), which required them to provide the first 100 digits of pi, with only 24h to prepare. The students used many ingenious techniques as cribs, but my heart was warmed to learn that once student printed a false back-cover for my novel Little Brother with pi 1-100 on it (Little Brother is one of the course readings, so many copies of it were already lying around the classroom).
James and Greg have supplied a link to a pre-pub of the paper (the original is paywalled), and sent along a video of a presentation they gave at Shmoocon where they presented the work. The students' solutions are incredibly ingenious -- the audience is practically howling with laughter by the end of the presentation.
Tracey Hughes assigned Little Brother to her grade 10 students in Peterborough, Ontario (Canada), and developed some course materials that she's generously agreed to share with other teachers to remix, adapt, and reuse. She writes:
The intent of sharing my teacher resources for Little Brother stems from my pleasure and success teaching the text with grade 10 English students. Having had such meaningful and engaged discussions with my class has lead to valuable learning experiences for them and lead to valuable teaching experiences for me. Doctorow’s novel has reminded me of the power of youth, the strength of a single voice, and the dangers of power, both universal and personal. It is my hope that these resources will serve as a stepping-off point for you as an educator – obviously posting the “tests” means you’ll need to alter some of the content. Take this work and make it yours! Mash it up, pass it on, share it around, and hey, send me your work. The open network of material sharing that happens on the net (and in the novel) is a reminder to all educators that we so often teach in a bubble where resources and ideas are locked in our classrooms.
1. Tests (1st and 2nd half of LB):
I have designed these tests to cover general content (short answer), thinking components (short paragraphs to demonstrate understanding of character and plot), and application (paragraph-answer questions focusing on themes and concepts found in the novel with extensions to the world of the student). These could be done as group assignments, individual writing tasks, in-class oral work (open book or not) and discussion activities instead of as standard tests.
2. Chapter Questions:
The questions are intended to allow students to engage with the material in the novel. They explore more than just content and ask students to make assumptions, to extrapolate, to make connections to their own world, to do a little research for cultural context references, and to question the author's intent in specific artistic choices in his writing. They will allow for deep discussion and do not focus solely on general comprehension.
3. Essay Assignment:
I have designed the essay assignment to cover two levels of classes (Applied and Academic) with a focus on understanding themes of power, morality, freedom, truth, and security. Students are asked to move through a number of pre-planning steps and to identify significant quotations from the novel to support their argument. The assignment culminates in a full essay, but can easily be adapted to any form of short writing, arts-extension, group presentation, or individual study activity.
The Seattle Public Library system's annual Summer Reading Program is called Century 22: Read the Future, and is tied in with the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World's Fair. Young people are encouraged to scour the city's landmarks for 1,000 books hidden throughout town, and then to re-hide them for other kids to find. Among the books in this summer's program is my own YA novel Little Brother, which is a source of utter delight for me.
I'm incredibly chuffed to learn that the Japanese edition of Little Brother is up for this year's Seiun award, along with Bacigalupi's Windup Girl, Mieville's The City & the City, Wilson's Chronoliths, Delany's Dhalgren and Ballad's Millennium People.
The San Francisco Chronicle loves the stage adaptation of my novel Little Brother, and brings the welcome news that its run has been extended by two weeks!
There's a new stage adaptation of my novel Little Brother opening in San Francisco. Charlie Jane Anders from IO9 got to go to the preview and loved it, which is incredibly heartening, since I won't get to see it!
So I'll just say that the version I saw was powerful and brilliant, and the cast was note-perfect, especially Daniel Petzold as Marcus Yallow. (The other two castmembers, Marissa Keltie and Cory Censoprano, have a harder task in some ways, since they play a variety of roles throughout the show. And they're both great as well.) The stage play uses a lot of pre-recorded video and some very clever sets to create a lot of different settings, as well as giving a primer in topics like the futility of using data-mining to catch terrorists.
Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother becomes a must-see stage play
I'm coming to Zurich next week to do a series of high-school lectures in connection with the German edition of Little Brother, and while I'm in town, I've scheduled a free lecture, organised by local free culture and Creative Commons activists. It's at 8PM on December 6, at the Kunstraum Walcheturm. Hope to see you there!
Fantasy literature doyenne Terri Windling is in the midst of a serious financial and health crisis and her friends are pitching in to run a fundraising auction for her benefit. My contribution: naming rights for a character in the sequel to Little Brother, to be published by Tor Teen in late 2012/early 2013.