Tor.com has published an excerpt from my forthcoming YA novel Pirate Cinema, a book set in the UK in which a gang of squatter guerrilla filmmakers take on the entertainment industry and their pals in the government to save the world from corrupt, brutal anti-piracy laws.
Booklist gave it a starred review, saying ” …Doctorow’s series starter is his most cogent, energizing call-to-arms to date, an old-fashioned (but forward-thinking) counter-culture rabble rouser that will have dissidents of all ages dying to stick it to the Man… It’s generally accepted that fussing with computers is a narrative buzzkill, yet Doctorow’s unrivaled verisimilitude makes every click as exciting as a band of underdog warriors storming a castle. It’s not exactly Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book (1971), but with its delirious insights into everything from street art to urban exploring to dumpster diving to experimental cinema, it feels damn close.”
“I’m Lawrence Foxton, a Police Community Support Officer here on the estate. I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”
Police Community Support Officers: a fake copper. A volunteer policeman who gets to lord his tiny, ridiculous crumb of power over his neighbors, giving orders, enforcing curfews, dragging you off to the real cops for punishment if you refuse to obey him. I knew Larry Foxton because I’d escaped his clutches any number of times, scarpering from the deserted rec with my pals before he could catch up, puffing along under his anti-stab vest and laden belt filled with Taser, pepper spray, and plastic handcuff straps.
“I don’t think so, Mr. Foxton.” Mum had the hard tone in her voice she used when she thought me or Cora were winding her up, a no-nonsense voice that demanded that you get to the point.
“Well, I’m sorry to have to meet you under these circumstances. I’m afraid that I’m here to notify you that your Internet access is being terminated, effective”—he made a show of looking at the faceplate of his police-issue ruggedized mobile—“now. Your address has been used to breach copyright through several acts of illegal downloading. You have been notified of these acts on two separate occasions. The penalty for a third offense is a oneyear suspension of network access. You have the right to an appeal. If you choose to appeal, you must present yourself in person at the Bradford magistrates’ court in the next fourty-eight hours.” He hefted a little thermal printer clipped to his belt, tore off a strip of paper, and handed it to her. “Bring this.” His tone grew even more official and phony: “Do you understand and consent to this?” He turned his chest to face Mum, ostentatiously putting her right in the path of the CCTV in his hat brim and over his breast pocket.