Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from popular films he downloads from the net. In the dystopian near-future Britain where Trent is growing up, this is more illegal than ever; the punishment for being caught three times is that your entire household’s access to the internet is cut off for a year, with no appeal.
Trent's too clever for that too happen. Except it does, and it nearly destroys his family. Shamed and shattered, Trent runs away to London, where he slowly he learns the ways of staying alive on the streets. This brings him in touch with a demimonde of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity, making felons of millions of British citizens at a stroke.
Things look bad. Parliament is in power of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers-that-be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a gripping movie to change people’s minds….
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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. Share this:TwitterPinterestStumbleUponGoogle
Daniel Kraus, Booklist