With a Little Help
Anyone who grooved to the counterculture vibe of Doctorow's young-adult novels Little Brother (2008) and For the Win (2010) will embrace these stories heartily-no one can dole out technological cautionary tales while simultaneously celebrating technology as cunningly as Doctorow. This volume's single never-before-published story, "Epoch," is the standout, an ethically thorny but heartfelt update on the classic sf conceit of an AI that becomes too self-aware. Never one to avoid the jugular, Doctorow doesn't bother to assign Google an alias in "Scroogled"; the depiction of a world where we're all "Googlestalked" until we're "guilty of something" feels chillingly immediate. It's not always easy to warm up to Doctorow's purposeful characters, but it's easy to be swept up in their just-barely-futuristic travails of surveillance gone wrong and privacy shattered. Reading this on your iPhone? Then these stories are probably for you. -- Booklist
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