October 8, 2008

Don't Trust Anyone Over 25

Imagine a high school where the RFID tags in your books could track your every move, cameras with gait-recognition software prevent you from skipping class, and the "free" standard-issue laptop spies on your every keystroke and reports every website you visit to the administrators.

For seventeen-year-old Marcus, the surveillance system at Cesar Chavez High School, is nothing more than a slight nuisance. He has figured out how to use his clever mind and hacker talents to get around the system. Gait-recognition software is foiled with a handful of gravel in your shoes. RFID tags are a simple matter of zapping your book for a few seconds in the teacher's lounge microwave. Marcus (known to his fans as "w1n5t0n") has even written and published a simple hack for maintaining your privacy on those snitchy school computers. Life is good for Marcus. He is clever, witty, and he is about to win a trip with his three best friends to Japan - the grand prize for an Alternate Reality Game called Harajuku Fun Madness.

Then, everything changes. Terrorists brutally attack San Francisco. Marcus and his friends are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are picked up by the Department of Homeland Security, taken to a nameless -prison where they are questioned and tortured for days, and finally released back into a city paralyzed by fear and suspicion.

Can one teenage hacker lead a youth revolution against an out-of-control government?

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow, is a fast-moving thriller with X-boxes, VampMobbers, punk rock, civil disobedience, and true friendship. Check it out!