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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pirate Cinema

I bought the Humble Bundle e-book bundle a couple of months ago, and was finally getting around to Cory Doctorow's Pirate Cinema. Doctorow's book was one of the reasons I was excited about the bundle. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was amazingly compelling, and it even inspired a real-life effort to develop a reputation-based currency called whuffie. Cory Doctorow is a visionary.

It pains me to say this, but I could not make it through Pirate Cinema. I'm a reader. Heck, I just finished Middlemarch, weighing in at over 300,000 words. Doctorow is a political activist who focusses on Internet-related policies like loosening copyright law, privacy, copyright, and so on. And he walks the walk: many of his works can be downloaded for free from his website.

Despite being sympathetic to many of his political positions, having them shoved into my face every page for the first four chapters was exhausting. His characters hardly spoke about anything but Doctorow's politics. They weren't really even having dialogue, they just lectured at each other. Once I finished the third chapter and dug partly into the fourth I started to skip around to see if there was just a rough rhetorical patch I needed to get through, but it looked like screed straight to the end. Such a bummer!

His older work is must-read speculative fiction. Skip this though.