Book Review: Radicalized - Cory Doctorow

Book cover for Radicalized.This is a difficult and disturbing book. It is a great read for any hacker - it's all about the way technology abuses people and how it radicalises people into fighting back.

The dialogue is Socratic and the stories are a set of parables. The first asks us to consider what are the limits of protecting people? When we try to restrict technology "for your own good" it often has a degrading and dehumanising effect on people.

The second story is a re-hash of a recent episode of Super Girl. Is a Kryptonian superhero an immigrant? Are they white only by courtesy? Do they want to save the world - or do they want to make themselves feel better?

The third is deeply disturbing. It is a compelling dive into the community aspect of radicalisation. But it's difficult to write a story about "domestic terrorism" without straying dangerously close to endorsing those radical and violent behaviours.

The final story is a beautifully told tale of how community, not individualism, protects people. It is, perhaps, a little gleeful in its spite - but the protagonists truly deserve their fate.

If you're familiar with Doctorow's œuvre, there's nothing particularly new; technological abuse of freedom should be resisted. But it is great fun all the way through.

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