๐Ÿ“š Radicalized (Cory Doctorow)

Read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radicalized_(Doctorow_book)

John Scalzi, writing for the Los Angeles Times, described Radicalized as “a collection of four novellas that take on political and social themes relevant today โ€” medical care, immigration, white male rage and technological monopolies, among others โ€” [wrapped] in a layer of fiction, thin enough that most of these stories could be happening, if not today then tomorrow at the latest”.[3] Annette Lapointe of the New York Journal of Books critiqued that “The stories themselves are simple, and the characters thinly fleshed: no relief there. When we tear ourselves free, we find that weโ€™ve found nothing substantial. Doctorow would have been better served to render his ideas as essays, so that he could give them the complexity they deserve, and release his barely realized characters from their political pantomime.”[1]

Radicalised contains four novellas, exploring various current-day topics:

  • “Unauthorized Bread” โ€“ A refugee, Salima, confronts the software controlling her kitchen appliances after the companies who created those appliances suddenly cease operations.
  • “Model Minority” โ€“ “American Eagle”, a superhero resembling Superman, attempts to take on racial violence in the American policing system.[2]
  • “Radicalized” โ€“ A man becomes embroiled in a dark web network targeting insurance companies after his wife’s cancer coverage was declined by their health insurer.
  • “Masque of the Red Death” โ€“ A wealthy financier builds and manages a doomsday vault, designed to withstand societal collapse.

I listened to Masque of the Red Death last year when Doctorow released it on his podcast, but I had not read/listened the rest of the stories.

What I like about the Doctorow’s writing is his ability to not only address various issues such as refugees, digital rights and police brutality, but also the way in which he teaches as he writes. Whether it be unpacking the internet of things in Unauthorised Bread and predictive policing in Model Minority.

56 responses on “๐Ÿ“š Radicalized (Cory Doctorow)”

    1. Totally agree Courtney. I feel it is a fine line between over-explaining and detracting from the story, and not providing enough detail, therefore taking away from the plausibility of the scenario. I can only imagine the editing process involved in getting the balance right.

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