Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

For the Win, by Cory Doctorow

Review copy provided by Tor.

I can't swear that people who liked Little Brother will like For the Win, but it's the way I'd bet. They share the same exuberance, the same grounding in their subjects, the same readable voice. They also share a strong didactic component, which for me was not a problem in either work, but I know for some people it was in Little Brother.

Little Brother, however, did not get me singing old Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger songs for the better part of a week. This is a modern labor organizing book, and one that falls pretty explicitly in the pro-union camp. But while the book itself is unabashedly pro-union, the characters are allowed to vary, to make mistakes, to falter, and to disagree with each other--being specifically in favor of a broad concept like a labor union does not make it a book with one single agenda which characters either support or oppose. Which is kind of a pompous way of saying that the people here are people, and the ending is not as unambiguous as the title might imply. Or perhaps it is: a win is a win, not always a total victory over all things forevar and evar, and it's good to remember that.

I will be really fascinated to hear what my friends who are gamers think of this one, because I am not a gamer myself, and I'm not at all sure which things about For the Win's game economics are controversial and which are completely incontrovertible to those in the know. From the outside, the gamer personalities look spot on, which is what I'd expect. Remember what I said about The Apocalypse Door and Catholicism? For the Win is like that with online gaming. There's a fluidity to it that feels very much as though the world-building was very ingrained for Doctorow, and I like that.

And I like Yasmin and Mala in particular, their friendship in particular. I am a sucker for friends in books who are actually friends, who argue and have things they don't talk about and things they don't have to talk about and genuinely seem to care about each other in the complicated and crazy way we really do care about each other.

I am officially getting middle-aged, though: when we got to the container ship parts of the plot, I thought of my godson, and I thought, "Oh, no you don't, Mister!"
Tags: bookses precious

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