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Attack Surface par Cory Doctorow

Attack Surface (édition 2020)

par Cory Doctorow (Auteur)

Séries: Little Brother (3)

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Titre:Attack Surface
Auteurs:Cory Doctorow (Auteur)
Info:Tor Books (2020), 384 pages
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Attack Surface par Cory Doctorow


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Another good Cory Doctorow book, if you had read Little Brother than this book will be very familiar.

You read about almost 2 different stories that involve the main character through the book, and during the chapters the author switches between these stories. You can clearly telling when he is switching. But it is kind of annoying and confusing to do this as then yo have to remember 2 different stories at the same time. I wish the author almost told one story then the other so you won't have to try and keep so much in your head while reading.

As always I look forward to the author's next book. ( )
  Authentico | Feb 3, 2021 |
"This book is about how people rationalize their way into doing things that they are ashamed of, and how they can be brought back from the brink." - Cory Doctorow, Author's Note.

As always Cory Doctorow writes to inspire and inflame people about technology, about the wonderful ways it can be used, about the horrible ways it can be used. It is in the same slightly alternate world as Little Brother and Homeland. That doesn't mean you need to read them as a series in strict order. Little Brother is more of a YA novel, simpler in style and the protagonists are teenagers. Attack surface takes place several years later, with more adult characters, more complex writing. It follows Masha, a young woman recruited to work for the surveillance state ,and then for a series of private companies selling surveillance to Nations, States and Cities. It alternates between her past and her present until very nearly the end, when you've caught up on how she got to where she was at the beginning.

In some of the current sequences there are protests against police brutality and targeting of black and brown people that as so exactly on-point for 2020 that I thought "he must have edited and tweaked some of the story for the Oakland Black-Brown Alliance protests to match up so well. But the reality is that this has building for such a long time, so un-subtly that its more likely that he was just extrapolating the obvious and all that shit just happened to happen while the book was at the printer.

Its a good, intense read. Its a little preachy (which if you don't expect it from his novels, I don't know which ones you've been reading). I think it is more mature, more considered in its message about the good and bad of technology than some of his other books have been. How so? I think he summarizes it best in his afterword:

"Technology *can* be a force multiplier, for the powerful and the powerless alike. But the use of technology by the powerless is more salient than when it is used by the powerful, because giving power to the powerless is a change in *kind*, while increasing the power of the already powerful is merely a change in *degree*. But that temporary power boost will be denatured by the powerful ... so the advantage is not enough to make lasting structural changes."
Not by itself. People need to use that temporary advantage to engage in politics, in social engineering, to make those structural changes.

Read Attack Surface. You'll be entertained, and probably a little challenged. In 2020 a lot of it hits very very close to home. And that's OK. A little nudge out of our compartments and comfort zones is not a bad thing. ( )
1 voter grizzly.anderson | Dec 20, 2020 |
Doctorow, Cory. Attack Surface. Little Brother No. 3. Tor, 2020.
Cory Doctorow must be the love child of William Gibson and Kim Stanley Robinson. Attack Surface, a loose sequel to Little Brother and Homeland, has the a near-future tech glitter that makes our everyday world seem as surreally Kafkaesque as Gibson’s Sprawl. It also has obsessive attention to detail and earnest tone of prophetic warning that we see in Robinson’s ecological science fiction. Doctorow is worried that when we put most of our lives in the cloud, we risk creating a tyrannical corporate surveillance state. Our protagonist, Masha Maximow, whom we met in the earlier books, is a hacker/analyst who has spent her life working for morally dubious government and corporate organizations, but she has also occasionally helped some well-meaning protesters. Her life has been one round of rationalizing cognitive dissonance after another. She has dealt with the potential for crippling guilt by compartmentalizing (her term) the things she doesn’t want to think about. Her morally challenged, self-aware character elevates Attack Surface above Doctorow’s already impressive body of work. Highly recommended. ( )
  Tom-e | Nov 22, 2020 |
I think I've read every book doctorow has written, follow his blogs and generally admire him. It's crazy to read the progression of books, from something like makers to this. Maybe this book struck too close to home (by design) for me to really enjoy it, I prefer walkaway, for all it's depressing use of technology, to this. It's much more like "unauthorized bread", and pluralistic but more so. Doctorow summarized this progression at the end, and I'll keep thinking about it, I understand where he's coming from. But the first 3/4 were just depressing in a depressing time

The end shows his understanding of the complexity there and it was like some stories in unauthorized bread where it's heavy and sad, there are no good choices ( )
  Lorem | Oct 24, 2020 |
Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow is a highly recommended tech thriller set in an alternate universe.

Masha Maximow is a counterterrorism programmer for an international cybersecurity firm. She programmed the hacks that allowed countries to spy on their citizens. She thought she was on the correct side but... She also sometimes for her own reasons uses her skill set to help the dissidents evade detection and tracking. When the targets of government tracking are citizens in a foreign country, Masha could easily compartmentalize how she was assisting the violent actions against citizens, but when the same technology is used against her friends, Masha is suddenly faced with a dilemma and must choose a side when no choice is without consequences.

The narrative follows Masha alternates between her present day relationship to a radical group in San Francisco and her past working for Xoth and Zyz. We can follow what she did in her job and how that translates into the real world and impinges on real life citizens of other countries and in her home. Masha's job helping spy on people and keeping track of their every move and their every contact and interaction with other extracts a steep toll.

Attack Surface is the third book in a series, following Little Brother and Homeland, but it can be read as a standalone novel set in the alternate universe created in these novels because Doctorow introduces new characters in this novel. The characters grapple with the integrity of using technology and surveillance to spy on and detain citizens based on their actions and beliefs. Those who followed the Edward Snowden controversy will appreciate the questions raised in this novel, a science fiction novel that is surely fact based. This is a technology heavy thriller, very technology heavy. I followed along only because I often have discussions involving many of the issues here with a programmer. (But I will admit to occasionally skimming some tech-heavy parts while following the action.) The heavy cybertech terminology and the tech-heavy vocabulary may lose some readers along the way as they lose track of the plot due to the vocabulary.

If you can overcome or understand the tech-vocabulary, the story is very captivating and extremely frightening. What will keep the pages turning in this compelling novel is the fact that this is fiction, but could easily become fact. It is a warning, of a sort, and Doctorow makes clear in his afterward what he thinks we should be concerned about and why. (I'm not overly crazy about authors preaching to me about what they think "I" should think, but I do like to keep informed and research information about everything. If an author points out information, I will take on researching it on my own, thank you.)

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Tor/Forge . ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Oct 14, 2020 |
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To the whistleblowers, who listened to the voice of their conscience and spoke the truth: Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Chelsea Manning, Bill Binney, Edward Snowden, Alexander Nikitin, and the Panama Papers' John Doe, and all the others. Society owes you a debt of gratitude. You risked your freedom, your fortunes, and even your lives to bring us the truth.
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That was why I loved technology: if you use it right, it gives you power—and takes away other people's privacy.
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