Makers is a near future science fiction novel of economic, social and technological change, written by the very talented author Cory Doctorow.
Perry and Lester are inventors, but more than that they make things from Junk, the most environmentally friendly inventors possible. Some of their inventions are quite clearly crazy, from the Seashell robots that make toast to the Boogie Woogie Elmo dolls that drive cars (The Elmo dolls are real by the way).
Suzanne Church is a technology journalist, always on the lookout for the next big thing. She stumbles across Perry and Lester after they are employed by the business Entreprenour Landon Kettlewell, who suggests Suzanne write a story about the energetic inventors.
They are joined by business manager Tjan, who's job is to encourage the inventions that will gain instant attention, and monetize the business as efficiently as possible. After the first two inventions are a runaway success, thanks in part to the free publicity on Suzannes blog. After the local homeless community is burned down, Perry and Lester take them in and help them rebuild on their property.
The side effect of their business model is the invention of a whole new economic system. Soon bankers are scouring the country, microinvesting in high-tech communal start-ups like Perry and Lester's, transforming the whole business society. As with previous technology booms, the "New Work" system eventually busts, making the dot.com bust look insignificant.
Out of money, Perry and Lester go back to what they do best, inventing things and before long they are back in business.
As with Cory Doctorow's previous novel Little Brother, Makers is a masterpiece of Urban science fiction. Cory manages to engage the reader with lovable, interesting characters, fantastic ideas and a very original plot. This is re-inforced with his little touches like the Boogie Woogie Elmo doll, just weeks before reading this book I was watching, mesmerised by the dancing elmo in a local Argos store.
As with Little Brother, Makers also carry s some very important messages for the near future, previously this was in the form of "big Brother" and Terrorism in the 21st century, here it's about the escalating greed for technology gadgets, the current economic depression and how major corporations don't always act as most people expect.
Makers is a rewarding, clever and humorous novel that fall's into the category of the "Pringles" novel, once you start you just can't stop (reading) until the very end, highly recommended.
Written on Monday 1st February 2010 by Antony.
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