“Little Brother”: I’m Not Taking It on the Plane!

Cover of Cory Doctorow’s novel, “Little Brother”

I’ve been enjoying my friend Cory’s latest book, Little Brother, reading it in bursts between work and all sorts of other things I’m doing. I certainly wish there were socio-politico-techno thrillers like this when I was a young teenager! I’m sure my friend Stacy, who gave it a good review on her blog, Booktopia, thinks the same way. If you’re looking for a good read, go check this book out!

I’ll certainly finish it before an upcoming flight, which is a good thing because I think bringing it on a plane would be inadvisable, to say the least.

Why? Because of the description of the book on the jacket:

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

In this age of security theatre, my tendency is regard the folks at U.S. Customs in pretty much the same light as my ex-girlfriend C. from 1996: in possession of a toxic combination of anger, bitchiness, caprice, and an unhealthy fascination with getting up my ass. I can imagine this book jacket getting me hauled into the cavity search room.

Recommended Reading

  • U.S. Airport Screeners Are Watching What You Read (Sept. 2007): “International travelers concerned about being labeled a terrorist or drug runner by secret Homeland Security algorithms may want to be careful what books they read on the plane. Newly revealed records show the government is storing such information for years.”
  • Homeland Security Not Interested in Your Books, DHS Says (Sept. 2007):…as long as they’re not suspicious books, that is. Says DHS spokesperson Russ Knocke: “I flatly reject the premise that we care at all about the latest Tom Clancy novel a traveler is reading. But the fact does remain that CBP officials are going to be mindful of whether there is anything that suggests there could be possible violations of a law associated with a traveler or items in possession of a traveler as they make an admissibility decision about that traveler.”
  • Hayduke Lives! (Oct. 2001) Not only did airport security freak out over this guy’s book, they also lied to his father, saying that he’d cracked a joke about bombs to airport security.

3 replies on ““Little Brother”: I’m Not Taking It on the Plane!”

You have to finish this, Joey. The ending is AWESOME! I’ve never thought of the whole customs / book thing before. Since I’m always toting around children’s and YA books, I might be alright. Hmm. This country is weird.

You’re assuming that the folks on the other end of those cameras can READ. Cory’s in Seattle this weekend, and I got to talk to him for our library blog, Shelf Talk. Wow – a really important message for right now, and a deeply thoughtful messenger.

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