A Review of Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

Little Brother, by Cory DoctorowIf You’re Not Doing Anything Wrong…

Book Review by Melanie Lamaga

Marcus Yallow is a 17-year old geek genius living in a near-future San Francisco where kids are monitored constantly by cyber-security on their school-issued laptops, radio frequency ID chips in their library books, and gait recognition software in the halls.

Marcus delights in getting around the system with harmless hacks aimed eluding scrutiny so that he can use his laptop to chat with friends, monitor the site of his favorite game, and skip out during the boring parts of school.

All of that changes after a terrorist attack destroys the Bay Bridge. In the ensuing panic, Marcus and his best friends Darryl, Vanessa and Jolu seek shelter in an underground BART station, and Darryl gets stabbed in the crush. *spoiler alert next 4 paragraphs*

Seeking help, Marcus flags down an unmarked military vehicle. Instead of getting help, the four friends are hooded, cuffed and stuck in a trailer. Marcus suspects that the terrorists have kidnapped them but when the interview starts he learns it’s the Department of Homeland Security. Read more »

A Review of Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson

Brown Girl in the Ring,  by Nalo HopkinsonServing the Spirits

In this near future, post-apocalyptic Toronto, the wealthy live in the suburbs. In the inner city, government and social structures have disintegrated after a series of riots. “The ones who couldn’t or wouldn’t get out,” use a system of barter, and live under the shadow of crime-lord Rudy and his posse.

Ti-Jeanne, a young mother, has begun having visions of the violent deaths of people she encounters, accompanied by childhood songs in her head, and visitations from disturbing creatures like the Jab-Jab, a red stick figure with legs on backward and a face like a grinning African mask.

It all ties into the religious rites performed by Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother, Gros-Jeanne, (Mami), a traditional healer who may or may not be an Obeah woman. She claims not to be, but Ti-Jeanne knows she practices rituals that involve slaughtering chickens and a lot of screaming and falling down. Read more »