M/cloudy
27°
M/cloudy
Hi 32° | Lo 5°

Boing Boing co-creator delves into YA fiction

  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

    Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

    Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

    Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.
  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.
  •  Cory Doctorow will present his new book, “Homeland,” at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday.

Go to the website boingboing.net right now, and you will encounter a smorgasbord of thought-provoking journalism, quirky videos and photos, random wit, techie talk and clever commentary on topics ranging from Aaron Swartz to a man who walked a lobster on a leash. What you won’t find is any kind of roadmap, any kind of overarching explanation for this cerebral feast.

Cory Doctorow, co-editor of the popular blog, isn’t one to lob a serve. He’s not going to spoon-feed the masses, and he may not even provide the spoon.

Is he unkind? Not at all. After a time-zone mix-up between this writer and his publicist, he took the time to answer a list of emailed questions (sub-Doctorow in their probative powers, to be sure). Nor were the answers themselves unnecessarily erudite.

The “interview” did, however, offer a late-night riddle, packaged as it was in a FLAC file. That’s Free Lossless Audio Codec for you other simpletons out there.

Unlike some geeks who talk down to, dismiss or patronize those who may be below their intellectual stratum, Doctorow just assumes that you get it.

This may, in fact, be one of the reasons he’s been able to add YA novelist to his list of successes. Doctorow doesn’t dumb it down. The newly released Homeland, which hit No. 10 on the New York Times bestseller list this week, deals in government surveillance, computer hacking and the workings of an anarchist state. It picks up where the action left off in the 2008 bestseller Little Brother, but this time it asks even a bit more of the YA reader.

“The crisis they’re in is a lot less visible than a terrorist attack. It’s kind of a grinding, hard-to-put-your-finger on malaise,” said Doctorow, who will be at Gibson’s Bookstore on Sunday at 3 p.m. to talk about Homeland. “They find themselves in possession of a trove of leaks much like WikiLeaks.”

If that sounds a bit dry, don’t fear. Tech geek though he may be, Doctorow, who grew up in Canada and now lives in England, has a human side. “Young adult fiction is good fun to write, I think, because the lives of adolescents are so exciting,” he said. “I think the first time you do something, you can’t really tell how it’s going to turn out. The first time you tell a lie or make an important sacrifice, you come out of that experience as a totally different person.”

The novel can also be read as a treatise against the police state – and in fact, some reviewers have said the complex plot is all but immaterial to the larger themes Doctorow is serving his young readers.

An activist and journalist as well as a blogger and writer, Doctorow has never been afraid to express his opinion. He is an outspoken advocate of relaxing copyright laws and making ideas readily available to the public through outlets such as Creative Commons.

Ideas, he says, are the common threads that tie together his own varied projects and professions. “I think that they’re all part of the same project,” he said. “Blogging and journalism are really a way of investigating the raw material for the activism and the novel writing.”

More specifically, Doctorow has a simple unifying principle for mining ideas: He only writes about what interests him. This doctrine has helped Boing Boing become a destination in our age of information overload.

“I think in our case we really write for ourselves, and we write about them in terms that really try to clarify for us why this particular thing is interesting,” he said. “We’re writing the kind of thing that attracts the audience we want.”

(For information on Doctorow’s event at Gibson’s Bookstore, call 224-0562 or visit gibsonsbookstore.com.)

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.