Review: Makers

Cory Doctorow’s latest, Makers is a loving tribute to mad invention and the people responsible for it.  It reminds me a lot of Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano with its world run by engineers scenario.  But unlike that dystopian view Makers is instead about the sheer joy of creation.

But this is not a purely optimistic book either.  The protagonists are far from perfect and spend just as much time ruining their lives as improving them.  But with one or two exceptions the characters aren’t terribly interesting anyway.  This just isn’t a book that’s really focused on people.  

Instead its about what people can acomplish when they are given the means to innovate.  When Doctorow gets lost in talking about people doing neat things his enthusiasm is infectious and the novel soars.  But the rest of the time the book is a bit of a misfire, feeling less like a novel than an extended essay on how large corporations are not conducive to creative thought.  Not a horrible book by any means, but probably Doctorow’s weakest novel to date.

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