After the traumatic events of the bestselling Little Brother, Cory Doctorow returns with the sequel in Homeland, as Marcus Yallow finds himself in a harsh world where the government is always watching and waiting. His time being detained has scarred him in some ways — though not as bad as some of his friends — so that he is now less trusting than ever. But he also knows that while the truth may not set or keep him free, getting it out to the masses is more important.
Homeland opens with an entertainingly fantastic chapter where Marcus is at Burning Man for the first time in his life, which Doctorow describes with such detail that it seems as if he may have been once or twice himself. It culminates in a Dungeons & Dragons session with the founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and actor Wil Wheaton. Marcus also comes across an old enemy and comes into possession of a flash drive with some very incendiary information.
Back in San Francisco, life is the same with Marcus’s parents out of work, as well as himself, with everyone trying to get by in this terrible economic climate. Marcus gets a job offer he can’t refuse: working as the webmaster and tech guy for a candidate running as an independent for the California Senate, looking to change the world and make it a better place. So things start to look up for a little while, but Marcus has to make the decision about what to do with the flash drive. It contains a torrent address and password that lets him download gigs of information on the corruption in the government, hard proof of what they have perpetrated, how they have tortured, under the guise of protecting the American people. Marcus will have to decide if his safety and health are worthy sacrifices for getting this information out to the people.
Doctorow keeps the thrill running just like he did with Little Brother, putting Marcus into tight spot after tight spot, using his friends when he can, but also knowing the risks of putting them in danger. Doctorow also does a great job of using cutting edge technology to make the story feel a little futuristic, but at the same time completely plausible. Fans will be sucked into Homeland and kept going until the last page, hoping for a possible future continuation to this chapter in the story of Marcus Yallow.
Originally written on April 27, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.
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