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For the Win

May 13, 2010

I just finished reading Cory Doctorow’s new Young Adult Novel, For the Win, yesterday.  The book covers a very possible future in which gamers (especially those working within the game, gold farmers) unionize and the consequences of that action. It was good, very good, even considering that it has a lot to do with MMOs (think World of Warcraft), which I simply don’t play.  One of the interesting parts about the book, however, was the use of sections that were just straight exposition, with no characters or plot, just Cory talking to you directly about economic principles.

I know that it violates the rule about infodumps (the recieved wisdom is that they are bad), but the conversational and engaging style kept them from being annoying.  What was weird, though, was that he didn’t put in any sort of framework for them, such as Econ 101 articles from the Webblies web site or entries in Ashok’s notebook, and since there was no single central character (like in Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps, where the main character has a fascinating section at the beginning of each chapter on parasites), every time they came up, I was pulled out of the story a bit.  Fortunately, the rest of thes story was strong enough that it didn’t matter, I tore through it anyway.

Overall, I would say that the book is both good and important, although how good would depend on the degree that the target audience feels they are being preached to.  At first, I was worried about how his short story, Anda’s Game would translate to novel form, but it made the jump quite well.


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