|Makers is Cory Doctorows fifth novel, but
the first novel-length work of his that I have read, I have previously read him at novella
length and shorter in various Years Best collections and was favourably
impressed, so I was keen to see how he handled fictions long form.
is set in the not too distant future of now plus five, ten or fifteen years (no dates are
mentioned) and, with the aid of a about ten characters, extrapolates current economic and
manufacturing technology trends into a vision of that future that is neither utopic nor
dystopic, just a little unexpected. The ideas he works with: three dimensional
photocopying, distributed feedback loops, and endocrine solutions to obesity are available
now or on the cusp of availability he simply shows the potential for their
Unfortunately, for large patches of Makers I felt I was reading
an economics treatise for the science fiction herd those who have heard the
terminology of business economics and financing, but know none of the implication and what
this means in practice with the novels characters acting as cyphers for
explaining economic theory to practice. The slipping into soapbox mode, plus the absence
of formal chapters breaks (it was a book in three parts) meant that I found it difficult
to pick the book up again after I put it down for the day. But when I was reading it I
wanted to know how that part would unfold so was loathe to put the book down again.
Did the book work well as a novel? I suppose so. I was reasonably happy with the
storyline, and how the characters developed and interacted, with these being distinct
characters not variations on a theme; I was even comfortable with the ending. I could have
done without the less-than-subtle info-dumps of economics and sociology as these
distracted significantly from the story as a story.
In summary, a better than average (not brilliant, but not bad either) novel about
market economics with the bonus that its science fiction. Worth the time to read?