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Nov 19 2010

For the Win

For the Win titleBook: For the Win

Author: Cory Doctorow

Reviewer: Adam Rogers, NCSU Libraries Fellow

In For the Win, Doctorow takes a surprising, strange-but-true fact from today’s Internet frontier–that miserably-paid Chinese workers toil at repetitive tasks in online gameworlds to produce virtual goods to sell for real money to American gamers–and extends it to imagine a near-future dystopia with hyper-corporate, billion-dollar online games. But, there are those who resist: techno-savvy idealists (including the book’s teenage protagonist) who band together across continents and multilingual chat systems to stick it to the globalized, multinational Man.

Though primarily aimed at young adults, the book is refreshingly deep in its discussion of global economics, sweatshop labor, sophisticated networks, and the mechanics of the online gaming business. While lackingĀ  some of the narrative cohesion of Doctorow’s 2008 bestseller Little Brother, For the Win is a wild ride. And I bet it’s the only book on this list that’s available, totally legally, for free on the open web (at http://craphound.com/ftw/download/ ). Doctorow is, after all, one of this century’s strongest advocates for sane copyright law, and he puts his money where his mouth is.