My library bought this book so I didn’t have to go through the effort of downloading it for free, though you certainly can. In fact, you should. In an inspired bit of zen, the downloading of the book for free will get you that much closer to the zeitgeist of this book which is, at some bizarre level, about sharing.
But back to me for a sec. One of the things that is toughest for me now that I live in rural Vermont is that many of the people that I consider social kin or tribespeople, don’t live here. My ways are weird and foreign to the people who want to make this place geographically their home and I get a few raised eyebrows just by digging out my laptop in a coffee shop, or asking someone for their email address when they say we should stay in touch. Books like this one help me stay connected to the tech world without having to do that keep-up-with-the-joneses technolust thing that would make me broke.
Back to the book, it’s short and jargon filled and flip-floppy in a way that keeps you paying attention. There’s only a few major plot points: guy meets girl, guy winds up in hostpital, guy may or may not be getting screwed by his friends. Ultimately the protagonist tells us, the story is about whether it is better to be smart or happy. The rest of the book is an object lesson in to one of those, but it’s hard to tell which. There is a lot of gadgetry, a couple of long paragraphs that are clearly Doctorow Getting His Point Across, and a whirlwind bunch of escapades that span a few continents, some time zones, and not even much of a credibility gap. This technology and these people are all around you, the book says , wouldn’t you like to know what they are up to? Read it.