cover image Attack Surface

Attack Surface

Cory Doctorow. Tor, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-75753-1

Doctorow returns to the dystopian, all-too-near future of Little Brother for this gripping cyberthriller. Doctorow’s potty-mouthed protagonist, Masha Maximow, a technological wunderkind fans will recognize from the earlier novels, is morally conflicted: at her high-powered, high-paying job with Xoth Intelligence, a gigantic cybersecurity firm, she uses her hacking skills to help malignant regimes spy on dissidents, while in her free time she helps the same dissenters escape the regimes’ repressive wrath. The narrative alternates between flashbacks to her various adventures with Xoth and its rival Zyz, and her present-day involvement with a group of San Francisco radicals, as Masha gradually learns the price for all the luxury that spying on people has provided her. In Doctorow’s chilling world, technological marvels turn on their users on a dime: the indispensable cellphone annihilates privacy, the self-driving car goes berserk and kills, and the internet is the world’s most powerful surveillance tool. Doctorow lays the tech-talk on a bit thick, which may overwhelm a casual reader, but the high stakes and believable world keep the pages turning. Doctorow’s fans will be pleased. (Oct.)