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Cory Doctorow, foreword by Tim O’Reilly. Tachyon, $14.95 (243p) ISBN 978-1-61696-048-3

Doctorow (who writes a column for Publishers Weekly) has aroused controversies in the past by making free downloads of his books (Little Brother; Content) available at the same time they are sold in stores, and he has lectured and written widely on copyright issues. Now he delivers a collection of his past print and online essays from the Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Locus, and other publications. As tech publisher O’Reilly notes in the foreword, “Cory helps us make sense of the world that is unfolding.... He is passionate about the potential of technology to build a better world, and evangelical about our responsibility to make it so.” The 40-plus short essays chart myriad pathways into the future—including devilish devices, copyright confusions, sex in YA novels, the spam wars (antispam vs. spam), music downloading, techno-thrillers, the book publishing industry, and e-book readers. In “What I Do” he recommends hardware, software, phones, and e-mail programs. He loves the “hundred delights” of the Internet, but not when it’s a distraction: “Don’t research,” he tells writers, because it can become “an endless click-trance that will turn your 20 minutes of composing into a half-day’s idyll through the web.” He questions the power of Google: “It may seem as unlikely as a publicly edited encyclopedia, but the internet needs a publicly controlled search.” With straight-arrow succinctness, Doctorow makes the complicated accessible throughout this great little guidebook, a GPS for the digital age. (Oct. 15)