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Some photos of Corty Doctorow signing copies of Little Brother at Forbidden Planet, London, Saturday 29th November 2008:





Little Brother, the text of which is available online in various formats, for free, is well worth giving to your teenage or young adult relatives as a Christmas present.


UK edition book signing

Cory Doctorow - Little Brother
Saturday 29, November, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Forbidden Planet London Megastore,
179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR

Our Price: £6.99

Forbidden Planet Megastore street map

Latitude: N51:30:54 ( 51.514896 )
Longitude: W0:07:39 ( -0.127591 )

Although this book is aimed at the "young adult" market , there is a lot for politicians, policy makers and technologists to learn from it.

Will today's teenagers actually fight for their human rights against the creeping totalitarian police surveillance state, which the terrorists threat has managed to manipulate our weak politicians into inflicting on us ?

Will dome of the anti-surveillance and anonymity techniques described in Little Brother be taken up by the games console / iPod generations , or have they been lulled into introspective passivity and inaction ?

Little Brother, the text of which is available online in various formats, for free, is well worth giving to your teenage or young adult relatives as a Christmas present.

John le Carré - A Most Wanted Man - video interview in Hamburg

John le Carré (the pen name of David John Moore Cornwell) is a former diplomatic / intelligence insider, whose books have described and defined the language and plots of modern Spooks and Spies, in literature, film and television e.g. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy etc.

The Daily Telegraph has an interesting 9 minute video interview John le Carré, promoting his new book called A Most Wanted Man.

This video is now available on via Google video, on the official John le Carré website

This video shows the author at a few of the locations in modern day Hamburg, which are used in the novel. e.g. the lobby of the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski and the offices of the Fluchtpunkt, a Christian organisation which helps refugees and asylum seekers.


Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (23 Sep 2008)
Language English
ISBN-10: 034097706X
ISBN-13: 978-0340977064

A Most Wanted Man

A half-starved young Russian man is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash, is a devout Muslim and says his name is Issa.

Annabel is an idealistic German lawyer determined to save Issa from deportation. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past she confronts Tommy Brue, the scion of a failing British bank based in Hamburg.

Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the War on Terror the rival spies of three nations converge upon the innocents.

A Most Wanted Man is published 23 Sep by Hodder & Stoughton.

It will be interesting to compare and contrast John le Carré's A Most Wanted Man with William Gibson's Spook Country. - luxury hotels, international conspiracies and intelligence agency snooping, descriptions of Port cities, female heroine, rich millionaires etc. etc.

John le Carré's novels, and all the film and television adaptations of them so far, are much better and more accurate (though obviously still fiction), than the BBC TV Spooks and especially [spooks] code 9

Cory Doctorow @ Orbital 2008

On Monday 24th March 2008 I attended the last day of the Eastercon science fiction convention held in London called Orbital 2008, my first time at such an event.

I gave out NO2ID Campaign badges, to many very receptive people, or to people who turned out to already be signed up or pledged as NO2ID supporters.

I managed to strike up conversations with some really interesting and intelligent people, with whom I will be happy to chat to over a drink again in the near future.

Cory Doctorow, who read from Chapter 12 from his new book aimed at young adults called Little Brother which is due to be published in the USA on April 29th, but which, incredibly is being talked about as a 2011 release by a UK publisher ! Given that Cory is an advocate of electronic publishing, this UK publisher seems to be utterly out of touch with the 21st Century.

200 free copies of Little Brother for high-school newspaper reviewers

My next novel, Little Brother, is coming out in about six weeks, on April 29. It’s a book for young adults, about freedom, surveillance, and how technology can be used to free you or to lock you up. It’s about a gang of hacker/gamer kids in San Francisco who use technology to restore freedom to America, despite the damndest efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to take it away in the name of fighting terrorism.

Cory's reading from Chapter 12 was really good - the audience laughed aloud over the use of diluted pepper spray "effectively an anti-personnel weapon" as a condiment for spicy Mexican food. There was a description of a rousing illegal open air music concert, in a park in the Mission District of San Francisco, which seems to have been organised via the underground network of Linux hacked Xboxes
This is probably similar to the concept of the TOR onion routing project

The concert crowd shouted "Bring it back" after being exhorted "Don't trust anyone over 25", and the story changed mood with the description of the tender fondlings of the young hero and heoine, who seem to have met at a PGP Key Signing Party, after which the laptop computers which had been used to generate cryptographic keys were smashed to pieces.

These tender moments were interrupted by a heavy handed crowd dispersal tactics of the Police and the Department of Homeland (in)Security using high powered sonic weapons / public address systems, and helicopter crowd dispersal pepper spray.

Cory answered questions and made sensible comments on publishing, on his own writing methods and on how to improve science fiction conventions/

Cory mentioned William Gibson's Spook Country as an example of a futuristic novel set in the "unevenly distributed" future/ present of last year. Cory made the important technical criticism of the Spook Country draught before publication, pointing out to William Gibson that GPS satellite tracking does not actually work (on its own) indoors, without a clear view of (usually) 4 satellites, which led William Gibson to make more use of WiFi in his Locative Art installation descriptions. I mentioned my participation in the Node magazine and the hyperlink cloud annotation of Spook Country, even before it was officially published.

Apart from Cory's session, there were plenty of other interesting sessions:

William Gibson in Second Life cyberspace

| 1 Comment

Unfortunately I missed the Second Life promotional event in the crude Second Life virtual reality online world.
Apparently, William Gibson's avatar descended from the virtual sky atop a virtual shipping container, and he read from Spook Country for 20 minutes and answered questions for about half an hour thereafter.

The actual online audience must have been tiny, but the media and blog reporting of the event should reach more people especially once the promised multimedia extracts are made available online.

See this William Gibson board discussion thread for some comments and graphics from participants.

[hat tip again to Fashionpolice]

William Gibson's first scheduled Second Life appearance seems to be on Thursday August 2nd at 7pm Pacific Standard Time i.e. 2am in the morning British Summer Time (or it could be 3am in the morning here in the UK if they really mean Pacific Daylight saving Time)

UPDATE: ot seems to be British Summer Time: (still to be confirmed)

2 August 2007/ 7pm BST / On Avalon (158, 87, 25)

check your local timezone

Since my "Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 cyberdeck" is currently being modified, I shall probably try Katharine Berry's in-browser AJAX javascript text interface for Second Life:

The Penguin UK publisher's blog announces that William Gibson is to be promoted in the Second Life virtual reality multi-user online game.

Over the next few weeks - to celebrate and, yes, promote his new novel Spook Country - we're planning a range of William Gibson activities in Second Life; we're screening his fine and strange movie No Maps for These Territories; there's a competition to design an avatar for the man himself; we're giving away shipping containers packed with Gibson goodies

You can pack many tonnes of "William Gibson goodies" into a full sized 40 foot long Shipping Container - is that what they are really promising ?

and at the beginning of August, William Gibson himself will be coming into Second Life to read from Spook Country and answer questions.

If you want to join in, log into Second Life, join the Penguin Readers group or get in touch with me virtually by sending an IM to Jeremy Neumann. We're looking forward to sharing a consensual hallucination with you.

Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher

Amazon now link to the Publishing Proposal Synopsis (.pdf - five pages) for the book which has eventually become Spook Country

Some comments on the proposal:

Publishers Note: In around July 2005 (according to his blog) William Gibson began writing the ovel that became Spook Country and delivered it 18months later to his publishers. Reproduced below is William Gibson’s original proposal for this novel

About this blog

This blog is discusses and analyses the new book Spook Country by cyberpunk author William Gibson, published in August 2007.

This will be primarily from a United Kingdom perspective, as some of the themes of espionage and surveillance and hidden forces really do resonate in our endemic Surveillance Society.

This blog has been described, quite fairly, as "otaku-worthy immersion"

Email Contact

email: blog @ SpookCountry [dot] co [dot] uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g.

Spook Country Links

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country *NO SPOILERS* forum

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country - *SPOILERS OK* forum

William Gibson video about "Spook Country" on YouTube and on the official website.

William Gibson Links

William Gibson blog - written by the author himself, on which he has test marketed fragments of his novel Spook Country whilst writing it.

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board - William Gibson book promtion website in Germany

William Gibson aleph - lots of resources about William Gibson's works.

The Cyberpunk Project - some online texts of some of William Gibson's writings hosted in Russia.

Wikipedia Links

Wikipedia entry for "Spook Country"

Wikipedia "Spook Country" page edit history RSS feed or Atom feed

The character "Hubertus Bigend" has his own fictional Wikipedia entry in "Spook Country", which has now become now a real one.

Node Magazine

  • Node Magazine - a fictional magazine which "seems to be actively preventing the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they begin to exist" mentioned in the hints given about the Spook Country book, which has already been created online by a fan (patternboy), before the book has been published.
  • - Node Magazine is publishing 2 Chapter Summaries and Quotations each day in the 42 day countdown to the official publication of Spook Country
  • Spook Country blog's "cloud of hyperlinks" in numerical chapter order - commentary and annotations on the annotations to Spook Country.

Fictional British TV Spooks

James Bond 007

Stylish, if somewhat far fetched, BBC TV drama based on MI5 the Security Service - Spooks

BBC children's TV series M.I.High

2008 spin off TV series from Spooks [spooks] code 9 , set a few years into the future in 2013, in the Orwellian Police State which has emerged after a nuclear bomb attack on London.

Fictional Spooks

The Spy Wise Blog by Wesley Britton

Real Spooks

MI5 - the Security Service - counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, domestic surveilance

GCHQ - the Government Communications Head Quarters - intercepting and deciphering enemy communications, and protecting UK ones.

MI6 - SIS - the Secret Intelligence Service - mostly foreign intelligence - not quite like depicted in James Bond films.

Ex - Spooks - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6. There are also links to Cryptome's archives of articles and alleged, unproven, lists of names of former or mcurrent MI6 agents (including, improbably, some UK Ambassadors), which caused lots of controversy. Tomlinson denies publishing anything not already in the public domain.

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Spooky Info - including various spooky documents which some Government agencies would prefer not to be online.

Alan Turnbull's - "An entertaining guide to using Internet-based research tools – Ordnance Survey's maps, Getmapping's aerial photos and Google Earth! to reveal the UK's "hidden" MoD facilities and military sites"

Eye Spy Magazine - " The world's leading newsstand magazine on intelligence and espionage" - photos, articles, book reviews, private sector surveillance equipment and services adverts etc. N.B. Sometimes uncritical articles on various anti-terrorism and espionage topics, presumably in order to keep in favour with their anonymous sources.

Historical Spooks

Science Museum, London - Science of Spying Exhibition - for Spy Kids of all ages until September 2007.

Bletchley Park - "Historic site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer."

Imperial War Museum. London

Spooky CyberPunks and CyberGoths

The Dose is a "free, downloadable PDF zine ranging from industrial and gothic music to indie game development, Japanese visual kei, eyecandy, cyberpunkness" produced in Hungary.The three (so far annual) issues so far, with another promised in July 2007 contain plenty of CyberPunk and CyberGoth images and reviews, with the occasional reference back to William Gibson or other cyberpunk fiction authors.

Spy / Surveillance Art Projects

Spy Box - "A digital camera inside a parcel looks out through a small hole and captures images of its journey through the postal system. The Spy Box was sent from my studio to the gallery taking an image every 10 seconds recording a total of 6994 images these were then edited together to create an animated slideshow." - by artist Tim Knowles

Benjamin Males - "Face Targeting and Analysis System (2008) - Software designed to find and analyse faces in a video stream. First stage in an ongoing project looking at the potential misuse of technology"

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

As part of the preparations for William Gibson book signing and lecture event promoting Spook Country in London, during August 2007, this "local knowledge" guide to places of interest to cyberpunk fans was compiled, and has been subsequently expanded.

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide -

Please feel free to add comments or send emails, to keep it up to date.

Zero History


Zero History blog - - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Zero History


Zero History blog - - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Cover Artwork

US cover art (the design we prefer):

UK cover art:

See how the cover artwork designs have changed slightly over time in the Cover Artwork category archive

"Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation

Our "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence

The Node Magazine, which this was a collaborative online contribution to, was online even before the official publication date of the first hardback edition of the book in August 2007.

This has been commented on by the author William Gibson, and described by Emeritus Professor of English Literature John Sutherland as "the future of literary crticism"

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