Polter-Cow (spectralbovine) wrote,

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The Graduation Conspiracy, Part II

Almost three weeks later, I also surprised my brother for his medical school graduation! Somehow they didn't see it coming this time.

"What?" he said. "What? How can this happen?" HE WAS SO CONFUSED IT WAS GLORIOUS. He did not expect it at all, despite the fact that he was my co-conspirator in surprising my sister, who was my co-conspirator in surprising my brother.

As I told him at his wedding, my brother is my role model and everything I want to be. Look at this fucking doctor.

My brother, who is the very best, bought me this Adventure Time shirt after I showed him "Card Wars" and got him into the show. My brother, who is the very best, is the Jake to my Finn.

Homeland, Cory Doctorow's sequel to Little Brother, has many of the same strengths and weaknesses of that book, as expected. It's readable and entertaining, but it still feels like Neal Stephenson-lite. For some reason, I don't mind when Stephenson devotes a couple pages to Cap'n Crunch, but I get irritated when Doctorow devotes several paragraphs to the wonders of cold-brewed coffee. And the "story" of the book, such as it is, is mostly driven by the political agenda. But the book also has strengths and weaknesses of its own.

For instance, the first couple chapters are fucking interminable and I almost quit because I could not make it past the overly detailed descriptions of Burning Man. Finally, finally, something interesting happened and the narrative got into gear. This time, Marcus gets his hands on secret, controversial documents that could expose his nemesis and those she works for. What will he do? Meanwhile, he gets a job working for an independent candidate's campaign for senator. The plotting is kind of wonky, as the latter story kind of falls by the wayside as the former plot picks up, but the former plot doesn't have a lot going for it. In contrast to Little Brother, very little seems to happen in this book, and the plot kind of fizzles out, whereas Little Brother actually had several exciting scenes and built to a satisfying climax.

On the other hand, I did like the focus on Marcus's character in this book. He's clearly traumatized from the last book, and I liked that Doctorow didn't shy away from that. Marcus is a bit gun-shy about getting his hands dirty now, but he has to decide what's worth it to him. In general, characterization is stronger in this book.

Little Brother didn't really need a sequel, but Homeland does a decent job making a case for its existence.
Tags: books, family, personal, pictures
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