Cory Doctorow

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Cory Doctorow, 2009

Cory Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a blogger, journalist and science fiction author in favor of liberalizing copyright laws.

Quotes[edit]

  • I'm not a lawyer— I'm a kind of mouthpiece/activist type, though occasionally they shave me and stuff me into my Bar Mitzvah suit and send me to a standards body or the UN to stir up trouble. I spend about three weeks a month on the road doing completely weird stuff like going to Microsoft to talk about DRM.
  • There's something to the idea of the autonomous character. Big chunks of our wetware are devoted to simulating other people, trying to figure out if we are likely to fight or fondle them. It's unsurprising that when you ask your brain to model some other person, it rises to the task. But that's exactly what happens to a reader when you hand your book over to him: he simulates your characters in his head, trying to interpret that character's actions through his own lens.
  • I'm of the opinion that science fiction writers suck at predicting the future. We mostly go around describing the present in futuristic clothes - (such as) Mary Shelley, Bill Gibson, and many others.
  • The real damage from terrorist attacks doesn't come from the explosion. The real damage is done after the explosion, by the victims, who repeatedly and determinedly attack themselves, giving over reason in favor of terror... Terrorism is about magnifying one mediagenic act of violence into one hundred billion acts of terrorized authoritarian idiocy.
  • [O]pen platforms and experimental amateurs ... eventually beat out the spendy, slick pros. ... Relying on incumbents to produce your revolutions is not a good strategy. They're apt to take all the stuff that makes their products great and try to use technology to charge you extra for it, or prohibit it altogether.
  • A tablet without software is just an inconveniently fragile and poorly reflective mirror, so the thing I want to be sure of when I buy a device is that I don't have to implicitly trust one corporation's judgment about what software I should and shouldn't be using.

Little Brother[edit]

  • Abnormal is so common, it's practically normal.
  • Never underestimate the determination of a kid who is time rich and cash poor.
  • This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom[edit]

  • First-time novelists have a tough row to hoe. Our publishers don’t have a lot of promotional budget to throw at unknown factors like us. Mostly, we rise and fall based on word-of-mouth.
    • "A note about this book, January 9, 2003
  • P2P nets kick all kinds of ass. Most of the books, music and movies ever released are not available for sale, anywhere in the world. In the brief time that P2P nets have flourished, the ad-hoc masses of the Internet have managed to put just about everything online. What’s more, they’ve done it far cheaper than any other archiving/revival effort ever.
    Yeah, there are legal problems. Yeah, it’s hard to figure out how people are gonna make money doing it. Yeah, there is a lot of social upheaval and a serious threat to innovation, freedom, business, and whatnot. It’s your basic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario, and as a science fiction writer, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenaria are my stock-in-trade.
    • "A note about this book, January 9, 2003
  • I released this book a little over a year ago under the terms of a Creative Commons license that allowed my readers to freely redistribute the text without needing any further permission from me. In this fashion, I enlisted my readers in the service of a grand experiment, to see how my book could find its way into cultural relevance and commercial success. The experiment worked out very satisfactorily.
    When I originally licensed the book under the terms set out in the next section, I did so in the most conservative fashion possible, using CC's most restrictive license. I wanted to dip my toe in before taking a plunge. I wanted to see if the sky would fall: you see writers are routinely schooled by their peers that maximal copyright is the only thing that stands between us and penury, and so ingrained was this lesson in me that even though I had the intellectual intuition that a "some rights reserved" regime would serve me well, I still couldn't shake the atavistic fear that I was about to do something very foolish indeed.
    It wasn't foolish.
    • "A note about this book, February 12, 2004"
  • I lived long enough to see the cure for death; to see the rise of the Bitchun Society, to learn ten languages; to compose three symphonies; to realize my boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World; to see the death of the workplace and of work.
    • First lines
  • The Bitchun Society has had much experience with restores from backup—in the era of the cure for death, people live pretty recklessly. Some people get refreshed a couple dozen times a year.
  • The Bitchun Society had all but done away with any sort of dull, repetitious labor, and what remained—tending bar, mopping toilets—commanded Whuffie aplenty and a life of leisure in your off-hours.
  • I’d talk to him about the vast carpet of the future unrolling before us, of the certainty that we would encounter alien intelligences some day, of the unimaginable frontiers open to each of us. He’d tell me that deadheading was a strong indicator that one’s personal reservoir of introspection and creativity was dry; and that without struggle, there is no real victory.
    This was a good fight, one we could have a thousand times without resolving. I’d get him to concede that Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you wouldn’t starve; contrariwise, if you were rich and hated, no sum could buy you security and peace. By measuring the thing that money really represented—your personal capital with your friends and neighbors—you more accurately gauged your success.
  • I think that if I’m still here in ten thousand years, I’m going to be crazy as hell. Ten thousand years, pal! Ten thousand years ago, the state-of-the-art was a goat. You really think you’re going to be anything recognizably human in a hundred centuries?
  • I swore I'd be done, and that would be the end of it. And now I am. There isn't a single place left on-world that isn't part of the Bitchun Society. There isn't a single thing left that I want any part of.
  • Lying on my hotel bed, mesmerized by the lazy turns of the ceiling fan, I pondered the possibility that I was nuts. It wasn’t unheard of, even in the days of the Bitchun Society, and even though there were cures, they weren’t pleasant.
  • I’d seen how Imagineering worked when they were on their own, building prototypes and conceptual mockups—I knew that the real bottleneck was the constant review and revisions, the ever-fluctuating groupmind consensus of the ad-hoc that commissioned their work.
    Suneep looked sheepish. “Well, if all I have to do is satisfy myself that my plans are good and my buildings won’t fall down, I can make it happen very fast. Of course, my plans aren’t perfect. Sometimes, I’ll be halfway through a project when someone suggests a new flourish or approach that makes the whole thing immeasurably better.
  • The universe gets older. So do I. So does my backup, sitting in redundant distributed storage dirtside, ready for the day that space or age or stupidity kills me. It recedes with the years, and I write out my life longhand, a letter to the me that I’ll be when it’s restored into a clone somewhere, somewhen. It’s important that whoever I am then knows about this year, and it’s going to take a lot of tries for me to get it right.

Eastern Standard Tribe[edit]

  • Engineers are all basically high-functioning autistics who have no idea how normal people do stuff.

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town[edit]

  • Larry poured himself a coffee. "I hate when they come in here with computers. They sit forever at their tables, and they don't talk to nobody, it's like having a place full of statues or zombies."
  • "Christ, you're dragging me out for that? I can tell you what they'll say. They'll drag out the Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse: kiddie porn, terrorists, pirates, and the mafia. They'll tell us that any tool for communicating that they can't tap, log, and switch off is irresponsible. They'll tell us we're stealing from ISPs. It's what they say every time someone tries this: Philly, New York, London. All around the world same song."
  • All secrets are deep. All secrets become dark. That's in the nature of secrets.
  • No one should do a job he can do in his sleep.
  • It's not necessarily about what career you pick. It's about how you do what you do.

External links[edit]

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