Originally published at Fangoria.com on November 16, 2009
Author Cory Doctorow strikes first-rate entertainment with his cyberpunk novel, MAKERS. The reader travels to a not so far future where robots make toast, and contact lenses turn the eyes into shiny black beads.
The impressive story arc is divided into four chapters. Part I introduces Lester and Perry, two unique inventors who can create materials out from scraps. In the competitive world of blogging, Suzanne Church believes she has found her next interesting scoop documenting the two inventors when they present to her Boogie Woogie Elmo Dolls programmed to drive a car. Suzanne records their every move from the early meteoric rise of their company, Kodacell. Suddenly the two inventors, Suzanne, and the rest of the world will have to prepare for the worst when Kodacell collapses along with the economy.
Part II follows Lester and Perry as they attempt to survive in a struggling economy. They both recognize their best is when they are thinking up inventions. They rebuild an abandoned Wal-Mart and construct an interactive ride comprised of their past inventions. As profits begin to flourish and the ride turns into a franchise, a much bigger business feels uncomfortable and jealous with a new competitor. An angry Disney Executive wants the inventors to fail after they appear to be too successful.
Part III and IV continue with the two inventors being hassled with one time-consuming lawsuit after another. Lester and Perry do not want to admit the truth that their friendship is quickly deteriorating. They have both become disillusioned with themselves and wonder what the purpose is to keep their rides going. Their friendship is ultimately at stake when they hit a turning point in their lives.
The story consists of an incredible roster of supporting characters. Death Waits is a Goth kid who would rather draw medieval torture chambers into his sketchbook than be recognized by his real birth name. Samuel R.D. Page, the Disney Executive responsible for the lawsuits, hates what he has become. During the never-ending court battles, Samuel wonders what his place will be in history and how people will remember him. It was interesting to read how these characters developed themselves into the grand scheme of the narrative.
The novel, MAKERS, is a terrific read from start to finish. Author Cory Doctorow perfectly blends comedy, drama, and sci-fi while commenting on the American dream to produce and make money.
A downloadable free copy of MAKERS is available at Doctorow’s website: http://craphound.com/