Fightback by the Bay.
A deliberate Orwellian title, for a deliberate Orwellian scenario. A supposed terrorist attack in San Francisco leads the US Department of Homeland Security - a title George himself could easily have thought up - into serious overreaction.
Kidnapping and torture of children, massive staff increases, random no reason searches of people taking a different train than they used to, that sort of crazy thing.
A novel about a tech-hip angry teenager, and his friends and family, as he puts it on the line to do something about the fascists in charge who are way worse than any terrorist goes.
Saw some people say that this is Doctorow's best novel, and they'd probably be right. This sort of hip nearish future tech and political exploration certainly would seem to be his forte, that and the short story.
I think I saw Nancy Kress say on her blog that she didn't quite buy it, as her government might not go that far. I think that is part of the author's point, so that they won't. Especially for somewhere that is indulging in anti-Constitutional prevention is worse than the crime antics currently, with such a prison-as-growth-industry area. There there are the illegal phonetaps, and Echelon/Carnivore and all that fun stuff reading all your email.
So while they may not be carting off 14 year old whiteboy hackers and waterboarding them, how about the brownboys or girls? An issue the author brings up. Some of the abuses being talked about do happen already, so clearly some cautionary tale-telling at work.
Not to mention detaining an Australian for several years in just such a place as one of those Doctorow mentions.
Presumably the actual terrorists are sitting around laughing their arses off at all the wastes of money.
Some interesting other bits - Doctorow puts in little plugs for his favorite bookshops before each chapter, but he manages to write it in a way that doesn't sound like shilling.
There's an afterword by an actual security expert who deals with things like the security technology on display in the book that Marcus, the protagonist and friends are involved with.
A fine work, with some notes on further reading to go along.
4 out of 5