If I could pick one writer to meet and talk shop with as I approach thesis, it would be Cory Doctorow. But knowing that will most likely never happen, I’m glad that I came across Overclocked. The stories are great. However, for me, the introductions are a gold mine. Doctorow spills the beans. Not many, but he does write about his craft. Where the ideas came from, how he went about the story, why this story now, it’s like having a conversation.
I think that Anda’s Game is important; I just don’t know how many World of Warcraft fans are going to read it, which is too bad. It is a great story first and foremost. It follows Anda, an over weight preteen girl looking for community and strength. Anda finds that strength online by assuming a character in fantasy world where she becomes a leader and a sought after campaign partner.
However, Anda’s belief in the community is shaken when she learns that the online characters she has been hired to kill are children working in sweat shops clicking away for pennies. You just have to read this story to understand. I’ve already given away too much. Still, I think the power in this story is rests in Doctorow’s ability to take something as traditionally unliterary as a video game and turn it into a BFG of a story. This means there still might be hope for me.
Again, the introductions in Overclocked are great. In the intro to Anda’s Game, Docotorow gives this advice, “The easiest way to write futuristic (or futurismic) science fiction is to predict, with rigor and absolute accuracy, the present day.” I have this on a 3x5 card above my computer. I try to live by it in my fiction. When I’m stuck, I turn to Time Magazine or a local paper and try to spin out in my mind the future present. Sometimes I get lucky and it works.
Mr. Doctorow, Sir. If you ever find yourself in Minneapolis, MN, USA, I’d love to buy you a coffee.
Doctorow, Cory. “Anda’s Game.” Overclocked. New York: Thunder Mouth Press, 2007. p. 57 - 100