Author Interview: Cory Doctorow

photo by Jonathan Worth (, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Today I am interviewing Cory Doctorow, author of the new science-fiction book, Radicalized.

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DJ: Hi Cory! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!

What is Radicalized about?

Cory: Radicalized collects four new novellas that use science fiction — sometimes hopeful, sometimes angry, and sometimes both — to explore privilege, individuality and collective action.

Unauthorized Bread is a story about refugee housing where everything from the toaster to the elevators are designed to spy on, control, and extract cash from people with no alternative — and about how their self-help measures to deactivate these technologies leads to a golden age, even as it puts them in mortal peril.

Radicalized is about entitled white dudes who are traumatized by watching their loved ones die of preventable illness whose treatments their insurers won’t cover; when they go online to find support on message boards, they end up radicalizing each other into suicide bombers who kill health-care execs and the Congressmen who do their dirty work — the story turns on when and how America is willing to call affluent white men terrorists.

Model Minority is about a Superman-like hero who has spent a century physically shoring up American might at home and abroad, but who reaches a breaking point and intervenes to stop the same NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner from beating up a Black man; the “hero” quickly discovers that his “Americanness,” his “whiteness” and even his humanity were all provisional conditions whose unwritten terms of service required him to turn a blind eye to the cruelty and injustice of American politics.

The Masque of the Red Death is about rich Arizona preppers who go into a bunker when “The Event” happens, and how they end up poisoned and diseased by the pathogens that the people they’ve left behind are trying to stamp out as they reboot civilization and its sanitation systems (the working title was “You can’t shoot germs.”)

DJ: What were some of your influences for Radicalized?

Cory: I wrote Radicalized in the midst of an extremely anxious couple of years of American and global political instability — the same factors that we’ve all been living through. I hadn’t planned to write these — each one came to me in something of a bolt and were if not easy to write, then neither were they hard: they felt like a kind of therapeutic intervention in my own concern about politics. It seems to me that the message of our current political moment is that individuals can’t make a difference on our own, but that together we can make changes that are nearly impossible to predict or credit. The theme of all four of these stories is the limits on individual action and the problems of collective action.

DJ: Radicalized collects four novellas. It seems to me that novella is gaining a rise in popularity again: what is it about the novella format that you like? Do you feel there is a particular advantage to telling your story that way over the novel?

Cory: I wrote these while writing a novel — the third Little Brother novel, entitled Crypto Wars. Though they clock in at novel-length when put into one set of covers, each one was small enough to hold in my head all at once, making it possible to make them much more premeditated. They can each be read in a single setting, too, which makes them ideal for transmitting an argument and a tale in one bite.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  


Twitter: @doctorow

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*** Radicalized is published Tor Books available TODAY!!! ***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Goodreads

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About the Book:

From New York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow, Radicalized is four urgent SF novellas of America’s present and future within one book

Told through one of the most on-pulse genre voices of our generation, Radicalized is a timely novel comprised of four SF novellas connected by social, technological, and economic visions of today and what America could be in the near, near future.

Unauthorized Bread is a tale of immigration, the toxicity of economic and technological stratification, and the young and downtrodden fighting against all odds to survive and prosper.

In Model Minority, a Superman-like figure attempts to rectifiy the corruption of the police forces he long erroneously thought protected the defenseless…only to find his efforts adversely affecting their victims.

Radicalized is a story of a darkweb-enforced violent uprising against insurance companies told from the perspective of a man desperate to secure funding for an experimental drug that could cure his wife’s terminal cancer.

The fourth story, Masque of the Red Death, harkens back to Doctorow’s Walkaway, taking on issues of survivalism versus community.

photo by Jonathan Worth (, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

About the Author:

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.

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One thought on “Author Interview: Cory Doctorow

  1. Redhead says:

    great interview!! For what it’s worth, my fave Doctorow novel is Makers. I reread it every few years. good stuff! and YES, novellas rock!


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