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Hitting the Books: The latest ‘Little Brother’ is a stark cybersecurity thriller

In the excerpt below, Masha finds herself in a squalid Slovstakia hotel, recently fired by her employer Xoth and no longer able to assist her favored band of street resisters, led by Chriztina. Then, things go sideways.

Excerpt from ATTACK SURFACE by Cory Doctorow. Copyright © 2020 Cory Doctorow.

I woke to find myself in the dark room, with the sense that there had just been a loud noise. I sat up, looking around, reaching for my bag, shucking swiftly out of the sleep-sack, trying to remember where the light was, where I’d left my shoes.

Then I heard a scream from the street below, and a car horn, and then more screams, and then a terrible, rending crash. I stopped feeling for the light switch and went to the window, opening the blinds from the edge, looking down.

It was a bad crash, one of the city’s Finecab subcompact autonomous taxis bent around an empty planter, and I reflexively snorted: the self-driving vehicles were an absurd source of national pride for Slovstakia, and if you’ve heard of Slovstakia, there’s a pretty good chance that this is literally the only thing you know about it: “Oh, that’s the country that was stupid enough to buy gen-one automatic taxis.” The Finecabs were notorious for getting into fender benders, and had become a symbol of how easy it was for foreign companies to sell garbage tech to the country’s ruling elite (see also: Xoth).

But this wasn’t one of the customary comedy-crashes. From the sounds filtering up from the road, someone had been hurt. I saw someone in hotel livery rush to the car and decided it wasn’t my problem anymore. I went back to bed. I was just drifting off when I heard another crash, farther away, accompanied by blaring horns, then

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