The Real Paul Jones

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Maps of Misreadings: For the Win

Paul, · Categories: General

For the Win
Our friend Cory Doctorow has out his second Young Adult book, For the Win. His first, Little Brother, is on its second week on the the National Independent Bestseller list.

We’re looking forward to having him here to read at our local indy store, Fly Leaf Books, on Sunday at 1 pm. Fly Leaf has done a great job of getting the word out and of explaining who Cory is and what the book is about.

Over in Cary at Barnes & Noble, it’s a different story. Their synopsis of the book is completely backwards from that the book is actually about. They say:

His new teen novel, For the Win, incorporates online role-playing games into a real-life, global war. Teens are recruited and unionized by ruthless bosses to sabotage the global economy.

Err #FAIL

After a little conversation with Cory and his publisher Tor, B&N now reads:

His new teen novel, For the Win, features international teens organizing and fighting, both digitally and physically, for their rights, in a world where online games are a major driver of the global economy.

Much better

The book is about macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement. Yes, that’s right. But the HEROES are the Union organizers, the IWWWW, the Webblies (a name borrowed by Cory with acknowledgment from Scotland’s Ken MacLeod). The global and therefore macroeconomics discussed are about the importance of collaboration, of love of work and play, of pressures against workers many of whom are children and of the costs of resistance and why those costs however precious are necessary to pay.

Whilst I’m on misreadings, let me point out that there are positive misreadings to be had from For the Win too. Cory dedicates the book this way:

For Poesy: Live as though it were the early days of a better nation.

This is a borrowing from another Scots author — one of my favorites — Alasdair Gray:

Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.

Gray says that he borrowed this phrase from the Canadian poet Dennis Lee who wrote this couple in his 9th Civil Elegy:

And best of all is finding a place to be in the early days of a better civilization.

I love how each author took the sentence and changed it slightly each a personal misreading and owning of the line. Dennis Lee was Toronto’s first Poet Laureate. Alastair Gray’s quote is carved in stone on the new Scottish Parliament Building’s Cannongate Wall. Cory’s is a dedication of a book to his daughter. Canada -> Scotland -> Daughter of a Canadian living in England.

Those are the better misreadings.

Come hear Cory Doctorow‘s reading, not misreading, on Sunday May 23 at 1 pm here at Fly Leaf Books.

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