In Cory Doctorow’s new novellas, corporations provide welfare: but only if you use their DRM’d devices: toasters that won’t toast third-party bread, dishwashers that won’t wash third-party dishes.
It all started with Salima. Fresh out of a refugee detention centre in Arizona, she’s housed in the exclusive Dorchester Towers. For the first time in months, she has her own bedroom, a bathtub she can lie down in if she squinches her legs and tucks her chin.
But it’s a tower block divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’: elevators with a poor-door and a rich-person door. Even the pettiest amenity is spitefully denied to subsidy tenants like Salima – then one day Salima’s Boulangism toaster won’t accept her overpriced Boulangism-approved bread. So she hacks into the toaster – with its USB ports and Ethernet jacks – to reprogramme and toast unauthorised bread. If she can hack a toaster, then maybe she can hack an elevator.
Now it’s a tower block that has decided to fight back…
- Cat. No.