The Bezzle

by Cory Doctorow

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Featured image for The Bezzle

The followup to Red Team Blues goes back in time and starts at the time of the dot com boom (and the subsequent crash). And, my God, this makes me feel old! I’ve got used to books set in the 1970s and 1980s having nudged into the historical or period fiction categories nowadays but I am not ready for the early twenty-first century to be plundered like this. The good news is that Cory was there too, and I think I was reading his blog at the latest soon after that, so it’s thankfully all good from a detail perspective.

There’s a lot about pyramid schemes here and then the tale has a friend of Marty’s end up in jail and proceeds to go deep down the rabbit hole of how corporate prison systems work, or more accurately, don’t work. I learnt more about Catalina Island in California which I otherwise only know from it being one of the location names that got repurposed as MacOS names.

If I have an issue with the book it’s that there were true stories in here and fictional ones, and it wasn’t entirely clear which were which - a nod to those which were true at the end of the book would have been nice to have. I knew one of the stories was sadly true, but had to fact check another. Part of the point here is that these are all things that could have happened, or are very similar to things that did happen, this is the dystopia we are living in, and not calling out explicitly those that were literally true seemed an oversight.