Makers

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Makers is a 2010 Post-Cyber Punk novel by Cory Doctorow. It follows the story of a economic boom and bust of three-dimensional printer small businesses, centered around the two engineers who started the movement and a journalist following the story.

Suzanne is barely getting by with her reporter work for a San Francisco newspaper. She takes an assignment following the entrepreneurial work of Perry and Lester, two tech-heads in Florida. In an abandoned mall, they work with piles of salvaged electronics, creating modular solutions for home organization and decor.

The work intrigues Suzanne so much that she quits her traditional print media job and develops her blog into a full-blown documentation of their work and similar works all over the world.

Following their success, hedge funds swoop in to fund the new mini-ventures.

One of Lester's pet projects, a theme park rail ride (passengers sit in a small train passing exhibits) becomes a cultural phenomenon. Meanwhile, Disney watches its business dwindle as people visit the interactive rides being cobbled together. They plan to sue the rides for copyright infringement (small trademarked Disney elements are incorporated), while developing their own line of 3D printers to allow buyers to printout miniature replicas of classic Disney park rides.

The book touches on many of Doctorow's political and social interests: modular electronics, copyright law, DIY culture, law enforcement over-reach, alternative communities, anti-corporatism, 21st Century economics, and others.

Can be read online for free here.

Tropes used in Makers include:

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