For the Win

Cover image for


Author: Cory Doctorow
Published: 2010
Language: English
Wordcount: 169,737 / 454 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 77
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 24,386
Added to site: 2010.05.12 27708
License: by-nc-sa

In the virtual future, you must organize to survive.Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of “General Robotwalla.” In Shenzen, heart of China’s industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.

Show Excerpt

buying mareridtbane for 800 gold per plant. His initial reccy had netted him five plants. That brought the total expected take from the dungeon up to 4,400 gold for 20 minutes, or 13,200 gold per hour -- which, at the day's exchange, was worth about $30, or 285 Renminbi.

Which was -- he thought for a second -- more than 71 bowls of dumplings.


His hands flew over the mice, taking direct control over the squad. He'd work out the optimal path through the dungeon now, then head out to the Huoda internet cafe and see who he could find to do runs with him at this. With any luck, they could take -- his eyes rolled up as he thought again -- a million gold out of the dungeon if they could get the whole cafe working on it. They'd dump the gold as they went, and by the time Coca Cola's systems administrators figured out anything was wrong, they'd have pulled almost $3000 out of the game. That was a year's rent, for one night's work. His hands trembled as he flipp


Average Rating of 2.8 from 4 reviews: ***
JoJo Biggins

Couldn't get past the foul language. Had to put it down.

Charles Wright

If you read Neal Stephenson Reamde and thought it did not address the subject of "gold farming" enough, this book will complete your education. Multiple characters make this read like a movie like Crash or Babble. Everyone meets in the end.


I'm a fan of his first YA book and was really ecietxd to read For the Win. Somehow it is still sitting on my shelf, though your review has reminded me to read it soon. (:[]


Of the recurring aspects of Cory's writing my favourite is his consistent use of consequence. In his young adult work it would be easy to steer this directly into moralizing. Thankfully, that's not the case. Consequences are frequent and frequently violent but (largely) not made with any judgment as to their value. They are the potential consequence of the fight for anything worth fighting for. A reflection of reality.

For The Win offers consequence up handily. It's an important and bloody reflection of a story that's already been told. One that is important to retell in a context accessible to those that may not be interested otherwise. The blending of elements and social structures very foreign to western sensibilities into that story is further impressive. Exposure and education isn't always easy to provide without preaching.

The scope of the cast is where I lost a bit of footing. While there's not a remarkably large list of primary characters it's wide enough that I never felt connected to any of them. When consequences arrive they feel very real but the characters suffering or sacrificing do not. That made the type of emotional connection I had with Makers or Little Brother, both very focused on a small cast of primary characters, impossible to conjure.

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