Do You Wanna Build a Cyborg?

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I am an avid fan of K.B. Spangler, what with A Girl and Her Fed and the first tie-in novel, Digital Divide. That’s why I got super excited for Maker Space, the sequel to Digital Divide. It came out not too long ago and immediately downloaded it for my Kindle. I jumped in and was not disappointed. Its another fast paced cyber crime thriller, only this time it touches on a cultural phenomenon close to my heart (and my day-job): Makers.

After a massive bomb rocks downtown D.C., Agent Rachel Peng is given a task force and autonomy to work outside the official investigation to ensure that nothing is missed. Her investigation brings her into contact with a community of Makers working out of a decrepit office space nee warehouse that they have turned into a Maker think tank of sorts. Makers are a newly identified kind of human, the kind who revels in constructing marvels of technology and art from otherwise basic components.

Makers tend to be open-sourced and concerned with the betterment of humanity…and having a lot of fun. I’m looking at you, Maker-Faire participants! They are an incredibly strong and welcoming community of people that I have the privilege of working with as an illustrator at O’Reilly Media. We used to publish a magazine called Make that has now spun off as its own company that produces the magazine, how-to books, and even kits to help beginning makers get started. We still help Make publish their books, so I still get to see all the designs for the fabulous projects they have created and are helping others learn how to become master builders in their own right.

But enough on the Makers themselves and my glee at seeing them featured in such a prominent role in a fiction novel. Maker Space turned out to be well worth the wait. It is eloquent, gripping, and exceedingly well-paced. I do have to admit, I was thrown a little bit by the fact that the Boston Marathon Bombing was mentioned in passing when a few characters were discussing preparation for events such as this. It is still so fresh in everyone’s mind out here in Beantown that it was just weird seeing it mentioned in a fictional novel.

Regardless, if you are looking for an excellent procedural cybernetic drama, I highly advise you to pick up both Digital Divide and Maker Space. They don’t rely on any knowledge from the web comic (though I highly suggest going and giving that a try, too, cause there are some excellent inside jokes) and Spangler presents a wonderfully fresh take on crime dramas and cyberpunk. I just wish I’d had the cash to spring for an O.A.C.E.T. badge during the kickstarter….

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