I read a book that was fairly new a few years back. I have it on kindle, but as I never remember the names of books, I am struggling to remember when I read it exactly, so I thought StackExchange!

The book followed a group of people living in the woods who have effectively dropped out of society. Society has become largely driven by Intellectual Property rights and there is a collective of people who are rebelling with it by taking designs and dropping out of the grid. They live in a quasi-anarchist group and the designs of buildings are extensively placed in version control. Version control played a weirdly central role, in fact. There was a character who was the daughter of someone powerful and the beginning scene starts with a party in a factory where they are ripping off designs and making drinks/drugs.

The story revolved around the antagonists, which I believe were corporate entities, hunting down the people who were flouting the process of licensing intellectual property which could be made using automated fabrication machines. These people were a fringe movement that was gaining steam where people were just disappearing and hiding in desolate areas trying to create their own way of life that revolved around technical process and anarchy. They used version control software to innovate new designs, deface each other's things, and revert back to good designs. Some of the designs were made by a UN group. There was a spa at one point that was quite elaborate and someone's backpack is "stolen" but it is used as a foil to introduce the idea that these people don't believe anyone owns anything. Their town often went through radical changes on a day to day basis.

As I think about it, I believe a good theme of the book was around becoming a society of abundance versus scarcity. In addition, I believe nuclear weapons are used on a group of them at some point. There also might be airships involved.

Could anyone help me remember the name?

  • 2
    As an aside, I obviously tried googling this, but I was greeted by tons of books about 3d printing guns and the NRA, and this was not anything like that.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:09
  • Just in case, please take a look at these guidelines, see if they trigger any more memories to edit in. :) Also, what's an "IP right"?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:16
  • Intellectual Property, sorry!
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:17
  • 1
    Where do the 3D printing come in?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:29
  • 2
    craphound.com/makers/download probably is not the correct answer, but is relevant and a good book.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:48

3 Answers 3


After all you lovely folks helped me, I found that the author was in fact Cory Doctorow; however, the novel in question is not Makers but Walkaway. Thanks for your help, my coworker will be pleased.

From wikipedia:

In a world of non-work, ruined by human-created climate change and pollution, and where people are under surveillance and ruled over by a mega-rich elite, Hubert, Etc, his friend Seth, and Natalie, decide that they have nothing to lose by turning their backs and walking away from the everyday world or "default reality".

With the advent of 3D printing – and especially the ability to use these to fabricate even better fabricators – and with machines that can search for and reprocess waste or discarded materials, they no longer have need of Default for the basic essentials of life, such as food, clothing and shelter.

As more and more people choose to "walkaway", the ruling elite do not take these social changes sitting down. They use the military, police and mercenaries to attack and disrupt the walkaways' new settlements.

One thing that the elite are especially interested in is scientific research that the walkaways are carrying out which could finally put an end to death – and all this leads to revolution and eventual war.

  • 3
    Congrats! Don't forget to accept your answer on about 47 hours.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:11

Walkaway by Cory L. Doctorow explores anarchy derived by the collapse of traditional economies due to 3D printing and its potential for the removal of scarcity when dealing with the manufacturing of goods. All in all a great read from the same author that introduced the world to Makers

Walkaway is set in the latter half of the 21st century, when technologies like 3D printing have removed the ghost of scarcity from the economy, but its lessons are directly relevant now as well. Doctorow brings anti-authoritarian values not just to the content but to the form of the book: it follows characters close to the center of some of the action, but it doesn’t pretend that one group of people will be the focal point of every aspect of a revolution.

  • 1
    I see the answer was already posted....
    – user111346
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:13

Except for the living in the woods detail, this sounds very much like Makers by Cory L. Doctorow.

In that book, a community of 3D printer users forms in a partially abandoned urban area and, among other things, sets up a "ride" patterned after carnival "dark rides", but which changes constantly as various of the operators add or change things. Most of the objects in the "ride" are "stolen" properties (Disney characters, for instance), yet the ride becomes so popular even the IP owners don't seem to mind. As I recall, "version control" of the ride becomes one of the big points of conflict.

One of the main characters is hugely fat at the beginning, then goes to Russia for an experimental treatment that raises his metabolism to the point of requiring 10,000 calories per day just to maintain himself. A few years later, his digestion is failing, overstressed by the huge food intake over a long period.

  • While this novel has now been downloaded and is in my library, it is not the one I was thinking of. Thanks for your (perhaps unintended) recommendation!
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:55
  • @Erik still, did the author's name ring a bell? From a quick browsing of their works there seems to be some common themesalong those lines. Possible author?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 15:58
  • I have heard of Corey Doctorow, but alas the only books by a Corey i had in the library were the expanse novels and novellas.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:02
  • 1
    Alas! It was Cory Doctorow! Researched my library with the right name, and BAM! It is Walkaway by Cory Doctorow! Don't know where that e came from in my mind.
    – Erik
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:04
  • Glad to hear you found it. Obviously been too long since I read Walkaway if in fact I have.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.