Cory Doctorow is well known for his support of the creative commons license, and releasing his novels, including the Hugo Nominated Little Brother completely free for download. Well, in keeping with this tradition, Doctorow is partnering with to release a serialized version of his next novel, Makers, for free.

Makers by Cory Doctorow


Starting today around noon (Eastern Standard Tribe, of course) and through January 2010, will be serializing Makers, Cory Doctorow’s upcoming novel, which goes on sale from Tor Books in October. We’ll be serializing the entirety of the novel, with a new installment every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each installment of Makers will be accompanied by a new illustration from Idiots’Books, each one a kind of tile that will interconnect with the other illustrations in the series, offering limitless possibilities for mixing and matching. In a week or so, after we’ve posted a number of tiles, we’ll release a Flash game in which you will be able to re-arrange the illustration tiles on a grid and create your own combination of layouts and designs.

Each segment of the story will be illustrated by a square illustration that relates, at least in part, to the theme or content of that segment. While each illustration will function as a standalone “illustration,” each one will will be drawn in such a way as to share common crossovers along all four sides, which means that any of the illustrations may be placed alongside any other illustration (and in any axial configuration) with guaranteed “crossovers”. [These] will form a coherently-designed 8 x 9 grid of illustrations when the thing is fully assembled. There will be one “right” way for the illustrations to be assembled; in this configuration, an uber-illustration with visual coherence that stands as the “cover” of the Makers book will be revealed. However, the chunks can be recombined into a vast number of other [9 x 9] grids. Or it could be assembled into a [3 x 27] grid. Or it could be assembled as a [81]-panel horizontal “comic.” Or it could be made into a sprawling, multi-tentacled beast of surprising crossovers that resembled a crossword puzzle in its grid-based unpredictably.”

We’re all really excited about Makers at—we think it’s a good and important book, just like Little Brother was before it. We also think that this is a fun and interesting way to send a novel out into the world, and we’re looking forward to hearing what you think. As the year progresses, and we get deeper into serializing the book, we’ll make other announcements about things we may do with this book as we explore alternatives to traditional publishing. Cory is an awesome guy to work with, and in keeping with his overarching philosophy in regards to creative works, has been very supportive of our playing around with his baby. We hope you enjoy what we’ve come up with.

Considering Doctorow’s success as a novelist, his philosophy of releasing his work for free obviously has some merit. I’m a huge fan of Doctorow’s approach to free distribution of his novel, and I’m thrilled to see supporting him. These serialized are sure to keep me entertained at work!

Part one (of 81!) is already available HERE.