It is tempting to call a book that requires an extensive afterward to make sense of it a failure. But I have to say that Bruce Sterling's Pirate Utopia kept my attention and kept me talking about it. Sterling created an alternate history between the wars, nesting this in the "diesel punk" genre.
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Cory Doctorow has a life beyond science fiction as a copyright activist. He wrote two books on the nature of copyright that are in essay form, Content, and Context. Information Doesn't Want To Be Free would seem to be in a similar vein but is a guidebook for artists in the digital age.