Doctorow is more than just a sick mind looking to twist the perceptions of those whose realities remain uncorrupted – though that should be enough recommendation to read his work. *Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom* is black comedic, sci-fi prophecy on the dangers of surrendering our consensual hallucination to the regime. Fun to read, but difficult to sleep afterwards.
Cory Doctorow rocks! I check his blog about ten times a day, because he’s always one of the first to notice a major incursion from the social-technological-pop-cultural future, and his voice is a compelling vehicle for news from the future. Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom is about a world that is visible in its outlines today, if you know where to look, from reputation systems to peer-to-peer adhocracies. Doctorow knows where to look, and how to word-paint the rest of us into the picture.
Imagine you woke up one day and Walt Disney had taken over the world. Not only that, but money’s been abolished and somebody’s developed the Cure for Death. Welcome to the Bitchun Society–and make sure you’re strapped in tight, because it’s going to be a wild ride. In a world where everyone’s wishes can come true, one man returns to the original, crumbling city of dreams–Disney World. Here in the spiritual center of the Bitchun Society he struggles to find and preserve the original, human face of the Magic Kingdom against the young, post-human and increasingly alien inheritors of the Earth. Now that any experience can be simulated, human relationships become ever more fragile; and to Julius, the corny, mechanical ghosts of the Haunted Mansion have come to seem like a precious link to a past when we could tell the real from the simulated, the true from the false.
Cory Doctorow–cultural critic, Disneyphile, and ultimate Early Adopter–uses language with the reckless confidence of the Beat poets. Yet behind the dazzling prose and vibrant characters lie ideas we should all pay heed to. The future rushes on like a plummeting roller coaster, and it’s hard to see where we’re going. But at least with this book Doctorow has given us a map of the park.
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is the most entertaining and exciting science fiction story I’ve read in the last few years. I love page-turners, especially when they are as unusual as this novel. I predict big things for Down and Out — it could easily become a breakout genre-buster.
Cory Doctorow doesn’t just write about the future – I think he lives there. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom isn’t just a really good read, it’s also, like the best kind of fiction, a kind of guide book. See the Tomorrowland of Tomorrow today, and while you’re there, why not drop by Frontierland, and the Haunted Mansion as well? (It’s the Mansion that’s the haunted heart of this book.) Cory makes me feel nostalgic for the future – a dizzying, yet rather pleasant sensation, as if I’m spiraling down the tracks of Space Mountain over and over again. Visit the Magic Kingdom and live forever!