As I mentioned in my March Locus column, I'm celebrating the tenth anniversary of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by planning a prequel volume. As part of that planning, I'm going to read aloud the entire text of that first book into the podcast, making notes on the book as I go. Here's part two.
Mastering by John Taylor Williams: email@example.com
John Taylor Williams is a audiovisual and multimedia producer based in Washington, DC and the co-host of the Living Proof Brew Cast. Hear him wax poetic over a pint or two of beer by visiting livingproofbrewcast.com. In his free time he makes "Beer Jewelry" and "Odd Musical Furniture." He often "meditates while reading cookbooks."
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Doctorow doesn’t undermine this adulation of Disney World with cheap irony. Rather, he presents it entirely on its own terms. The novel itself can’t really be called ironic; instead, it is permeated by a deadpan, slightly creepy sense of effusive sincerity. The characters are all “twittering, Pollyannic” people. They display a sort of dampened affect: a distant, impersonal warmth, unburdened by any hint of anxiety, let alone tragedy. They “can’t help but be friendly”; they have a “look of chirpy helpfulness at their instant disposal.” Sometimes the older folks, who still remember the pre- Bitchun world of scarcity and work, complain that the younger generation lacks fire and passion. But this crit-icism is simply unintelligible to those who have grown up with the Bitchun Society, and spent their entire lives in Disney World.
Paperback ISBN: 076530953X