/ / Novels, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

My third novel was “Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town,” a contemporary fantasy about wireless networking, revenge, and secrets. The book came out on July 1 from Tor, and as with my previous books, I’ve released it online simultaneous with the print release, under a Creative Commons license. What’s more, I’ve released it under a Creative Commons Developing Nations license, allowing for even more flexibility for residents of developing nations.

Fan translation into Slovakian (Pavol Hvizdos)

25 Responses to “Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town”

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Cory, it’s been a while since I came to your website, and I gotta say the new look is a killer :)
    Since your other books are among my favourite I’m looking forward to this one!

  2. Cory Doctorow

    There most certainly will be! July 1. Check back here, subscibe to the RSS, read Boing boing or join the mailing list — the notice will go out everywhere as soon as it is live.

  3. Haplo Peart


    I loved this one (Cost me a couple days time at work). I got hooked on your work with “Down and Out” whren I read it last year. This one was definately the best yet. Tempted to go rename my own AP’s now in tribute.

  4. Eyegor

    Hi Cory, Great book. Very different, but REALLY good.

    I’ve never read a another book like it.

    Great job!

  5. Lisa G.

    You kept me up ’till 2:30am with this book, damnit.
    I am losing sleep over you!
    Please write more.
    You’ve definitely joined my top author list.

  6. Alethea

    Simply a word or two of appreciation for (1) making your hard work publicly and freely accessible (2) clearly making your fan base very happy. I look forward to discovering your writing.

  7. Mikey B (not his real name)

    You’ve transformed and fascinated this non-reader, thank you Cory Doctorow for giving me something to read, I’ll never forget this book.

  8. Apollon Koutlides

    Hi, Cory

    It’s weird finding out about your literary work just now – being myself into the FOSS culture and all for a long time, and SciFi for even longer – but I guess it’s never too late for a good thing!
    I consider myself a “difficult” SciFi reader; I’m not sure I would classify this one as SciFi, but I consider it your best work by far. I already know it will take a third and fourth reading before I can dust the diamonds you’ve built in this one, and maybe I will even be persuaded that the WiFi mesh story isn’t as foreign as it seemed this first time.
    I’m looking forward to see more of your work! Thank you for pioneering and helping push this world to become what it should be.

  9. kathy

    I found this book while browsing the new science fiction at my local library. I was totally unprepared for how good and strange and fantastical it is. How do you describe this kind of story? I call it fantastical, but there’s probably a better term. Then I read “Down and Out…” which, although much different, was also really good. I look forward to more.

    I recommended it to my daughter and the next time we were in Toronto, she wasn’t happy til she found Goth kids and the video store. We also looked for boxes on the buildings but with no luck.

  10. Dale

    Man. I tried. I tried hard. I couldn’t get through this one. I quit when the brother split and the other brother was inside. I loved your other books, and the shorts in ‘Overclocked’ were superb. This one… I don’t know, it just wasn’t for me. It seems to me I read a precursor to this in ‘A Return to Pleasure Island’ in ‘A Place So Foreign and Eight More’. This seems to be more fantasy to me than SF, and I just can’t seem to get into fantasy. That said, you’re still one of my favorite authors, and the time I’ve spent reading your works is time well spent. Thanks!


  11. Collin

    I just read this, and i just wanted to say that it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. Thanks!

  12. Doug

    Cory – I just saw your interview on The Standard. Have to say – was pleasantly surprised by your stance concerning censorship, by the fact that you’re a published writer and thirdly, that your books are published by TOR. I have *never* been disappointed by anything that TOR has published so am looking forward to reading some of your stuff. The premise for your new book looks pretty cool – can’t wait to read it. Cheers!

  13. Vincent

    This was a brilliant piece. Weird as snake shoes, but brilliant. Alan reminds me of Joe Magarac, the steelworker’s Paul Bunyan. Joe was born in a mountain and made of solid steel, and could scoop up molten steel in his hands and squeeze out girders. All he cared about was doing good work (and stuffed cabbage rolls), because good work is worth doing. All the work Alan puts into the old house and into the WiFi network has the same sort of ethic: good work is worth doing. Thanks for more great reading!

  14. Elisa

    i just finished this today and i’m a few chapters into down and out. it’s a bit odd to be going through your work backwards and it’s probably spoiled me because thus far i love someone comes to town far more than down and out. i cried when mimi escapes towards the end (hopefully that was vague enough to avoid spoiling others). mimi and her unique… asset… combined with the multiple references to chekov’s gun on the mantle attribution had me dying with suspense. i was going to be horribly disappointed if there wasn’t some movement about her feelings towards the whole of herself by the end of the novel and luckily enough, there was :)

    also, in regards to one of the above comments about how to classify this story, i would certainly call it a fable more than anything else. a fable or an allegorical tale i suppose, whichever you prefer. certainly, most mothers get treated as washing machines, do they not? and it’s always far too late by the time we realize that we ought to be treating her as more than a washing machine. as alan discovers. it’s just all taken to a bit more of a literal plane than is typical.

    cheers and thanks for the excellent novel, cory :)

  15. David Vennik

    I absolutely loved this story. It was like mashing clive barker and william gibson together, but with that freshness only cory doctorow could bring. for a while there i really hated the story for the seeming inevitability of the evil in the story, but as the story closed i became very affected by it.

    i love stories that mix up genres. i used to read a lot of piers anthony stories and he was quite fond also of mixing the mystical with the scientific. douglas adams too, in a different way. many others i can’t name but i didn’t expect the mystical element so strong in a cory doctorow story and it was at first uncomfortable, but once it bedded in, very satisfying.

  16. Anonymous

    Friend of mine recommended this book. I thought it was quite the read, especially when the characters are almost exactly like some people I know from Kensington. With that note, it was also a bit creepy.

  17. Kevin McWhirter

    Wow! Much better than down and out. Would really like to hear / see your commentary on this one. I can’t help feeling that I am missing part of the message. Struggling with the symbolic themes.

    Did not care for the device you use where a phrase is repeated and parenthised text explains thought … Sorry.

    And what was with the name changes? Absolutely brilliant! I no trouble recognizing the different characters, but wished I understood more about the meaning behind that device and why a particular name was used in a given context – davey, Darren, etc.

    I will be reading this one several more times!

    Thank you!

  18. Jenn

    My 14 yr old son is interested in reading this. He loved “Little Brother.” Is this book suitable for a young adult? Thanks!

  19. Descontrol

    Greatest book yet, I’ve purchased all of the books and enjoy each and everyone of them! C. Dotorow is a FFing genious!
    I could picture the characters perfectly in detail, envision the house, area the main char. lived in, the actual dumpster diving and of course Mimi her perfect “curbs” ;)

    C. Doctorow is one hell of a writer, I can’t find the perfect words to express how good he is at what he does ;)

  20. Chris O'Regan

    Cory Doctorow’s third book. He delves into the Fantasy realm, and it gets a
    little weird. I was easily drawn into this strange story, particular to learn
    more about the protagonist’s family (his father is a mountain and his mother is
    a washing machine; he and his five brothers live in the caves inside his
    father’s belly). Typical of Doctorow, he also focuses on technology, and in
    this story it’s a free and open wireless mesh spanning a Toronto neighbourhood
    with plans to spread across the city.

    One of the dangers of writing about today’s technologies is that technology is
    changing so fast that what you think is the epitome of human creation today is
    obsolete tomorrow. There are many famous examples of this, such as Bill Gates
    predicting that no one would ever need more than 640K of memory in a personal
    computer. So, it’s important to read this novel in the time it was written,
    around the middle of the first decade of the 21st century.

    Some of the tech is dated, but the core of what Doctorow is talking about —
    the average person using the Internet as a social network — is quite spot on,
    especially with respect to issues such as privacy and fighting the
    “authorities” (the big telcos, the government, etc.) that have their grubby
    dinosaur grips on this new media.

    My only complaint is the ending. There is a twist regarding the protagonist’s family in the final pages, but we’re left hanging mid-climax. I won’t go into detail as I don’t want to spoil things.

    In the end, I really enjoyed this story. There are many threads to follow. Some were interrupted early on and simply picked up again where they left of way later on without a dumbed-down rehashing of what happened before. I liked how he played with the names of the protagonist and his brothers, and how he used the same naming convention with another character who shared their same uniqueness. I like how he used fantasy to describe the aloneness, the frustration, the awkwardness, the anger, the unusualness and freakishness, the hatred, the quirkiness, the love, the infatuation, the silliness, the intelligence and understanding, the loneliness, the self-pity, and the guilt to describe freaks and nerds and other social outcasts.

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