"It's only natural that Alan, the broadminded hero of Doctorow's fresh, unconventional SF novel, is willing to help everybody he meets. After all, he's the product of a mixed marriage (his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine), so he knows how much being an outcast can hurt. Alan tries desperately to behave like a human being--or at least like his idealized version of one. He joins a cyber-anarchist's plot to spread a free wireless Internet through Toronto at the same time he agrees to protect his youngest brothers (members of a set of Russian nesting dolls) from their dead brother who's now resurrected and bent on revenge."
8 Responses to “Plot summary, courtesy of Publishers Weekly”
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This book dazzles by walking a dangerous high tightrope pulled taut between the widely separated poles of the story. The fairy-tale childhood, with its startling yet archetypically resonant improbabilities, has to consort with the hacker realities of the Kurt-based story, which in itself is not overtly unlikely, but still slightly gonzo. But, like the best mashup tunes, Doctorow’s narrative wedges the most consensually disparate elements together into a brilliant whole.
Paul Di Filippo, SciFi.com