Dr. Gillian Taylor: Don’t tell me you don’t use money in the 23rd Century.
Kirk: Well we don’t.
— Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek may be a money-free universe, but they’ve always left blank the details of how scarce assets like a starship or a Picasso … or the Haunted Mansion might get allocated.
In this fun, fast book, the clearly talented Cory Doctorow explores a full-on reputation economy. With the help of a sophisticated, real-time network, people accumulate and lose a reputation currency called “whuffie.” The ideas are an incredibly rich playground, and the author doesn’t make you suffer through flat characters or clunky prose to get to them. On the contrary, these are totally alive characters set in a deeply conjured world (which world is Disney World, a place you can feel the author’s passion for). By the end, you’ll know the characters well enough to be able to judge what impact this new world has — or doesn’t have — on the fundamentals of human nature.
Cory Doctorow deserves much whuffie for this novel. Highly recommended.