Danny O’Brien

The novel takes a fast-paced gallop through a net-inspired utopia, where the only scarce commodity is your peer’s opinion of you, and where competitive acts of generosity are perpetrated by reputation-seeking gangs of marauding altruists. The novel represents such a pleasant ideal that you are happy to buy the hardback afterwards, if only as a physical memento of your online read.

Doctorow’s success must confuse the extremist wing of modern publishing, which constantly tells us how copies of works online are strangling new artists in the crib, while wrapping its own e-books and CDs in endless layers of copy protection.

If Magic Kingdom makes a mark, it will stand as proof that you do not have to treat your readers like suspected pirates to get what you want: a reputation, a living and an audience for your ideas.