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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory…
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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (2003)

by Cory Doctorow

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1,806None3,884 (3.57)59
2008 (8) cyberpunk (45) Disney (57) Disneyland (20) dystopia (24) ebook (62) economics (15) fantasy (24) fiction (185) free (8) future (22) humor (16) immortality (18) Kindle (13) near future (11) novel (40) own (10) post-scarcity (12) read (48) science fiction (372) sf (75) sff (23) signed (11) speculative fiction (25) technology (13) to-read (34) transhumanism (13) unread (18) utopia (8) Walt Disney World (19)
  1. 00
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: A darker, gritter take on downloadable consciousness and replacement bodies.
  2. 00
    Mine All Mine by Adam Davies (MonographicalyMe)
    MonographicalyMe: These titles share an interesting mix of the absurd and fantastical and the real challenges and natural quirks of human nature.
  3. 00
    Extras by Scott Westerfeld (lampbane)
    lampbane: Another look at the concept of a reputation economy, where wealth is measured by how famous a person is, and the main character desperately wants to stop being an "extra": just another face in the crowd.
  4. 00
    Truncat by Cory Doctorow (jshrop)
  5. 00
    Scroogled by Cory Doctorow (Liberuno)
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Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
I really didn't get this book. He seemed to drag out and become difficult to follow. ( )
  alsocass | Oct 12, 2013 |
The key to reading science fiction seems to be waiting. The author throws out a series of neologisms that baffle the reader, and your only chance to catch up is to keep plodding along until context allows you to sort out the meaning.

The key to writing science fiction, then, seems to be finding a fine balance between explaining that context so the reader doesn't feel perpetually lost and falling into an information-dump situation.

Doctorow does a fairly good job of walking that line - the first few chapters, I was a little confused, but I waited it out, and was able to sort it out - and I was glad I did. The ideas he comes up with are fresh enough to be intriguing, practical enough to make you think, and imaginative enough to make you interested.

The story focuses more on the adventure aspect, and while the book does involve a murder, it isn't really a mystery - the killer is pretty obvious from the beginning and seems to be almost secondary to the storyline.

The only real complaint I have is that the book revolves around a central theme of preserving history versus accepting change - and there are several pointed cybertechnological anecdotes to underline that question. I would have loved to see more of an exploration of some of the philosophical ramifications of the technology presented, and indeed, two of the main characters start in on those conversations, but the storyline takes precedence and cuts it off before they wade too deep.

Which is not to say that it wasn't enjoyable - the storyline is fun enough to read in a jiffy, and even if the narrative doesn't really take the time to explore some of the neater aspects, it gives you the seeds and allows you to run with it long after you've put the book down. ( )
  kittyjay | Jul 11, 2013 |
Cory Doctorow's novella spins a tale set in the "Bitchun society" - a time in the future where death has been cured and money has been replaced by a system of respect/popularity points that's immediately accessible since everyone somehow has the internet in their heads now.

The "Magic Kingdom" referenced in the title is THE Magic Kingdom - the story takes place in Disney World, which has taken on an elevated importance in a world where people no longer have jobs or, essentially, purpose.

It's short and breezy, yet thought-provoking - despite all the changes technology has enabled, the main character clings to keeping the rides at Disney World in their original form and freaks out when someone threatens to update them. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 19, 2013 |
About a third of the way into the novel, I am hit by a sense of having been here before. The tone, the scenario, the characters seem familiar though I can attest that I've never read this book before. This may be a case of a book that is so influential and inspiring that it sets the standard for style and subject matter for later books. In particular, the transhumanist cyberpunkish viewpoint resounds with some of the books by Stross, Kline's Ready Player One, Reynolds' House of Suns, Vinge's Rainbow's End. I can guess what's going to happen next in the book but am still eager to read on. I am beginning to dislike the main character in this book, like Case in Neuromancer.
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Done. Bitchin! Quite a romp with very profound views on the future of instant data access, communications and social media. Close to the end of the book, I got to thinking, "If you have infinite energy, immortal lives, interstellar travel, why go to Disneyland?" But the Magic Kingdom does provide for a unique, easily accessible background environment that allows Doctorow more freedom to develop his ideas. The book's conflict among the main characteristics and the final resolution seem contrived, in fact the "Down" part of the title applies to the particularly morose ending, but these are not why I like the book. The book has much to offer in Doctorow's vision of social interactions and society in the picture. Just for this aspect of the book alone, I highly recommend it.
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Aside: After I discussed the idea of universal viruses with my young son, I inexplicably exclaimed, "Bitchin!" He gives me a quizzical look, perhaps thinking, "Is that an allowed word now?" I'd say only after one has read this book.
( )
  ricaustria | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is one of the Cory Doctorow books I've been wanting to read for a while, so I picked up a copy for my Kindle. It was a different read from what I had been expecting. I like how Doctorow sets up this completely futuristic world, but in the context of the Magic Kingdom, it still feels down to earth. I did have a big problem relating to Julius and Dan (Lil was the only character that I liked for the majority of the book) and their issues, although I kept reliking and disliking them throughout the course of the novel. I really did like the overall set-up of the book- Julius getting murdered, trying to figure it out- but once it got into his vendetta against Debra and her ad-hocs, that was the point I started not relating to the characters anymore. It was an interesting read, and does make me want to pick up more of Doctorow's adult work. ( )
  princess-starr | Mar 31, 2013 |
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I lived long enough to see the cure for death; to see the rise of the Bitchun Society, to learn ten languages; to compose three symphonies; to realize my boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World; to see the death of the workplace and of work.
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You don't want to be a post-person. You want to stay human.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 076530953X, Paperback)

On The Skids In The Transhuman Future

Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies...and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.

Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the keeping of a network of "ad-hocs" who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.

Now, though, the "ad hocs" are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents, and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.

Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now it's war....

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies...and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World." "Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the care of a network of volunteer "ad-hocs" who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches." "Now, though, it seems the "ad hocs" are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of Presidents and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself." "Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now it's war: war for the soul of the Magic Kingdom, a war of ever-shifting reputations, technical wizardry, and entirely unpredictable outcomes."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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