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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

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,034903,288 (3.57)69
  1. 00
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (erikrebooted)
    erikrebooted: A darker, gritter take on downloadable consciousness and replacement bodies.
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    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 84 (next | show all)
Cory Doctorow's first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, heralds the arrival of a major literary talent. On the surface just another science-fiction novel, Doctorow's prose practically crackles with intriguing ideas.

Jules is barely a century old. He is living his dream of working in and maintaining Disney World. Yes, that Disney World. In this future of no money, no worries, people work together in ad-hocs (groups that meet for a specific purpose). Leaders are determined by their Whuffie, essentially a popularity rating as determined by everyone living. In this future of fantastic concepts, the two most interesting and important are that everyone backs up their minds in a huge collective computer, and that immortality through cloning is not just a reality, but an everyday occurrence.

Early in the book, Jules gets murdered, which turns out to be the fourth time he has died. But it's the first time he has been killed. Jules' murder is just part of a fascinating plot centering around a war between two ad-hocs for the soul of the Magic Kingdom.

Cory Doctorow meshes all of these outlandish ideas into a novel of power and skill. His story is told on many levels, with a surprising complexity and the perfect touch of humor. Like all good science fiction, Doctorow tackles the issues of today, tomorrow. Morality, cloning, socialism, poverty, right to die, freedom of choice, pratfalls of hubris, and the cult of celebrity are all explored in what may be the best debut science-fiction novel since Neuromancer.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is not for everyone. If you prefer your literature linear or your ideas staid, then give this one a pass. Using the tropes of the genre to blaze a new path, it showcases the talents and skills that popular literature needs to survive and thrive in the 21st century.

This review originally appeared in The Austin Chronicle
Link: [http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid:148399] ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
This book is honestly a great read. It is short, but enthralling, especially if you love anything Disney. ( )
  JesEcho | Aug 26, 2017 |
Has some interesting ideas, but ultimately feels a bit lightweight. Suffers from fridge logic to a certain extent. A quick read. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 9, 2017 |
Underdeveloped adolescent frippery. The authors later works are much better, but then again they'd have to be considering how bad this is. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Like I often do, I went into this book blind, not knowing anything about the plot, and I assumed the title was some sort of a metaphor for a superficial society. In fact, most of the book is actually set within Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

My progress through the book went something like this:
1. At the end of the prologue, I was positive I would hate this book.

2. At the end of chapter 1, I decided there might be some hope after all.

3. Somewhere around the middle of the book, I realized my Kindle had permanently affixed itself into my hands.

4. When I finished the book, on the same day I had started it, I just sat there thinking, “How on Earth am I going to rate this?”

This is a science fiction story that takes place in the future, and life on Earth has changed a lot. Everybody’s brain is hooked up directly to an Internet-like interface that people can use to pull up information at any time. The way people react to you, to the things you do and the way you act, are instantly translated into a “Whuffie” score. This works as a sort of currency; there’s no longer any actual money. There’s also no more death. You can make a “backup” of yourself whenever you want and, if you die, a clone is grown and your memories are restored from the backup. This has become so common-place that nearly everybody will have themselves killed just to avoid sitting through a long trip in “real time”.

The world-building was pretty interesting. The characters were also interesting but, in retrospect, not very likeable. The plot itself is a little thin, basically centering on an argument about whether to change the attractions in the Liberty Square section of the Magic Kingdom. It doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting plot, especially to somebody like me who has no attachment to the Magic Kingdom whatsoever, but the book held my interest anyway.

I’m not sure how I felt about the ending. In the prologue, we were pretty much told how the story would end, but the reader doesn’t know enough at that point to understand what they’ve been told. Still, if you have any sort of reading retention skills, you’re probably going to know how the story ends long before it happens. It was the stuff that happened a little bit before the very end that surprised me more. I don’t think I was very satisfied by the ending, even if it seemed appropriate in a way. I like to at least see some sense of change, preferably improvement, at the end of a story, but I didn’t feel like anything significant had changed by the end.

I’m torn between giving this three or four stars. LibraryThing makes this easy; I can just give it 3.5 stars. But on Goodreads, do I round up or round down? I decided to round down because I don’t think I enjoyed this quite on the same level as what I would usually expect from a four-star book.

If you made it this far and you’re interested in trying the book, I found it for free at the author’s web site: http://craphound.com/ ( )
  YouKneeK | Oct 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cory Doctorowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Collica, MichaelDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eshkar, ShelleyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:26 -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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