Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Written by: Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Book Cover
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....
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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Reviews

Pace Smith
When all our worldly needs are met, where do we find meaning? Apparently, Disney World.
Jim
More of a 2.5 star read. The biggest issue I had was that I didn't care about the main character, Jules. Without liking him, the ups & downs of his life just didn't carry me along. Well, it was his first book & it wasn't bad for that.

It was an interesting world. The idea of reputation points (whuffies) is very similar to the likes on Facebook, but it is the currency of this world of plenty & immortality. ("The Orville", possibly episode 4, did something similar recently.) The overall More of a 2.5 star read. The biggest issue I had was that I didn't care about the main character, Jules. Without liking him, the ups & downs of his life just didn't carry me along. Well, it was his first book & it wasn't bad for that.

It was an interesting world. The idea of reputation points (whuffies) is very similar to the likes on Facebook, but it is the currency of this world of plenty & immortality. ("The Orville", possibly episode 4, did something similar recently.) The overall dissatisfaction & pointless of life puts a damper on the whole story & it's becoming true enough.

Not too long ago, a young vet shot what she thought was a feral cat & posted it on Facebook. The SJWs made sure her life was ruined. She spent years & over $100K to become a vet, but lost her job when she bragged about a legal shot. Unfortunately, it turned out that this one was just a house cat who had escaped for the day & no one really cares or seems to know what a damaging & invasive predator feral cats are because, you know... kitties! Sigh. One dumb move & she's been pretty much ruined. In Doctorow's world, she'd be down & out.

It's also short, so that's why I bumped it up to a 3 star review. The idea of immortality via clones & backups has been done before & occasionally better (Think Like a Dinosaur is perhaps the best & most chilling.) but he did get in the pertinent points.

It was fairly well narrated by the author. There were some technical hiccups; nothing too awful, a dozen short repeats & some annoying music to break chapters up.
Robin
Strong storytelling chops save a front-loaded debut from fizzing out. The first act promises a rich, broad world of fascinating and compelling new ideas, but the second and third acts settle on a narrow-focused, low-stakes whydunnit where the twist is obvious early on, nothing seems to matter along the way, and the characters all conform to expectations.

But for all that, this is still a good book. Shockingly prescient worldbuilding is woven into a thriller-paced plot that never gets boring. The Strong storytelling chops save a front-loaded debut from fizzing out. The first act promises a rich, broad world of fascinating and compelling new ideas, but the second and third acts settle on a narrow-focused, low-stakes whydunnit where the twist is obvious early on, nothing seems to matter along the way, and the characters all conform to expectations.

But for all that, this is still a good book. Shockingly prescient worldbuilding is woven into a thriller-paced plot that never gets boring. The conceit of post-scarcity humans literally living in Disney World is smart, and well explored. If nothing else, the novel can be read as a peek into a possible yet alien version of humanity's future, and for that alone it's worth the read. Hopefully Doctorow's later novels take the time to explore their ideas in greater depth, because the potential on display here is impressive. 3.5/5
The Long Run: A Tale of the Continuing Time :: Live from New York: An Oral History of Saturday Night Live :: At the Earth's Core :: Brokedown Palace :: Book One: Work, 1986-2006
Katie Robinson
I liked this book overall, but had some parts of it that I really didn't. I thought the depiction of some of some of the characters just didn't feel real enough at times because they didn't really show development in any way. With that being said, this is sci-fi, a genre that is not necessarily the most character-focused, so I think that there is a lot of leeway there. The world that Cory Doctorow created was very creative, surprising, and a little scary...all of which add up to make it an inter I liked this book overall, but had some parts of it that I really didn't. I thought the depiction of some of some of the characters just didn't feel real enough at times because they didn't really show development in any way. With that being said, this is sci-fi, a genre that is not necessarily the most character-focused, so I think that there is a lot of leeway there. The world that Cory Doctorow created was very creative, surprising, and a little scary...all of which add up to make it an interesting read, for sure.

Side note: Do NOT under any circumstances listen to the audiobook, unless you receive it for free. The author self narrates it (okay, fine) and I assume (based on Cory Doctorow's general principles around publishing) that it was at some point free for fans. It is now for sale by Recorded Books and frankly, they really shouldn't charge money for it since the sound quality is lacking and you can hear page turning (among other things) in the background.
Ericka
It plays with interesting ideas, but the small scale focus seems to waste a lot of those ideas. In the end it's just a petty squabble between two groups of rabid fans and a somewhat unsatisfying ending.
Benjamin
A short and fun sci-fi story that does a great job exploring the end state of tech driven transhumanism.
Scott Shjefte
Future perspective after life conquer death by brain backup copying into a clone. The 'hero' is somewhat of a dushbag which depressed me while reading the book. I guess except for the more violent mistakes he makes in the story it reminded me of the kind of mistakes I tend to make myself. The use of social status as currency was an impressively effective underlie to the tail and shaped the society extensively, it suggest to me what bad can come of our every increasing personal social media excha Future perspective after life conquer death by brain backup copying into a clone. The 'hero' is somewhat of a dushbag which depressed me while reading the book. I guess except for the more violent mistakes he makes in the story it reminded me of the kind of mistakes I tend to make myself. The use of social status as currency was an impressively effective underlie to the tail and shaped the society extensively, it suggest to me what bad can come of our every increasing personal social media exchanges including suicide. Although it also shows much in our society that can benefit from this intense peer pressure.
Eli Wilkinson
Although it pre-dates it by several years, this book is the anti ‘Ready Player One’.

RPO was really a desperate attempt to find (or maybe impose) meaning on fandom. Down And Out really gets to why people have their fandoms in the first place, and even better how they change.

The writing was very tight, and unlike a lot of sci-fi I’ve read lately, the characters actually have realistic, and healthy relationships. Can’t recommend this one enough.
Lucy Baldock
I’m really torn between rating this 3 or 4 stars but I think I’m leaning towards 3 for now.
Kayrah

I must go and visit Disney World some day to really know what the writer was talking about in terms of rides etc to get the real feel for it.

Book stirred up some feelings in me, and not warm fuzzy unicorns on cloud feeling. A sense of unease - I look at myself, going onto Reddit, acquiring karma/internet points, comparing this to the Whuffie currency in the Bitchun society. As much as I loved the technologies of HUDS, phone-integrated-into-cochlea, subvocalised phone calls, finger gestures to m
I must go and visit Disney World some day to really know what the writer was talking about in terms of rides etc to get the real feel for it.

Book stirred up some feelings in me, and not warm fuzzy unicorns on cloud feeling. A sense of unease - I look at myself, going onto Reddit, acquiring karma/internet points, comparing this to the Whuffie currency in the Bitchun society. As much as I loved the technologies of HUDS, phone-integrated-into-cochlea, subvocalised phone calls, finger gestures to move files to other users... it made me wonder. The more integrated we become with technology..the more we move away from raw humanity. If one has all these exciting feeds of data, information about the next big thing scrolling on the projected screens only you can see, well are you going to notice your upset child, your sick sibling, your emotionally wounded partner? At least for now we can still get 'off the grid' by turning off phones, laptops et cetera.

Is earning currency based on popularity, and others perceived worth of you a viable way to live? I see people with opposing unpopular ideas buried to the ground on reddit. If you're not hivemind, you're going to be destitute. Is being judged by a number by your name really a desirable feature? I know we are already judged by cars, clothing, weight, gender, sex, pay, job.... however..I do like to believe people still value a good friend, someone who will stand by you, someone with integrity, moral fibre...but in our electronic networks it is becoming increasingly easier to shut people out, just cut them out and leave them without closure. Have you had a friendship end abruptly, all channels of communication cut and yourself still wondering where it all fell apart?

I'm rambling. Back to the review. This guy tries to fight for the good of Disney and people just take a dump on him, backstabbing, jumping the fence,betraying his trust, bitchun' about him on hate sites.....
Stina
Book #26 for 2014.

This strange little book is a murder mystery set in a post-death society. And much of it is set at Disney World. After following Doctorow on Twitter (@doctorow) for a while, I've noticed that he has something approaching an obsession with Disney World. That seems like a very odd thing for him to have, and I meant to ask him about it at Anomalycon earlier this year, but I never figured out a good way to work it into the conversation, which was about far more interesting things a Book #26 for 2014.

This strange little book is a murder mystery set in a post-death society. And much of it is set at Disney World. After following Doctorow on Twitter (@doctorow) for a while, I've noticed that he has something approaching an obsession with Disney World. That seems like a very odd thing for him to have, and I meant to ask him about it at Anomalycon earlier this year, but I never figured out a good way to work it into the conversation, which was about far more interesting things anyway.

That's kind of how I feel about this book, too. As a murder mystery, it is a little disappointing. The structure of the story makes it pretty clear who's calling the shots. And Disney World really doesn't interest me all that much. But the story is fascinating as an exploration of a future that seems heavily influenced by Snow Crash and also calls to mind more recent works like Feed and Futurama. It examines so many bewildering facets of this bizarre landscape that it gets a high rating from me just for being so thought-provoking.

The economic system alone gave me lots to chew on. When I learned a few months later that there is a thing called Klout that actually attempts this kind of reputation-scoring system, I was a little freaked out. If it actually works, that is kind of frightening. And if it doesn't work, that is probably even more frightening. (No, I do not have a Klout account. Part of me is very curious about it, but a bigger part of me is very wary of it. And Scalzi and Stross both advise against it, which is good enough for me.)

So, yeah, the story itself is a little weak, but the book is a worthwhile read if you have any interest at all in futuristic economics and what social media really means to us as a society.
Tasula
I liked this book for the most part, but it was hard to sympathize with the main character (for me). The premise includes the concept that people have learned how to separate their "self" (aka brain, memories, soul, whatever term you feel applies) from their physical bodies, and therefore can be revived in another body from a backup "file". Money has been replaced by the concept of "Whuffie"- which is accrued by gaining respect or esteem from others- and spent on food, drink, etc. Of course you I liked this book for the most part, but it was hard to sympathize with the main character (for me). The premise includes the concept that people have learned how to separate their "self" (aka brain, memories, soul, whatever term you feel applies) from their physical bodies, and therefore can be revived in another body from a backup "file". Money has been replaced by the concept of "Whuffie"- which is accrued by gaining respect or esteem from others- and spent on food, drink, etc. Of course you can also lose Whuffie if you lose esteem through bad acts or alleged bad acts (not all publicity is good). So the main character who is already over 100 yrs old even though he looks 40 realizes his lifelong dream of living in Disneyworld (the Magic Kingdom), where he jealously defends his and his girlfriend's oversight of certain rides (The Hall of Presidents, the Haunted Mansion) against a revolutionary techno-crazy group which wants to revamp them to their own vision. It was hard for me to ally myself with our "hero" Julius and his group, which mostly wanted to keep the rides the same or maybe with minor tweaks after a long process of group consensus, versus the revolutionary group, which was continually pre-planning and preparing for rapid changes with state of the art technology. But still some neat ideas. Although for stories with similar concepts of storing your "self" somewhere other than the physical body you were born with, I think Morgan's Altered Carbon or Danvers' Circuit of Heaven were more enthralling.
Eric
I found it quite impressive that this book was published before social networking sites -- Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- became popular, as social networking uses measures of users' popularity in similar ways as Doctorow uses "whuffie" in the novel. Also of note is that the tangent of Jules's marriage to Zed predates the film The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, since there is a lot of thematic similarity there.

Doctorow is ahead of his time in a lot of the ideas he created in this book, but I found it quite impressive that this book was published before social networking sites -- Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- became popular, as social networking uses measures of users' popularity in similar ways as Doctorow uses "whuffie" in the novel. Also of note is that the tangent of Jules's marriage to Zed predates the film The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, since there is a lot of thematic similarity there.

Doctorow is ahead of his time in a lot of the ideas he created in this book, but one book I did notice he borrowed from, intentionally or not, is Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, as far as the idea of lesser desired jobs paying better to make sure they were done by members of society.

Getting back to Doctorow being ahead of his time, the copy of this that I read was a digital copy he released under a Creative Commons license on his website, "allowing the whole text of the book to be read for free and distributed without needing any further permission from him or his publisher." The digital copy can be found here.
Christian Petrie
I have only read one other book by Cory Doctorow, so was looking for another. Figured I would give his first book a try. Even though I give this 4 stars, it is mostly for the concept of the story and the questions it raises.

A bit of a background on the story. In takes place the future where man has learned to never die via backups and clones. This follows the story of one person living in Walt Disney World. The plot follows him trying to find a way to "save" the Haunted Mansion from being change I have only read one other book by Cory Doctorow, so was looking for another. Figured I would give his first book a try. Even though I give this 4 stars, it is mostly for the concept of the story and the questions it raises.

A bit of a background on the story. In takes place the future where man has learned to never die via backups and clones. This follows the story of one person living in Walt Disney World. The plot follows him trying to find a way to "save" the Haunted Mansion from being changed. However, the sub-plot is what makes this book interesting.

I say sub-plot, but it could also be higher level understanding of when does man stop becoming man and/or when does man die. In a lot of science fiction stories you have new technology that shows how life can be great, then something shows that it is not all that great.

In Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, it takes a concept to create immortality, and then it becomes an individual's choice if it is great, or you loose humanity in the process. This story make you think. It also presents two sides of those who enjoy life, and those who know we lost out humanity. The main character is there to see the argument from both sides.

If you want to think a bit more, then go ahead and give this book a try. Even if you don't, you might not enjoy it, yet you might still. It does come close to story that I can see people either liking it, or hating it. For myself, I enjoyed.
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
This book felt a little bit like fluff science fiction. Unlike most Doctorow books, this one isn’t filled with heavy themes or messages. It’s light and easy to digest, and yet, there was something about it that I found a little depressing.

On the surface, this seems like a light-hearted book. There is no longer death as people are “rebooted” to a clone body with their minds intact. As a consequence, death and murder and other crimes aren’t really a concern. Plus, the story takes place in Disney W This book felt a little bit like fluff science fiction. Unlike most Doctorow books, this one isn’t filled with heavy themes or messages. It’s light and easy to digest, and yet, there was something about it that I found a little depressing.

On the surface, this seems like a light-hearted book. There is no longer death as people are “rebooted” to a clone body with their minds intact. As a consequence, death and murder and other crimes aren’t really a concern. Plus, the story takes place in Disney World, the ultimate happy place.

And yet, I found this book lowered my spirits and left me feeling blah. The main character Jules isn’t very likeable. The overall plot seems a bit pessmistic. There is just something about the story that left me not loving it.

The only thing I really enjoyed was the concept and execution of whuffie. Whuffie has replaced money and is a number based on your influence and other people’s opinion of you. Do things that people admire, and your whuffie goes up, making you wealthy, but tick people off and your whuffie score goes down, making you poor. It’s the ultimate karma system where your actions are what count. It’s intriguing and exciting, and I really loved the concept.

Overall, this was not my favourite Doctorow book, and was actually probably my least favourite. An unlikeable main character with a fluff plot left me disappointed in the book as a whole. It was good, but not great.
Yvensong
Doctorow has created an interesting world and we observe this world through the microcosm of life in Disney World. Death has been virtually eliminated. Everyone is wired into the Net. There is no lack for manufactured goods, etc.

It took me a little bit to get into this, as I attempted to surmise what some of the made-up terminology meant, but once I got past that, the read was quick and entertaining. Doctorow's writing sometimes has an awkward turn of phrase, which is one of the reasons I'm not Doctorow has created an interesting world and we observe this world through the microcosm of life in Disney World. Death has been virtually eliminated. Everyone is wired into the Net. There is no lack for manufactured goods, etc.

It took me a little bit to get into this, as I attempted to surmise what some of the made-up terminology meant, but once I got past that, the read was quick and entertaining. Doctorow's writing sometimes has an awkward turn of phrase, which is one of the reasons I'm not giving this 4 stars.

Another reason I'm not giving this four stars is that the secondary characters felt a little flat, which seemed a little odd coming from the viewpoint of someone who has been around for over a hundred years. The protagonist seemed to have been a bit stunted in his emotional growth, more like an immature early-20-something year old, instead of someone who had created symphonies and had all the experiences he had. Maybe this was supposed to represent another aspect of this world where immortality was the norm. Could a world that holds no real dangers turn its inhabitants into constant Peter Pans? If so, that could explain why the protagonist never looked beyond the surface of this friends.

I hope Doctorow chooses to write more stories involving the world he created here. I would like to see other aspects, such as life in space, and what some of the other inhabitants are doing with their lives, and how others deal with all the options they now have.
Karen
What does a thriller look like when no one can die? Or even be injured for more than a couple of hours? The book is a fun romp--is the protagonist going crazy or not? Is there really a sinister plot afoot?

Doctorow creates a utopia (dystopia?) where everyone can back up their brain/soul/memories and have any body they want. Everyone is permanently connected to the network and they can program their body to inject hormones at specific intervals. Everyone has access to food and shelter. However, p What does a thriller look like when no one can die? Or even be injured for more than a couple of hours? The book is a fun romp--is the protagonist going crazy or not? Is there really a sinister plot afoot?

Doctorow creates a utopia (dystopia?) where everyone can back up their brain/soul/memories and have any body they want. Everyone is permanently connected to the network and they can program their body to inject hormones at specific intervals. Everyone has access to food and shelter. However, people will disdain you and you can't get access to the good stuff (like trips to outer space) unless you have high "whuffie". Whuffie seems to be generated by the esteem or sympathy or other pleasant emotion people have towards you.

No torture. No brainwashing. If you don't agree, missionaries may try to reach out to you, and you may be scorned by society, but everyone has the freedom to do whatever they want.

Rational behavior and manipulative techniques and stakes change in such a society, so it's fun to see Doctorow's thriller unwind and see how the utopia changes people's behaviors from a standard thriller. We also do get some flashbacks that show how the current state of affairs evolved.

Fun book overall, but I certainly could put it down in between chapters. I didn't feel any urgency to keep on reading until towards the end.
Jennifer Girard
I enjoyed this book in general but I had some issues with it...

Don't read it if you never went to Walt Disney World or at least Disneyland otherwise it would be confusing.

I loved the fact that this book was about Walt Disney World, if it was any other place in the world I would give this book a lower rating.

I don't read Sci Fi books, so this one out of my comfort zone! I didn't hated the sci fi aspects of the book but it was confusing at first since the world isn't well explained... I had to I enjoyed this book in general but I had some issues with it...

Don't read it if you never went to Walt Disney World or at least Disneyland otherwise it would be confusing.

I loved the fact that this book was about Walt Disney World, if it was any other place in the world I would give this book a lower rating.

I don't read Sci Fi books, so this one out of my comfort zone! I didn't hated the sci fi aspects of the book but it was confusing at first since the world isn't well explained... I had to figure the meaning of some terms by myself through the book.

Also I was disappointed by the lack of imagination of the author for some new things in the book. I mean this is a world when you can die and just be inserted into a new body but you still need a card to enter your hotel room? It's suppose to be centuries from now and not even 20 years after the released of this book it's no longer the case in Walt Disney World. I know he can't predict the future but it wasn't enough for me I guess... Think larger and bigger dude!

Also at one point he mentioned the castle in the park as "Sleeping Beauty Castle" instead of "Cinderella Castle"... Big turn off in my book!

I loved the new "money" system in the book. It was a great idea.
Julia
I liked Little Brother by Cory Doctorow very much, but this, his first novel, wasn’t to my taste. His main character Julius lives in a utopian corporate society without death, work or scarcity. He’d learned ten languages, composed three symphonies, was working on his fourth Doctorate, when he follows his childhood dream and goes to live and work in Disney World. It’s a better premise than reality, for me. Here’s a random paragraph from a random page.

“Lil shot me a cautioning look. She’d ceded t I liked Little Brother by Cory Doctorow very much, but this, his first novel, wasn’t to my taste. His main character Julius lives in a utopian corporate society without death, work or scarcity. He’d learned ten languages, composed three symphonies, was working on his fourth Doctorate, when he follows his childhood dream and goes to live and work in Disney World. It’s a better premise than reality, for me. Here’s a random paragraph from a random page.

“Lil shot me a cautioning look. She’d ceded the Hall to Debra’s ad-hocs, that being the only way to avoid the appearance of childish disattention to the almighty Whuffie. Now she had to keep up the fiction of good- natured cooperation – that meant not shoulder- surfing Debra, looking for excuses to pounce on her work.” (53)

I got this from interlibrary loan. I read it for a challenge from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group on Goodreads; my last book in the challenge.
John
Doctorow packs lots of ideas into this short, delightful novel set in a future when the cure for death has been discovered, and when what little there is you pay for not with money, but Whuffie—your reputation, basically, which can go up or down based on what other people think of you. Set in Disney World, where different “ad-hocracies” run the park’s rides to earn Whuffie, it focuses on intrigues in the battle between the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents to be the best experience in t Doctorow packs lots of ideas into this short, delightful novel set in a future when the cure for death has been discovered, and when what little there is you pay for not with money, but Whuffie—your reputation, basically, which can go up or down based on what other people think of you. Set in Disney World, where different “ad-hocracies” run the park’s rides to earn Whuffie, it focuses on intrigues in the battle between the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents to be the best experience in the Magic Kingdom. The descriptions of these two attractions—and the rest of Disney World—are spot-on (the park in the future remains pretty much unchanged from its 20th-century beginnings). If you follow boingboing.net, you know that every now and then Doctorow posts on the Haunted Mansion. That he’s a fan comes through clearly in the book’s wonderful details about the ride’s history, and the theories and strategies behind things like the time it takes to experience it (down to the exact second), and the organization of the crowds who’ll wait in line and move through it. A must-read for fans of theme parks, Disney, or sci-fi.
Alessandra
Whuffie, recreational crack use, rival ad-hocs...this is definitely not what I was expecting when I picked this one up! I originally read this in tandem with a visit to Disney World and, for some reason, expected it to be a memoir of a former employee or someone who had just hid out in the park for an extended period of time. What I got was a story about a man who struggles to find happiness and his place in a futuristic, merit-based society. I am always intrigued by others' visions of what the Whuffie, recreational crack use, rival ad-hocs...this is definitely not what I was expecting when I picked this one up! I originally read this in tandem with a visit to Disney World and, for some reason, expected it to be a memoir of a former employee or someone who had just hid out in the park for an extended period of time. What I got was a story about a man who struggles to find happiness and his place in a futuristic, merit-based society. I am always intrigued by others' visions of what the future will be like and this was just as interesting a proposition as any other. The setting of Disney World was an interesting choice as well (and having been there definitely helped with my orientation of the setting, since it plays a huge part in the plot). I found myself getting frustrated at times by the jargon that the author used, especially since he left you to figure it out as you read along. The story did feel a little disjointed at times as well. Nevertheless, this is a good option if you're looking for a departure from your normal choices.
Ryan
Fifteen years after its publication, I’ve just read Cory Doctorow’s first novel for the first time - the first of his novels I’ve read!

It’s fun, snappy and sparkly - in that sense, it’s certainly aged pretty well. There are no major anachronisms to knock a contemporary reader out of disbelief-suspension. A solidly enjoyable read.

On the other hand, the foundation of techno-optimism the story is built on seems shaky if not downright rotten in 2018. The characters aren’t exactly “likeable,” though Fifteen years after its publication, I’ve just read Cory Doctorow’s first novel for the first time - the first of his novels I’ve read!

It’s fun, snappy and sparkly - in that sense, it’s certainly aged pretty well. There are no major anachronisms to knock a contemporary reader out of disbelief-suspension. A solidly enjoyable read.

On the other hand, the foundation of techno-optimism the story is built on seems shaky if not downright rotten in 2018. The characters aren’t exactly “likeable,” though I think the main reason this is so it because they exist in a world where social media reputation has literally become so influential and so vital that it has replaced cash as currency. Literally anything goes, and thanks to the post-death, post-scarcity universe they inhabit, there are no real consequences. This might have been a beautiful dream back in the early aughts, but the cold reality of the last few years make it seem, in hindsight, perhaps merely naïve.
Laura
I love Disney. It's a huge part of my life. I love the films, I love the merchandise and I also love the parks so therefore this book was screaming at me to read it.

Am I glad I did?
No not really.

This book wasn't bad, nor was it good. It was just incredibly average in the sense that my interest began to dwindle about 50% of the way through.

I felt no connection to the characters - I love it when a book makes me feel as if the characters are not actually characters, and instead they are real pe I love Disney. It's a huge part of my life. I love the films, I love the merchandise and I also love the parks so therefore this book was screaming at me to read it.

Am I glad I did?
No not really.

This book wasn't bad, nor was it good. It was just incredibly average in the sense that my interest began to dwindle about 50% of the way through.

I felt no connection to the characters - I love it when a book makes me feel as if the characters are not actually characters, and instead they are real people. Down And Out didn't do that for me unfortunately.

Don't get me wrong, Doctorow has an incredible imagination. A futuristic world set in Disney World where people can't "die" is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately Down And Out just didn't cut it for me.
Adam
Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom is a light but fun story of squabbling post/transhuman immortals who live in a theme park(guess which one.) that reminds me of Bank’s Culture, Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, Stanislaw Lem, and Charles Stross. Not really reaching the heights of giddy invention of those (or the darkness lurking at the edge of Bank’s world) this is entertaining with well thought out ideas, especially that of a future that is basically an extrapolation of our present Myspace Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom is a light but fun story of squabbling post/transhuman immortals who live in a theme park(guess which one.) that reminds me of Bank’s Culture, Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, Stanislaw Lem, and Charles Stross. Not really reaching the heights of giddy invention of those (or the darkness lurking at the edge of Bank’s world) this is entertaining with well thought out ideas, especially that of a future that is basically an extrapolation of our present Myspace/Facebook/Goodreads culture, and a streak of absurdist/surreal humor. The only other Disney themed Sci/Fi I can think of is Howard Waldrop’s “Heirs of the Perisphere”.
Andy
This book kind of blew my mind. I don't usually like sci-fi; I went through a big phase in middle and high school where I was reading all the Bradbury, Asimov, et al., that I could get my hands on, but I haven't read from that genre in years and years. This is certainly a "novel of ideas," and the narrative arc was not all that satisfying to me, but it did what really good sci-fi is "supposed" to do - make you think about what it means to be human in a time when technological advancement changes This book kind of blew my mind. I don't usually like sci-fi; I went through a big phase in middle and high school where I was reading all the Bradbury, Asimov, et al., that I could get my hands on, but I haven't read from that genre in years and years. This is certainly a "novel of ideas," and the narrative arc was not all that satisfying to me, but it did what really good sci-fi is "supposed" to do - make you think about what it means to be human in a time when technological advancement changes all the existing paradigms of ambition and achievement. The concept of "Whuffie" will stick with me for a while...
Gary
If you like sort of post-cyber-punk, this book is one long lark. Set in the future when brains can be backed up and so death has ended (those who were against immortality ... well, they're dead), nanotech has ended any need for corporations (replaced by ad-hocracies) or for an economy for that matter (since all backed up brains can be read, the currency is other's respect for your, paid in the form of "wuffies"). Disneyland is considered the culminating high art of the last century and 2 ad-hocr If you like sort of post-cyber-punk, this book is one long lark. Set in the future when brains can be backed up and so death has ended (those who were against immortality ... well, they're dead), nanotech has ended any need for corporations (replaced by ad-hocracies) or for an economy for that matter (since all backed up brains can be read, the currency is other's respect for your, paid in the form of "wuffies"). Disneyland is considered the culminating high art of the last century and 2 ad-hocracies battle out their version of how to preserve this art. It's a fun story and one continuously running joke. Loved it.
Doug
Definitely wasn't my favorite book. Felt a lot of things could have been explained a bit better -- I feel like the whole book needs a glossary for several things because words were used in context where I feel like I understood what was happening, but then the same word would be used in a different context that didn't match my understanding of said word. I also didn't actually like the story that much. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't really care about the Magic Kingdom or what they Definitely wasn't my favorite book. Felt a lot of things could have been explained a bit better -- I feel like the whole book needs a glossary for several things because words were used in context where I feel like I understood what was happening, but then the same word would be used in a different context that didn't match my understanding of said word. I also didn't actually like the story that much. I didn't care about the characters, I didn't really care about the Magic Kingdom or what they were doing to it.
Crystal
I think I understand what Doctorow was trying to do, and the story was pretty compelling. However, it was a bit messy- I felt like it lacked a proper climax & the ending felt rushed and tacked on as a result. I also came away with the feeling that it could have gone so much further and said so much more. Lots of unrealized potential!

It's a quick read, so I don't see why you shouldn't give it a shot. I'm certainly planning on checking out some more Doctorow, if only to see if/how he's develop I think I understand what Doctorow was trying to do, and the story was pretty compelling. However, it was a bit messy- I felt like it lacked a proper climax & the ending felt rushed and tacked on as a result. I also came away with the feeling that it could have gone so much further and said so much more. Lots of unrealized potential!

It's a quick read, so I don't see why you shouldn't give it a shot. I'm certainly planning on checking out some more Doctorow, if only to see if/how he's developed since.
Mike
A clever thought experiment that, ultimately, doesn't live up to its promise, but nonetheless provided a largely entertaining narrative. The ideas more than the characters are what animate the novel. In his attempt to craft the post-capitalist world of the Bitchun Society, the author loses sight of the human element that could have made the story memorable. Recommended strongly if you enjoy speculative fiction à la Neal Stephenson and/or Disney World, otherwise set it in your reading queue and c A clever thought experiment that, ultimately, doesn't live up to its promise, but nonetheless provided a largely entertaining narrative. The ideas more than the characters are what animate the novel. In his attempt to craft the post-capitalist world of the Bitchun Society, the author loses sight of the human element that could have made the story memorable. Recommended strongly if you enjoy speculative fiction à la Neal Stephenson and/or Disney World, otherwise set it in your reading queue and come back to it later.
Valerie
Whenever I read a Cory Doctorow book, I start out skeptical about the tone and subject of the book and then I am won over and really enjoy the book. I don't really know a lot about Disney, but I went when I was 11 and had a nice time. The setting is perfect and I loved the futuristic mixed in with the familiar, which I would say is Doctorow's specialty. I wish I went with my family when they went to Disney World--they got back right before I started reading this book.
AndrewP
The first book by this acclaimed author and the my first read of is work.

A very interesting story with a rather unique setting. In the future, a group of die hard fans fight to keep the nostalgia of the original hunted mansion in Florida DisneyWorld. There are lots of though provoking ideas in this book and it comes down to a commentary on change and/or resisting change and the consequences of such actions.

A short read and I would give it three and a half stars if that was possible.
Lou Robinson
I liked it, mainly because it was set in Disney World, and focussed on The Haunted Mansion, which has to be my favourite ride there (I've even read a book on the development of it over the years). But, I agree with James, it was a little too quick to wrap up, did seem like the author was sure how to round it up. Interesting concept though.
Gregory S.
This had the potential to be a really intriguing novel, but I rather felt the author was more interested in presenting the ideas around which the story revolves than in creating a really compelling set of characters and plot. It's a good read; just not as good as it could be. Not as good as the ideas contained in story deserve.
Meg Elison
I love Cory Doctorow as a person, blogger, and kind of hero. But I cannot find it in me to like his books. This is messy, lacks focus, and features some painfully obvious and tortured symbolism. As I've noted before, he needs a skilled editor. This will be the last time I read him, because I hate saying not-nice things about such a great guy.
Adam
Hmm. That's pretty much my reaction to this book!
Not the best read. I found it hard to identify with the characters and the storyline. I just kept thinking to myself, do I really care what happens?
I will forget about this book in two days.
Sorry.
The Tick
There was something about the plot that I just didn't buy, although I can't really put my finger on what it was. I was also really unhappy with the ending.
Jefferson
A charming, well-imagined, and enjoyable novel. Set in a future where humans can download and reboot their consciousness, people are now, essentially, immortal. Other advances have made it post-scarcity as well, so basically everyone is free to pursue their interests at their leisure. Sure, this can lead to a certain amount of ennui, but that's the price of god-like freedom.

Our hero, Julius, has 5 PhDs, composed three symphonies, cavorted in space, etc. etc. etc. and is now living another dream A charming, well-imagined, and enjoyable novel. Set in a future where humans can download and reboot their consciousness, people are now, essentially, immortal. Other advances have made it post-scarcity as well, so basically everyone is free to pursue their interests at their leisure. Sure, this can lead to a certain amount of ennui, but that's the price of god-like freedom.

Our hero, Julius, has 5 PhDs, composed three symphonies, cavorted in space, etc. etc. etc. and is now living another dream: as a member of Liberty Square ad-hoc at Disney World. An ad-hoc, you see, is a group who revolted and overthrew the elitists that had claimed Disney World for their own, different groups run the sections of Disney World as a family business. Or perhaps as a religious calling, or a royal obligation: membership is through family lineage, or by special vote. Julius now spends his days with his girlfriend, Lil, the daughter of one of the original ad-hoc revolutionaries. They keep the rides (Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Tom Sawyer's Island) running for the tourists. Until another group commits murder (totally reversible, now) and takes over the Hall of Presidents for their own.

The humor is droll and the plot is engaging, but there is more to the novel than a fantasy future... the philosophical questions of what makes a life worthwhile and how you define yourself through your passions is relevant even in our own mortal lives.
Thorny
I'm a sucker for the Magic Kingdom, and even stories set there. This one takes place a good century and a half into our future, where the Hall of Presidents has just been revamped into a virtual history class download "flashbaked" into the audiences' brains. And the group who has just done that, and turned the Pirates of the Caribbean into a simulator ride has its sights set on the Haunted Mansion next. I thought for sure that the main character Julius was destined to die and become the ghost fo I'm a sucker for the Magic Kingdom, and even stories set there. This one takes place a good century and a half into our future, where the Hall of Presidents has just been revamped into a virtual history class download "flashbaked" into the audiences' brains. And the group who has just done that, and turned the Pirates of the Caribbean into a simulator ride has its sights set on the Haunted Mansion next. I thought for sure that the main character Julius was destined to die and become the ghost for which there is "always room for one more", as his passion is keeping the Haunted Mansion in its original form, or thereabouts, but so many people want him dead for his efforts, I didn't see any way he'd escape becoming a permanent fixture there himself. I think that might have been a more fitting ending for the story than the one we were given, but the one we were given probably matches this book a little better than mine anyway. Mine is a neater ending, but this is a messy story that probably wouldn't have rung true to others had it ended my way.
Rick Kohut
I really like the premise of the story and how it is realized in the world-building by the author. In this case the world is the Magic Kingdom of Disney World - a place for which I too have great affection. Doctorow's trans-human future of embedded, always on devices is interesting - particularly in how this networking allows for the currency of the future to be how much popularity one is able to generate from those encountered. I found the idea of backing up one's being, killing the body, and p I really like the premise of the story and how it is realized in the world-building by the author. In this case the world is the Magic Kingdom of Disney World - a place for which I too have great affection. Doctorow's trans-human future of embedded, always on devices is interesting - particularly in how this networking allows for the currency of the future to be how much popularity one is able to generate from those encountered. I found the idea of backing up one's being, killing the body, and placing consciousness into a cloned body both intriguing and terrifying. And the way the Magic Kingdom is sketched and developed is pretty awesome too.

My rating dropped though as I made it through a rather pedestrian plot to a conclusion which was both odd and incongruous to the rest of the story. I'd like to visit this world again in a sequel, but one which emphasizes both plot and environment.
Cindy Guerrero
I liked this book even though I prefer reading books about Romance or of other cultures. When I first saw the title, I thought it was going to be about Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella etc. This book gives you the Counter Narrative of the Magical Kingdom. The book is all about the process of the beautiful places at Disney World like Hall Of Presidents, The Haunted Mansions etc. One thing that surprised me was that the people who are at Disney World, don't make a big deal about I liked this book even though I prefer reading books about Romance or of other cultures. When I first saw the title, I thought it was going to be about Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella etc. This book gives you the Counter Narrative of the Magical Kingdom. The book is all about the process of the beautiful places at Disney World like Hall Of Presidents, The Haunted Mansions etc. One thing that surprised me was that the people who are at Disney World, don't make a big deal about death but I mean they do live in a society where they have more advanced technology than modern day technology. Although, it is not that different from today's society. They still care about Social Status and other things, on the other hand they have it easier than most of us. This book might seem confusing because this book sure does have a lot of plot twists.
James Mason
I really liked the world that this book built. But as I've seen in other reviews, the stakes in the plot were rather low. Part of me likes that: it's nice to have some diversity in plots and this wasn't just another "omg the whole universe is at risk". Also, I've only been to Disneyland once (at age 18, so I wasn't very impressed compared to Great America, 6 Flags, etc) and I've never been to Disney World, so any nostalgia was lost on me. I liked the idea of Whuffie, which was basically an exten I really liked the world that this book built. But as I've seen in other reviews, the stakes in the plot were rather low. Part of me likes that: it's nice to have some diversity in plots and this wasn't just another "omg the whole universe is at risk". Also, I've only been to Disneyland once (at age 18, so I wasn't very impressed compared to Great America, 6 Flags, etc) and I've never been to Disney World, so any nostalgia was lost on me. I liked the idea of Whuffie, which was basically an extension of reputation on stackoverflow. I liked the casual take on the integration of technology and our biology. I also thought it was funny and accurate when he stated a couple of times that all of the objectors eventually just died. The book was brief and often a page turner despite my above reservations.
David
A recurring theme in this book's reviews here is the discussion between those that say the book is shallow vs. those that claim is deeper than it looks. I'm not sure to align with either side 100%.

I liked the story but I don't think it's memorable. It helps to consider that this was Doctorow's first book, so his style wasn't that polished yet.

If anything, I felt it was kind of disjointed at times and I think the details of the post-scarcity/post-human society he describes could have been more e A recurring theme in this book's reviews here is the discussion between those that say the book is shallow vs. those that claim is deeper than it looks. I'm not sure to align with either side 100%.

I liked the story but I don't think it's memorable. It helps to consider that this was Doctorow's first book, so his style wasn't that polished yet.

If anything, I felt it was kind of disjointed at times and I think the details of the post-scarcity/post-human society he describes could have been more elaborate. In any case, he's into the "show-don't-tell" camp.

Also, don't lose sight of the fact that this was one of the first, if not the first, Creative Commons-licensed book to be freely available on the Net. A milestone work.

Whatever the case, I will look forward to read more Doctorow's books soon. I'm sure the potential has been realized.
A.N. Mignan
Brilliant! I did first read about it on a Wired or Boing-boing article a few years back. It was tagged as the best sci-fi story of the 2000s. I was suspicious... but from the first sentences, I understood that it would deliver. The concept of Whuffie is prophetic, imagined a year before Facebook got launched and many years before the “Likes” currency. I now wonder if the Black Mirror “Nosedive” episode was inspired by it. One question I still have, why does the plot revolve around Disney World? 1) Brilliant! I did first read about it on a Wired or Boing-boing article a few years back. It was tagged as the best sci-fi story of the 2000s. I was suspicious... but from the first sentences, I understood that it would deliver. The concept of Whuffie is prophetic, imagined a year before Facebook got launched and many years before the “Likes” currency. I now wonder if the Black Mirror “Nosedive” episode was inspired by it. One question I still have, why does the plot revolve around Disney World? 1) because why not? 2) because the author is a Disney fan, 3) to prove that a post-scarcity society bored to death can be devoted to futile endeavours, yet leading to stressful life-or-death situations.
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
So, I think this si my first Cory Doctrow book and I read it partially because I heard that it was a partial inspiration for the functioning of Reddit (whuffie being the inspiration for down and upvotes, and not apparently being currency until way at the end). I enjoyed it. The writing style is irregular. Or the character is irregular, since we're essentially living in their head. It reminds me a bit of Fear and Loathing, a pinch of Fight Club and a lot of Charles Stross. What with the "every re So, I think this si my first Cory Doctrow book and I read it partially because I heard that it was a partial inspiration for the functioning of Reddit (whuffie being the inspiration for down and upvotes, and not apparently being currency until way at the end). I enjoyed it. The writing style is irregular. Or the character is irregular, since we're essentially living in their head. It reminds me a bit of Fear and Loathing, a pinch of Fight Club and a lot of Charles Stross. What with the "every restaurant in the future is Taco bell" feel to it. Sci fi cloaked as a novel about a person trying to come to grips with the meaning of life. Very interesting. I'm looking forward to read more of Doctrow's work.
Debbie
This was a very challenging story for me to get through because I did not like the main character, Jules, he was boorish and angry most of the story. He did the stupidest things repeatedly, basically breaking down what others were trying to build up. His girlfriend Lil was no better in her shallowness and then there was Jules’ best friend Dan, who never does seem quite right. The technology part of the story was very interesting. In the future there is no need for medicine because you just get y This was a very challenging story for me to get through because I did not like the main character, Jules, he was boorish and angry most of the story. He did the stupidest things repeatedly, basically breaking down what others were trying to build up. His girlfriend Lil was no better in her shallowness and then there was Jules’ best friend Dan, who never does seem quite right. The technology part of the story was very interesting. In the future there is no need for medicine because you just get yourself a brand new clone and update the internal computer from your previous body’s backup, voila you’re good as new. So, only three stars because, although the world building is fantastic and the technology is masterfully detailed, it is within is somewhat annoying story.
Raymond Just
A lean and clever tale, sure to intrigue any fan of Disney. And like a good Disney movie, it posits some deep and interesting questions beneath it's external plot line. Without giving too much away, in a world in which people never die (they just keep backing up their mind and memory and downloading themselves to new bodies when they get old or sick), this is the story of Julius, a member of an "ad-hoc" which is in charge of keeping the Haunted Mansion "bithchun." Loads of character development A lean and clever tale, sure to intrigue any fan of Disney. And like a good Disney movie, it posits some deep and interesting questions beneath it's external plot line. Without giving too much away, in a world in which people never die (they just keep backing up their mind and memory and downloading themselves to new bodies when they get old or sick), this is the story of Julius, a member of an "ad-hoc" which is in charge of keeping the Haunted Mansion "bithchun." Loads of character development on display here, as well as murder, intrigue and a proper who dun it. Well worth the few hours it will take you to race through this one.
Sara G
This book is set in an anti-dystopian near future. Scarcity and death have been conquered by science, money/accessibility to things are fully controlled by a social credit system similar to the one being pioneered in China, and our protagonist is living out his lifelong dream of living in Disney World. One Bitchun Society, am I right? The pun was a little painful, but it works.

The real story here, aside from all of the great Disney references (the author must be a huge fan, as I am)is the natur This book is set in an anti-dystopian near future. Scarcity and death have been conquered by science, money/accessibility to things are fully controlled by a social credit system similar to the one being pioneered in China, and our protagonist is living out his lifelong dream of living in Disney World. One Bitchun Society, am I right? The pun was a little painful, but it works.

The real story here, aside from all of the great Disney references (the author must be a huge fan, as I am)is the nature of morality in a society where what people think of you is the only form of currency, and death is no object. Human nature doesn't really change. It's a quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Molokov
Short and punchy, this book is a great look at a possible future where people can be restored from backup if they die, are constantly connected to the 'net, and live on reputation (Whuffie) alone instead of money. Our protagonist Julius fulfils a life-long dream and works at Disney World, maintaining the century-plus old rides as part of the Park's ad-hocracy. I suspect I may have enjoyed this even more if I was more familiar with the Disney World rides (not going until next year!) but neverthel Short and punchy, this book is a great look at a possible future where people can be restored from backup if they die, are constantly connected to the 'net, and live on reputation (Whuffie) alone instead of money. Our protagonist Julius fulfils a life-long dream and works at Disney World, maintaining the century-plus old rides as part of the Park's ad-hocracy. I suspect I may have enjoyed this even more if I was more familiar with the Disney World rides (not going until next year!) but nevertheless it's an interesting sci-fi journey through a mix of nostalgia for the past and embracing the tech of the future, and why it's not necessarily a good idea to go to one extreme or the other.
Shawn Falkner-Horine
Imagine artistic reputation as currency, implemented via online humans, manifested in the mecca of fully-interactive entertainment. Now imagine the tension between creation and preservation in such and environment.

Cory quickly sets up an entertainingly-themed attraction, invites you to ride with him for awhile, then thanks you as you leave. It's a journey of passionate imagination, through highs and lows.

That being said, I liked the environment and the themes more than I liked the story itself.
Ross
I like to read books about the place where I’m visiting before/during my travels, so when I found this in a used bookstore a few years ago I bought and saved it for my inevitable Disney trip with the kids. We just did the Disney World and Disney Cruise tour and, as it turns out, this was the perfect Disney vacation read. Just enough sci-fi and adventure to satisfy my usual reading preferences (and keep me interested) with a healthy (but not to a creepy degree) dose of Disney love and nostalgia.
Dustin
I remember seeing this book in the Barnes & Noble of my hometown many years ago and nearly picking it up for the title alone. Unfortunately, the title is the best part of the book. The ideas and storytelling are both improved upon in his later books. I recommend Walkaway and Little Brother for starters.

If you're just here for the Disney, you're in for a treat. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes details about Disney World employees ("cast members") and famous rides like The Haunted Mansion. I remember seeing this book in the Barnes & Noble of my hometown many years ago and nearly picking it up for the title alone. Unfortunately, the title is the best part of the book. The ideas and storytelling are both improved upon in his later books. I recommend Walkaway and Little Brother for starters.

If you're just here for the Disney, you're in for a treat. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes details about Disney World employees ("cast members") and famous rides like The Haunted Mansion. It's clear that Cory did his research.
Carlos Llanos
I liked the universe more than the story. The concepts of Whuffie, ad-hocracy and and a reputation economy are intriguing. The setting is also dark in the way that Disney represents the best and the worst in society. I feel Julius' story falls short of exploring all the possibilities that exist and their implications. Maybe a sequel/sidequel/prequel could really dig deeper in all the different aspects of the Bitchun society.
Eric Smith
A mystery and romance in a post-scarcity world, when time scarcity is gone thanks to clinical immortality, labor scarcity has disappeared thanks to automation and artificial intelligence, and material and energy scarcity are dispelled by high technology and interstellar scale systems of trade. An exploration of transhumanism and the centrality of culture and politics over economics that happens to be a hell of a read.
Leslie
I've never been to either Disneyland or Disney World, but after a lifetime of hearing about them, plus two summers working at Kings Island, it wasn't hard to get into this weird, fun little book. With our "handhelds" and our fixation with getting feedback from social media, we're also not so far off from being permanently online and uploading to newer versions of ourselves. Cory Doctorow is great at taking what seems like it should be the far future and making it feel very familiar.
Ed Hatfield
This was an enjoyable read overall but it wasn't quite as good as Walkaway, which was my introduction to Cory Doctorow as an author. That's not a surprise - Walkaway was published 14 years earlier. I suppose if you wanted a greater enjoyment from both it would be better to read this first, and then Walkaway - Walkaway feels like a more detailed and rounded out version of the same ideas and philosophies. That said, I liked the unclear resolution and the lack of a quick-fix happy ending.
S. McGeady
This may have been the first Doctorow book I read, and I really enjoyed the vision of it. I think I picked it up after reading the (very different) "Civilwarland in Bad Decline" by George Saunders.

This one is a murder mystery that takes place in revived Disneyland in a post-scarcity culture. Oh, and the protagonist is the one solving his own murder. Yeah, I know, but it comes across as very fresh.
Brad
This book wasn't bad. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I wouldn't have gone with the Audiobook version. I don't know if it was because it was an earlier novel of his, but the author voiced the novel and I didn't particularly like his voiceover. I've loved Little Brother, but I actually read that book vs listened to it. The concept was interesting, but Cory should stick to just writing the books and not voicing them.
Nick Martin
Listened to an audio book of this in just a few days. So good! A murder mystery with a huge sci-fi twist, our main character tries to figure out who killed him before his brain rebooted. The murder was staged to take over rides at Disneyworld, now run like a commune! Even though it's Doctorow's first, it is still a great novel!
Elling Borgersrud
Almost like an utopian novel, in that the society that this novel is set to is a.. Well.. At least a form of post-capitalist hight-tech society. Has some good ideas.
The hero is not a very likable type, and that makes it a bit hard to read.
But novels from a sort-of communist society is not commonplace, so there's that!
Sean McKenzie
One thing I very much appreciate about Doctorow's work is the efficiency of his writing. Down and Out is not a long novel, but it's an effective and entertaining one, that manages to tackle some big issues--such as exploring what people would be like if permanent death wasn't really an issue anymore.
Joe Jungers
So - let's say you lived in a world where you didn't need to worry about the everyday humdrum of making ends meet - not even worried about the eventuality of death.

You traveled to plenty to strange, exotic places.
You learned lots of stuff.
You done a load of interesting things.

What do you do next?

The answer, my friend, is simple.

You go to Disneyland.
Valerie
This is not a very long book, and yet it still set up an interesting future world dynamic. This was the best part of the book, the speculative side. The characters themselves seemed a bit whiny and narcissistic.

The story wasn't bad, but a bit anticlimactic.
Facetwitt
Read about 5 years a ago. I would have to read it again for a proper rating, and I don't remember liking it enough for that to be a high priority. Definitely a must read if you haven't yet and like Doctorow!
Nick
Wonderfully creative science fiction. I would have liked a little more character development, and I think he could have fleshed out the backstory a little more, but the story itself was solid and engaging.
Christina C.
I'm not sure about the plot, but the setting was a blast. It's a fun twist on the WDW we all know and love. It's particularly interesting to see how real life changes to the park stack up against the futuristic view of it as imagined in 2002.
Daniel
I like the way Cory Doctorow writes. His plotting is pretty good. His characters are believable. Unfortunately, he doesn't build a believable world. Choosing street cred, whuffie, as the currency of his utopian future simply did not work and detracted from the rest of the story.
Jason Tank
I liked the worldbuilding. There are a lot of interesting stories to be had in a world like that. I'm not so sure this was one of them, though. Entertaining enough and thought-provoking, but the story itself is merely ok.
Tony Habib
Very cool book that uses the setting of the Magic Kingdom in a creative way
Julia Gisch
Really interesting and thought-provoking vision of the future, plus the sweet nostalgia for someone who grew up in central Florida and has Disney in her blood.
Dawn
What if a reputation economy replaced money?
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