Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
2003, Tor Books

Synopsis: 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....

The Good: The premise of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is really quite enticing, especially for anyone who loves Disney World. This futuristic dystopian showcases the World and it's own version of the world very well. The book is something special for that alone.

The Bad: I did not care about Jules. I strongly disliked both Lil and Dan. Worse, Doctorow comes up with this really cool world and way of life and squanders it. It sort of devolves into a soapbox about the importance of preserving history while throwing in a murder mystery that is more confusing than intriguing.

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