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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Paperback – Dec 2003

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Paperback, Dec 2003
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (Dec. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076530953X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765309532
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,466,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Little Brother. He has won the Locus Award for his fiction three times, been nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula, and is the only author to have won both the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the Campbell Award for best SF Novel of the Year. He is the co-editor of, writes columns for Make, Information Week, the Guardian online and Locus and has been named one of the internet's top 25 influencers by Forbes magazine and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Cory Doctorow lives in London with his wife and daughter.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, things are not well in the land of Space Mountain. The operations of Disney World, in this glimpse into the near future, are administered by "ad-hocs", volunteer groups devoted to retaining the old-fashioned charms of the amusement park in a society that has otherwise undergone radical change. Now that you can back up the contents of your brain and download it into a fresh clone, death has become obsolete. And rather than acquiring wealth, people are concerned with earning Whuffie, a measure of good will and admiration among your fellow immortals.

As one of the people in charge of the theme park's Haunted Mansion, Jules has no shortage of Whuffie. While he's delighted with his job and his perky girlfriend Lil, he's increasingly suspicious of the ambitious ad-hoc that's just revamped the Hall of Presidents. "Ad hoc?" Jules grumbles at one point. "Hell, call them what they were: an army." After Jules is "killed"--for the fourth time in the hundred years he's been around--he realises that the Haunted Mansion is under threat, along with the rest of his beloved Magic Kingdom.

It's the sort of wild, tech-savvy premise a reader might expect from someone with Doctorow's CV--among other things, he's one of the editors of the popular Weblog Boing Boing and a 2000 Hugo Award winner for best new writer. Doctorow, a Toronto native who now lives in San Francisco, makes savvy references to recent SF landmarks such as Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age and Snow Crash, and fans of Carl Hiaasen may be reminded of the amusement-park warfare in Native Tongue and the anti-Mickey bile of Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World. But what Doctorow's first novel lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in terms of exuberance and appeal. The action is funny and swiftly paced as the increasingly unhinged Jules tries to discover the identity of his "murderer" and protect the Haunted Mansion. Along the way, Doctorow reconfigures society in a dazzling variety of ways and creates a future that he can call his own. --Jason Anderson, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.



‘Impressively imagined’ New York Times

‘Cory Doctorow doesn’t just write about the future – I think he lives there.’ Kelly Link

‘A kinetic, immersive yarn … wholly entertaining’ The Onion AV Club

‘He sparkles! He fizzes! He does backflips and breaks the furniture! Science Fiction needs Cory Doctorow.’ Bruce Sterling

Praise for Cory Doctorow:

‘Fresh and full of thought-provoking ideas, a book about tomorrow that demands to be read now.’ The Times

‘I’d recommend ‘Little Brother’ over pretty much any book I’ve read this year. Because I think it’ll change lives. It’s a wonderful, important book’ Neil Gaiman

‘A glorious book unlike any book you’ve ever read’ Gene Wolfe

‘A cracking read’ Guardian

‘Doctorow brilliantly shows us a near-future that’s equally wondrous, inspiring and terrifying’ BBC Focus

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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My girlfriend was fifteen percent of my age, and I was old-fashioned enough that it bugged me. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Julius has finally realized his life long dream of living in Disney World. He finds his job with the Liberty Square ad hocs to be fun and his girlfriend Lil keeps him feeling young. When his best friend Dan shows up, he feels his life is complete. But then he's murdered. Granted, it's only his third death, which isn't bad for being over a hundred, but he still takes it rather personally. He's even more surprised when he finds out that Deb moved into the Hall of Presidents while he was out.
Deb is leading a group that is slowly bringing all the attractions into the modern era with new technology. Julius and his friends oppose this because they want to keep the park the way it was in the 20th century, technology, storylines, and all. Julius feels he should take a stand, but what can he do?
First, the bad. Maybe it's because I don't read that much science fiction, but I had a hard time with the jargon of this book. For the first 50 pages or so, I was really struggling to follow the new terms the characters were using when discussing their lives.
But once I got the lingo down, I couldn't put the book down. The story is interesting with quite a few twists and turns. All the characters were interesting and well developed, but I especially liked Julius. He was easy to care about, and I had to know what would happen to him next. I'm a huge Disney fan, so the back drop of Disney World certainly didn't hurt either. In fact, it made me want to visit the park even more.
Cory Doctorow is definitely an author to watch. He weaves a good yarn in an interesting vision of the future. I'm already looking forward to whatever he has up his sleeve next.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 May 2004
Format: Paperback
I read the first 3 chapters of this book online, where the author and publisher have made it available free and legal!
After getting hooked into the world in the first three chapters I bought the book and Cory's other book of short stories. I flew through the pages and have just bought Eastern Standard Tribe!
If you live in the internet world then this book will strike a chord with you I am sure.
Great modern SciFi, great computer "geek" universe. And all based in Disneyland, fantastic!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Federhirn on 18 July 2010
Format: Paperback
First of all, thank you Cory Doctorow for making your books available under Creative Commons Licences, for free, on the web. Also, thank you Sony for the Reader - it makes reading free ebooks a pleasure.

That said, I will probably not buy a hard copy of this book. It isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but it did not stun or wow me. (Unlike Little Brother, of which I did not only buy one hard copy for myself after reading the free version, but various copies for schools out in the world, and which I tried hard to get my undergrads to read. I suppose that means the verdict is out on whether creative commons is a good way of promoting work - I think it is a good way for great work, but a bad way for middle of the range works...)

So, Down and Out... What is it about? It's set in a post-scarcity society. Nothing is scarce at all - unlimited energy, unlimited resources, unlimited lifespans (courtesy of a simple process whereby clones are made to order, and memories and minds transferred into them when the person dies - all people need to do is back up regularly). The internet / information is universally available, in people's minds at a thought's notice. People don't use phones or hardware - when they want to reach each other, they subvocally connect to the other's minds and hope they let them in.

Very well. No scarcity means no real economy - except, people have something a bit like a currency still: whuffie. It's their social standing, turned into a number. People check each other's whuffie to see whether the other person is worthwhile sticking around, or lower down the pecking order.

In that world, our hero lives in Disneyworld with his girlfriend, looking after some of the rides.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Tannenbaum on 23 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is not only a page turner, it's also a fascinating portrayal of how our social interactions will change in a digital world of plenty. When most commodities can be costlessly replicated, scarce resources like reputation, attention and skill acquire new value. This economy of regard has already taken hold in certain quarters of the internet, most famously in the world of open source software. Doctorow extends this structure to society at large and shows how an individual's fortunes can quickly rise and tumble with the fickle whims of the crowd. The challenges of affluence were never so apparent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patterns of Life on 2 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recently discovered Cory Doctrow, really liked a couple but then find one a bit of a slog & not so good. This title was my next purchase made with some apprehension & I read it in 2 sittings - haven't done that for a while!

Cory is not cyberpunk, but is exploring possible Earth near futures with tech usually at the heart of the issues/changes/problems the characters face. This novel is quite old fashioned in that it's not a wordy tome, I was using it as light relief from the latest Peter Hamilton Trilogy.... Some modern readers may feel the background & character details are a bit sparse therefore, but it means the story shines, and some of the repercussions from the tech on human society/crime etc. Read, 'nuff said.
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