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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by [Doctorow, Cory]
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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk 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, Amazon.ca

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, Amazon.ca


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 339 KB
  • Print Length: 212 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 076530953X
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (31 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008TGL0EM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #272,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I guess I would – indeed I would get a bit merely by having read the book while my friends haven’t, and thereby knowing what whuffle is.
It’s a neat concept – in a world where absolute poverty has been eliminated, the environment has been sorted out, and nobody needs a paid job, what would serve as currency? Doctorow suggests it would be something like your reviewer ranking here on amazon, but extended to everything you do – do people “like” what you are doing with your life? A high whuffle ranking gets you into the best hotels, restaurants, theme parks. It sounds great – people would be effectively financially penalised for anti-social behaviour – a grumpy old man’s dream world!. But it could turn toxic as it does here, which makes sense – even in the present you see all too often that well-meaning voluntary organisations can be paralysed by ego-tripping board members.
The book is a little flawed, but it is an “important” read.
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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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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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By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clearly Cory Doctorow is a top bloke, with his activism and co-editing Boing Boing, so I was keen to read this. However although it is reasonably easy to read, I frankly just don't get it. The story takes place in Disneyland, in a future society where it is possible to restore yourself from a backup, and therefore live forever, everyone is online all the time, and instead of money you gain whuffie based on the esteem of others.

Some of these future societies are horrible but fantastic to read about, for me, this is just mehh. Similarly the characters and plot did nothing much for me. I found the book a real struggle to push on with, and was considering a 2/5 marking, but the ending was an improvement, which swung the mark up to 3/5.

Of course many people love this book, but it is not for me, sorry Cory.
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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.
Read more ›
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