- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Head of Zeus (25 April 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1786693054
- ISBN-13: 978-1786693051
- Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.5 x 15.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Walkaway Hardcover – 25 Apr 2017
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'Doctorow has authored the Bhagavad Gita of hacker/maker/burner/open source/git/gnu/wiki/99%/adjunct faculty/Anonymous/shareware/thingiverse/cypherpunk/ LGTBQIA*/squatter/upcycling culture and zipped it down into a pretty damned tight techno-thriller with a lot of sex in it' Neal Stephenson.
'The darker the hour, the better the moment for a rigorously imagined utopian fiction. Walkaway is now the best contemporary example I know of. A wonderful novel' William Gibson.
'A hard-edged, intelligent look at our immediate future and the high and low points of human nature, incisive, compelling and plausible' Adrian Tchaikovsky.
'Doctorow is one of our most important science fiction writers ... In a world full of easy dystopias, he writes the hard utopia, and what do you know, his utopia is both more thought-provoking and more fun' Kim Stanley Robinson.
'Walkaway reminds us that the world we choose to build is the one we'll inhabit. Technology empowers both the powerful and the powerless, and if we want a world with more liberty and less control, we're going to have to fight for it' Edward Snowden.
'A beautifully done utopia, just far enough off normal to be science fiction, and just near enough to the near-plausible, on both the utopian and dystopian elements, to be eerie as almost programmatic ... a sheer delight' Yochai Benchler.
'Takes the idea of personalities as computer programs to its logical consequence, and envisages multiple copies of the same program – the same person – running simultaneously on different networks. This is the closest anyone will ever get to the fantasy of cloning identical human beings' Guardian.
'A bravura piece of storytelling, and marks a powerful shift in awareness and understanding, not just for the characters but undoubtedly for the readers themselves' National Post.
'The tech may be more advanced, but the politics feel familiar ... The overwhelming message of Walkaway is hope [and] right now, that could not feel more timely' SciFiNow.
'Proper science fiction. A warning of our times. An investigation of what it means to be a human today and where the future might take us' Nudge.
'Mr Doctorow's philosophy is passionately argued ... and the thinking is lively' Wall Street Journal.
'Cory Doctorow is one of the most exciting writers of Science Fiction currently working' The Bookbag.
'At times, Doctorow's worldview and the day-after-tomorrow world he's created in Walkaway seems a bit rosy, too trusting of human nature and digital innovation. But he's no more a wide-eyed hippie than an Ayn Rand-inspired libertarian, and his view of humanity is complex' LA Times.
'[Doctorow's] fullest, most important book so far, and a lot of fun even to disagree with' Toronto Star.
'I came to care about its characters. Doctorow somehow managed to make me feel their fear, hope, and love' Quill and Quire.
About the Author
Cory Doctorow is a co-editor of Boing Boing and a columnist for the Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and Locus. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. Born and raised in Canada, he lives in Los Angeles.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a book about using tech to step away from the capitalist system to recycle cast off and dumped material to be used by everyone.
Either way, it's book about two very flawed ideologies desperately being rationalised that somehow manages to never ask the question: What if someone isn't a brilliant coder or hardware genius? Where's the space for them in this high tech, computer driven world?
I'm not sure that I can go with the *detail* of the story, perhaps because I'm not sure if the technology will be available "whenever" to, say, fabricate better fabricators -- though I'm sure scavenging would be a viable option -- or whether we'd have to reinvent the loo roll, the toothbrush, and dry stone walling. There is a helluva lot of necessary infrastructure behind even moderately-complex electronics these days, and if that was compromised, we may find the whole house of cards come tumbling down.
Despite decades working with IT, I must admit that the old romantic in me still has visions of hippy communes and dreams of the sort of Shangri-La, away from everything in the Himalayas (or at least the foothills), found in James Hilton's "Lost Horizon".
Nevertheless, looking at the overall *pattern* of the story, I really can appreciate the realism, and if the opportunity arose I would be sorely tempted to "walkaway".
One thing that did throw me a little, on occasion, was working out who was speaking, without attributions like "Natalie said." Non-technical readers might also be scratching their head wondering what words like "pwned" mean, but that's not much of an issue, and definitions are only a click away.
As I say, "Walkaway" is well-worth reading ... and thinking long and hard about.
We have, or _could have_, if the zottas would stop clinging on, all the preconditions for abundance. ("Zottas" are the zotta-rich, the destination 2017's precious bus full of billionaires who currently own half the world's wealth are heading in.) So why not just walk away, take the tech we need to start again in abandoned spaces, and start afresh?
As always Cory creates a completely believable world just over the far edge of what is in sight on the technology horizon, and uses it (like Ursula le Guin, or Kim Stanley Robinson) to expose the structures and fault-lines of our tired and unstable social system. He doesn't shy from the huge barriers to positive change that hold us back, but neither is he scared to Think Big and to draw a better future in bold brush strokes that catch at the heart strings and raise the pulse.
Why do we need greed? Why do we tolerate riches in our increasingly finite world? It isn't where we came from, social and collaborative animals that we are. As one character says to a zotta:
“We’re not making a world without greed... We’re making a world where greed is a perversion. Where grabbing everything for yourself instead of sharing is like smearing yourself with shit: gross. Wrong. Our winning doesn’t mean you don’t get to be greedy. It means people will be ashamed for you, will pity you and want to distance themselves from you. You can be as greedy as you want, but no one will admire you for it.”
If I had to name a disagreement with this world view?Read more ›
‘Walkabout’ is not an easy read. Its prose style is pretty clunky in places and some of the invented sci-fi jargon requires quite a bit of decoding. However, I liked the use of words like ‘zotta’ to describe people who are so rich that they make billionaires look like paupers. Presumably, ‘zotta’ is a combination of the decimal prefixes ‘zetta’ (10^21) and ‘yotta’ (10^24). More importantly, the sometimes awkward style is totally forgivable in view of the many original ideas contained in the book. Perhaps the most interesting are riffs on the idea that it might one day be possible to scan a person’s brain and capture consciousness in computer software (‘I’m inside a box’).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dissapointment, the outline of the novel seemed interesting and I have enjoyed reading earlier work's by the author, this work however just seems like a long tedious lecture on a... Read morePublished 4 days ago by rattus Ivan
Some very interesting ideas but really badly written - I gave up about half way through.Published 10 days ago by Rev. Andy
Like most sci-fi, you have to suspend your disbelief. There are a few threads running through this - the end of scarcity through nanotechnology, and the concentration of wealth... Read morePublished 23 days ago by nevillek
I had expected hard sci-fi ... not a rambling teenage story. I doubt I will finish this. Most disappointed.Published 1 month ago by deep_learning
Entertaining as a story, and makes you think about things too! Although I thought it lost its way a little just before the end, it still manages to pull it off at the end.Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer