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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 May 2017
I'm not quite sure where I picked up a recommendation for this book, but I'm glad I did as I've been able to add Cory Doctorow to my fairly short list of contemporary science fiction writers that I truly enjoy.

In this entertaining short novel, Doctorow takes on the classic SF question of 'What if?' for something that genuinely could come to pass - the no wage economy, where everyone gets the basics they need and it's up to them, through ad-hoc arrangements, to find ways to earn social credit to get more, should they want it. In a way, the social credit (known for unexplained reasons, unless I missed it, as Whuffie) is the equivalent of the rating system in the Black Mirror episode where everyone constantly rates everyone else. The other major change to society, which is far less likely to happen, is that when someone dies they are recreated from a clone which is imprinted with their backed up memory - so death becomes a minor irritation (unless you aren't entirely comfortable with a copy of yourself being a true replacement), while some choose to be put to sleep for thousands of years.

Our hero, Julius, ends up at Disney World, where he works with a group that help maintain and run a group of the attractions, in a period when some of the traditional attractions (the gem of his group's collection is the Haunted Mansion) are being replaced by direct brain access experiences. The main thread of the story follows Julius's attempts at guerrilla action to save his beloved ride in a world where social capital is everything.

On the whole the novel works well - Doctorow manages to be genuinely interesting about the challenges faced by a society where no work is required and lives are indefinite, while never getting into boring polemic. The storyline had some small issues for me, particularly when an outcome is flagged up very early - but I really enjoyed this book, which feels like the kind of thing Pohl and Kornbluth would be writing now if still around - no greater accolade - and I will certainly be trying more of Doctorow's output.
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on 23 June 2016
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 December 2013
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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on 2 November 2011
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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on 9 December 2015
This book felt clunky to me. It just kind of stumbled along and beat you over the head with its ideas, instead of making them a part of a really tight plot.
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on 1 February 2014
I have now read quite a few or Cory Doctorow's books and this is my least favourite. There is nothing bad about it just not as adventurous in scope as some of his other works. Still worth reading 4 stars.
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on 8 June 2017
Came quickly, an intriguing read.
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on 19 February 2014
Good book. Enjoyed it however it's not long and more far future than his normal near future sci-fi. Well written and nicely paced but lacks some punch. Vastly better than most books though
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on 13 September 2013
On first inspection I was inclined towards thinking that it would be a surreal, outlandish story, but Cory Doctrow has done a fantastic job of creating a very lucid and grounded drama just set in a very strange world.
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on 29 August 2013
Not the writer's fault I dare say but too offbeat and leftfield for my personal Science Fiction taste. Interesting concept ; poor execution
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