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Customer Review

on 21 August 2005
Enjoyable, but doesn't quite work. Disparate strands are roped together to make a workmanlike narrative, but the structure strains and leaves gaping holes. It's not properly cooked. It's not properly developed. It has the signature Doctorow themes of craphounds, unexplained freaks passing as human, and dysfunctional but loving families (of freaks). The technology stuff is vaguely cool but very incidental, and I kept wondering how the freaks were getting on.
Bits of it are brilliant. I loved the riff about house-renovation, the girl with wings is a great image (that cover art is fabulous) and other nice images come up. But I wanted to know what Alan/Alvin/Abe looks like. Why are the visuals so patchy? I could see Mimi, I could see Kurt, but the protagonist (whose manifest weirdness we have to take on trust) remains a cipher. I didn't get the feeling of a living, seething world. The illusion kept sputtering and fading and the grid kept showing through.
Worth a read, though. Wait for the paperback, maybe.
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