Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
By Cory Doctorow
(Tor Books, Hardcover, 9780765304360, 208pp.)
Publication Date: February 2003
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Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies...and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.
Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now in the care of a network of volunteer "ad-hocs" who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches.
Now, though, it seems the "ad hocs" are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln, and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself.
Worse: it appears this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival, after all.) Now it's war: war for the soul of the Magic Kingdom, a war of ever-shifting reputations, technical wizardry, and entirely unpredictable outcomes.
Bursting with cutting-edge speculation and human insight, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom reads like Neal Stephenson meets Nick Hornby: a coming-of-age romantic comedy and a kick-butt cybernetic tour de force.
Cory Doctorow cofounded the Internet search-engine company OpenCola.com and now works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. His weblog Boing (boingboing.net), coedited with Mark Frauenfelder and David Pescovitz, is read by more than 130,000 unique visitors every month. In 2000, the World Science Fiction convention voted him the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He lives in San Francisco.
"As much fun as Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and as packed with mind-bending ideas." -Tim O'Reilly
"Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is black-comedic sci-fi prophecy on the dangers of surrendering our consensual hallucination to the regime. Fun to read, but difficult to sleep afterwards." --Douglas Rushkoff, author of Cyberia and Media Virus!
"Cory Doctorow is one of our best new writers: smart, daring, savvy, entertaining, ambitious, pluggedin, and as good a guide to the wired world of the twenty-first century that stretches out before us as you're going to find anywhere." --Gardner Dozois, editor, Asimov's SF