Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
By Cory Doctorow
Tor Books, Hardcover, 9780765312785, 320pp.
Publication Date: June 16, 2005
List Price: $24.95*
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With Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe, Cory Doctorow established himself as one of the leading voices of next-generation SF: inventive, optimistic, and comfortable with the sheer strangeness of tomorrow. Now Doctorow returns with a novel of wrenching oddity, heartfelt technological vision, and human pity set on the streets of Toronto today.
Alan is a middle-aged entrepeneur in contemporary Toronto, who has devoted himself to fixing up a house in the bohemian neighborhood of Kensington. This naturally brings him in contact with the house full of students and layabouts next door, including a young woman who, in a moment of stress, reveals to him that she has wings--wings, moreover, which grow back after each attempt to cut them off.
Alan understands. He himself has a secret or two. His father is a mountain; his mother is a washing machine; and among his brothers are a set of Russian nesting dolls.
Now two of the three nesting dolls, Edward and Frederick, are on his doorstep--well on their way to starvation, because their innermost member, George, has vanished. It appears that yet another brother, Davey, who Alan and his other siblings killed years ago, may have returned...bent on revenge.
Under such circumstances it seems only reasonable for Alan to involve himself with a visionary scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless Internet connectivity, a conspiracy spearheaded by a brilliant technopunk who builds miracles of hardware from parts scavenged from the city's dumpsters. But Alan's past won't leave him alone--and Davey is only one of the powers gunning for him and all his friends.
Wildly imaginative, constantly whipsawing us between the preposterous, the amazing, and the deeply felt, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town is unlike any novel you have ever read.
Canadian-born Cory Doctorow is the UK coordinator for Creative Commons and the European Affairs Coordinator of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing, with nearly a million visitors a month; he also maintains a personal site. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 2000 Hugo Awards. His other books include two previous novels, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe, and a story collection, A Place So Foreign and Eight More.
Praise for Cory Doctorow
"I know many science fiction writers engaged in the cyber-world, but Cory Doctorow is a native...We should all hope and trust that our culture has the guts and moxie to follow this guy. He's got a lot to tell us."
"Cory Doctorow is just far enough ahead of the game to give you the authentic chill of the future...Funny as hell and sharp as steel."
--Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropolitan, on Eastern Standard Tribe
"Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar-a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)."
--William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, on Eastern Standard Tribe
"Doctorow throws off cool ideas the way champagne generates bubbles...[he] definitely has the goods to be a major player in postcyberpunk science fiction. His ideas are fresh and his attitude highly engaging."
--San Francisco Chronicle on Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
"Artful and confident...Like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Doctorow has discovered that the present world is science fiction, if you look at it from the right angle."
--Vancouver Sun on Eastern Standard Tribe
"Doctorow peppers his novel with technology so palpable you want to order it up on the web. You'll probably get the chance. But technology is not the point here. What is unexpected, shocking even, is how smart Doctorow is when it comes to the human heart, and how well he's able to articulate it....He seems smart because he makes the reader feel smart. When Doctorow talks, when Art argues, we just get it. There's nothing between the language and the meaning. The prose is funny, simple and straightforward. This is a no-BS book."
--NPR on Eastern Standard Tribe