A very good first novel. It is novel. It is grim. Dark and gritty are fitting adjectives. Perhaps the "grittiest" book I have ever read. The feminineA very good first novel. It is novel. It is grim. Dark and gritty are fitting adjectives. Perhaps the "grittiest" book I have ever read. The feminine lead looks nothing like the cover: unfortunately the publisher is apparently unwilling to put a "cockroach-colored" woman on the front. She makes Dirty Harry look weak.
On the surface it appears to demean Islam in some ways. There was a parenthetical reference to the Baha'i Faith as a dead offshoot (at least I interpreted it as such). The future was painted vividly, if apocalyptically. Look beyond the surface and it is condemnation of humanity and many religions, not just a future Islam. Find that in the colonial plot twists, if you dare....more
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow is what happens when a classic geek extrapolates the cyberpunk future of a reputation-based economy
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow is what happens when a classic geek extrapolates the cyberpunk future of a reputation-based economy combined with the extrusion of an open source ethos into the management of everyday affairs, tosses in immortality and lean project management, and sets it all in the context of the semi-religious experience of Disney World.
A well-crafted amusement park ride of the Disney-variety leads you through a thrilling story in a matter of minutes. The rider does not foresee the end of the ride; when it arrives, the rider disembarks enthused and ready to jump back into line. So it is with Down and Out; reading on the nook, where ignorance of page count is natural, I was stunned to look at the bottom of the screen and realize I was at the end. What a ride it had been! I wanted to exclaim out loud and rave about the book, but prudence restrained me from disturbing my fellow airline passengers.
I've been to Disney World twice in conscious memory, and I think once when too young to recall. Memories of Disney Land in the pre-K years also stir. That frequency outs me as a privileged middle class American. To those who haven't experienced Disney, I've been unsuccessful in explaining the awe and joy I still feel with respect to these parks. Explaining the mystique is like explaining Star Wars; those who didn't grow up with it rarely grok it. Doctorow's protagonist lets us in on one of the secrets: "The mark of a great ride is that it gets better the second time around, as the detail and flourishes start to impinge on your consciousness. The Mansion was full of little gimcracks and sly nods that snuck into your experience on each successive ride." In dialogue, in discourse, in contrasting experiences, the book makes a serious contribution to understanding the mythos without destroying it
Down and Out exudes love, joy, reverence for the cultural icon and the experience of Disney. And more imporantly – for the condition of being human. The characters are not paragons of virtue; they are human; no, they are more-than-human: immortal, altered, freed of many of today's physical and social constraints. But still they are human: petty, ambitious, caring, loving. For all of Julius's failings, I cared about him, my fictional friend who has started to realize the failings of the society he has embraced.
The book is only 208 pages, so give it a shot. See the present and the future in a different light. Consider the implications of technology for humanity while having a heck of a ride. Stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best Sci Fi around. Buy it, check it out at a library, or download Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom for free.
This first book in the series is, as some have commented, perhaps "simplistic". It is straight-forward and rather like reading one of the Sherlock HolThis first book in the series is, as some have commented, perhaps "simplistic". It is straight-forward and rather like reading one of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Except with familiar characters whose backgrounds you will largely know -- thus adding an entire universe with very little need for explication. It was a delightful, light read. No more or less than basic story telling, without moralizing, without trying to find some deep new insight into the human psyche....more
Briefly: very good, richly evocative as the other Otori books, and beautifully sets the stage for the rest of the series - both in events and the OtorBriefly: very good, richly evocative as the other Otori books, and beautifully sets the stage for the rest of the series - both in events and the Otori character. You see and learn about certain traits that run through the Otori lords that help explains their triumphs and downfall in the other works. This puts a new light on the last book in particular, making Shigeko's actions stand out as an overcoming of the negative traits. The book stands on its own, but makes sense as an after-the-fact prequel. ...more
The first time I picked up God Emperor some years back, I put it back down pretty quickly. It got weird. Too weird. After re-reading the first three DThe first time I picked up God Emperor some years back, I put it back down pretty quickly. It got weird. Too weird. After re-reading the first three Dune books recently, I had a greater appreciation for Herbert's attempt to explore the meaning of humanity and the arc of future physical and cultural evolution. This is one of those rare books that has very little in the way of plot, and yet keeps you turning the page. Herbert has a way of exploring concepts in every day language that is unparalleled....more
Gratifying as it was to find the origins of so many monster-story cilches, the writing alone makes this a worthy read. Do not let the pop culture surrGratifying as it was to find the origins of so many monster-story cilches, the writing alone makes this a worthy read. Do not let the pop culture surrounding this work dissuade you from approaching it.
Stoker beautifully employs the epistolary writing style; admittedly it gets a little strained at times, but it was enjoyable to read first person from so many different people. More than most writers, he manged to achieve a true separation in his characters: each has distinct idioms, voice, concerns. They are individuals....more