Morgan's Reviews > Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow
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's review
May 24, 08

liked it
bookshelves: fantastical
Recommended to Morgan by: Sean Cote
Read in May, 2008

(Because Sean Cote is evil.)

I loved the premise for the book, which was all the information I could get about it when Sean handed it to me in the midst of a barrage of props tasks for the day. I mean, who comes up with things like that? Amazing.

It started off great. I love Alan's flashbacks, detailing his life as an outsider and what it was like living at home.

But then all the technobabble entered the picture, all the stuff with the wireless access points that occupied a large proportion of the middle of the book. I thought Kurt's character was pretty cool, but I just couldn't figure out what was the point of the free wireless points. What did this have to do with a guy who didn't have a belly button? For the time, I tried to run with it, thinking that somehow Doctorow was going to pull it all back in and connect and it was going to be pretty cool and maybe a little mind-blowing.

The payoff did not live up to my expectations.

That's it? I thought. He spent all that valuable time detailing Kurt and Alan's journey setting up the wireless network and that's ALL IT HAS TO DO with the main storyline?

It wasn't even really all that interesting, either. I mean, he could've gotten a pretty good character out of Kurt, and even Lyman, but the rest just seemed like Doctorow geeking out, maybe some personal manifesto on wireless networks or something, I don't know.

I mean, I like rock'n'roll history, and I like incorporating it into my own writing, but seriously, I try not to be that tangential about it. At times it felt like Doctorow was writing two stories, this cool really different fantasy thing . . . and then a story about two guys who set up a wireless connection thing in their small Canadian town. And I don't know of many people who'd read the second story for its excitement value.

And there was something about the ending that felt a little rushed. Some very interesting information came out, but that was it and then it was over. Very shotgun wedding of an ending. I really wanted a closer look at the Benny-Davey relationship, because it kinda came out of left field at the end, and it seemed pretty important but there wasn't much information to digest, so nothing really made sense.

I also wanted to know a little more about Krishna, what it was about him that let him see Alan and Mimi for who they really were. I mean, there had to be something really interesting about Krishna that he could sense these things, because he had the potential to be a really interesting character, very sinister and unpredictable, and actually he was just kinda lame and negative.

I think there were a lot of great things in this book, and that there was some incredible potential in it, but Doctorow just didn't put that potential to the best use.

What I really did like, though, was that it's never explicitly explained what Alan is, what it is that makes him so different from humanity, his own little specialty among his brothers, but by the end you have a pretty good idea of what he might be and could have been.

I also really liked when Mimi and Alan told each other stories, how they start three times and you catch a glimpse of what's happening while they tell the story. Really great.

But the best part of this book is this:

"All secrets become deep. All secrets become dark. That's in the nature of secrets."
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Quotes Morgan Liked

Cory Doctorow
“All secrets become deep. All secrets become dark. That's in the nature of secrets.”
Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

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