Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Walkaway” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,154 ratings  ·  1,041 reviews
Kirkus' Best Fiction of 2017

From New York Times bestselling author Cory Doctorow, an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.

"Walkaway is now the best contemporary example I know of, its utopia glimpsed after fascinatingly-extrapolated revolutionary struggle." —William Gibson

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timot
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 22nd 2018 by Tor Books (first published April 25th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Walkaway, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Chris PhD
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,154 ratings  ·  1,041 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Walkaway

I admit I went in blind to this only know the title, the cover, and the fact that I've been a big fan of Cory Doctorow ever since Little Brother. I thought it was going to be something of a thriller with perhaps a political and especially an awesome technological bent to it.

I didn't expect it to be this huge! The ideas in this novel can easily be ranked up with the very biggest novels of the last century.

Let me explain: Walkaway as a term is nothing more than dropping out of the ranks of th
Did not finish. I hate not finishing books, but I just couldn't go on. 25% in and no story. Vague characters with no goals.

What you DO get is a speculative techno-utopia in which it's just assumed you can obtain the raw materials to manufacture arbitrarily complex technology such as 3D printers, "wet printers", lasers, ATVs and exoskeletal suits, and mountains of computers. Rare earth metals, anyone? Maybe if he'd just invoked nanotech, I might have been like, "OK, fine, whatever."

But the straw
Loring Wirbel
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was 12 or 13, I stumbled upon anarcho-syndicalism of the Bookchin/Rocker variety and was convinced it was solely capable of saving the world. At age 16, I saw Kubrick's film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange and found myself adamantly rooting for the omnipotent state, since it appeared to be morally superior to the violent autonomous gang member Alex. If Cory Doctorow's unique novel Walkaway serves no other purpose, it can be an antidote or foil of sorts for Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork O ...more
The Angry Lawn Gnome
tl;dr - This was painful to read, the literary equivalent of shuffling through knee deep wet concrete. I kept expecting it to get better, it didn't.

So, (he asked rhetorically), can William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson and Neal Stephenson all be wrong? Based upon the blurbs for this book, yup, yup, yup. Either that or they all read the super secret version that has not yet been released unto the eyes of the profane, since I honestly see no way they read this turkey.

Characters randomly popped in
Nikki Whipple
May 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cool ideas but I got bogged down with the preachy dialogue.
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed with WALKAWAY. There was some great 'world building' but I did not connect with the characters or their motivations. I liked the original premise but I found the story to be disjointed and the pacing confused me in a couple places.
Second read. Still just as hard to review and read, and still just as hard hitting as it was the first time around - this is an amazing book.

This is a really hard book to review, but on the other hand - I loved it.

It's not an easy book to read; I'm a reader who'll make her way through the average novel in half a day, and this took me a solid week. It's not a book you can skim or speed read through - every so often, in the middle of an escape or situating into a new moment, a character will begin
Jeremy S
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Sigh. The first Doctorow book I wanted to walkaway from.

I love Doctorow. I fell in love with Makers and never looked back. So, after Pirate Cinema, I was waiting for something new, and this book read in the byline like a new Makers. I was elated. Sadly, it was not.

The problem with this book was that it was just so sure of itself the whole time. The future was bleak, and rightfully so, but nothing felt tangible. The people were always spewing pages long rabble like a conversation between universi
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Lena by: Solarpunk
“We’re not doing nations anymore. We’re doing people, doing stuff. Nations mean governments, passports, borders.”

Kim Stanley Robinson meets Ursula K. LeGuin with vibrant page turning characters. Not a call to arms but a call to think - a new classic.

Everyone should read Walkaway.

My Video Review:

There are some things I loved. There is tons of diversity with pan, bi, lesbian characters as well as POC characters. I liked the science and ideas of a possible future, but there were a fair amount of things I didn't.
Cynthia Shannon
I actually found this book a lot more enjoyable than expected, given that I'm not much of a sci-fi reader nor have I ever been to Burning Man (and have absolutely no intention to do so).
Just WALK AWAY from this one. I got annoyed at it 1/3 of the way through and wrote an impassioned review, but decided I should wait to post until I finished the book. It did not improve, and I skimmed the remainder, getting more and more annoyed at Doctorow's flat and unsympathetic characters, habit of telling instead of showing, gratuitous sex, and lack of coherent plot/subject. If drastically edited (1/3 of its length?) with a coherent theme, this book could have been good. The worst sentence ...more
Caitlin Cramer
This is not a “meh” 3.5 out of 5 stars. I was actually very engaged throughout this story and I can definitely see why Edward Snowden is a fan. It’s a mixed bag review. There’s some really great stuff in this book mixed with things that are distracting and don’t make sense.

Let’s start with what this book does well. The walkaway culture is probably the most workable and realistic alternative to capitalism I’ve read in the sci-fi genre in a long time. Unlike Ursula Le Guin’s rigidly controlled so
Johannes Kleske
So Walkaway is Cory Doctorow’s first adult novel since Makers, which came out eight years ago and has been hugely influential as a future scenario in some circles like the fab lab communities. I picked up Walkaway with high expectations to learn how Doctorow’s perspective on a possible future has evolved over the last years. I also always had tremendous respect for his non-fiction work and activism for privacy, copyright law, and open source.
That leads me to my first huge problem with Walkaway:
Jun 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just didnt connect with this one. Alot of conversations/ideas on I'm guessing the authors views on philosophy etc. Just wasnt for me
Allison Hurd
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was the sort of social scifi I am often looking for. I thought this had a lot of great moments and hope, and maaaybe a bit too much melodrama. 3.5 rounded up because I would recommend it and will definitely seek out more by this author.

CONTENT WARNINGS (just a list of topics): (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The cast. Delightfully varied and lovingly drawn. Yes, this checks pretty much all
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, it starts off with promise, but kinda fizzles in the middle and finishes up in a disjointed way. Just kinda felt unfinished. On top of that much felt like artificially-forced political correctness - like it was trying too much to show a specifically idealized future.

I think it would have been better if Doctorow hadn't tried so hard to make the ending something resembling 'happy'. It just didn't fit the rest of the book.

Overall not bad, but not great.
Lisa Wright
This is speculative fiction at its best--extrapolating our future from our present. At a time when the top 1% has narrowed to be the top 0.001% and technology has replaced nearly all workers, the surplus people walkaway to join others in the abandoned places who choose to live a different way. It is a choice that may cost them their lives.Doctorow is always hopeful, but never naive.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I really seem to have bad luck with books during quarantine. It's like Corona wants to STOP me from reading books...insane! I felt so guilty for taking so long to read this book that I didn't even visit Goodreads anymore, feeling like an undeserving imposter (that, and the fact that I'd procrastinated on my own reviews. My laziness knows no boundaries!) that doesn't have the right anymore to even be looking at books... Hadn't I actually switched gears and set myself reading goals of at leas ...more
Dec 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay friends, if you like negative reviews then strap in because there aren’t many positive things I can say about this book. Walkaway was my first Doctorow book, and I don’t like to judge authors on just one book, but this wasn’t a good start for me. I like to start off reviews for books that I didn’t like with a positive from the book, but I really can’t think of one so here come the problems. But just as a warmup, an actual phrase from this novel to describe a character is “cute as a cute thi ...more
David Agranoff
his book will divide readers for sure, and hell it gave me very mixed feelings. Well I have enjoyed interviews with Doctorow and his many blog posts I decided to read this because I just had not read any of his work before. I mean this book has blurbs from William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson (who called it a utopia- huh?) and Edward Snowden. Yeah that edward Snowden on a side note that is a heck of a blurb.

Walkaway is a near future speculative fiction novel that looks at the economical and soc
I scored the USB audiobook edition at a book tour stop by the the author. Doctorow pimped it hard. In addition, its the first audiobook I've bought on a stick. I'm not disappointed.

Firstly, this story is folk propaganda for an anarchist techno-utopia on the edge of the post-human singularity. Get that? To read this story, you have to have an ear for Media Lab speak . Its essential for understanding the zeitgeist of the future Doctorow is describing. Getting the author's Cliff Notes(tm) su
There were some really interesting themes in this book about the trajectory of the growing wealth gap, as well as the prospect of the 3d printing of basic needs (food/clothing/shelter) creating an environment of 'abundance' for those willing to 'walk away' from material wealth and privilege. But, there were a number of really clunky and distracting sex scenes. Not hot at all... I found myself skimming though them to get back to the story.

Definitely a strong Burning Man influence on Cory Doctorow
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 30%

I can't. I just can't.

I looked at the reviews and I wanted very much to like this book. I didn't want to be another person giving it a shit review. But I really didn't enjoy it. It was disjointed, pretentious and confusing. I see no point continuing, I have plenty of other books I'm looking forward to.

I just had a thought, am I too stupid to understand this book? Do I just not "get" it?
Belinda Lewis
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first this book made me feel hopeful, in the same kind of way that Daemon did. Like it was possible we could be living in, as Corey Doctorow would put it, the first days of a better nation .

Then it got really dark and it made me sad.

Its a series of vignettes, snap shots into the lives of a group of characters taken at different times and from different points of view. One of these 'books' seemed pointless and unsatisfying to me, two of them I read twice in a row.

I feel like that format worked
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Our post scarcity societies will not just look like Burning Man, but more boring and with 3D printers. We will not all speak in the tin-earned jargon of a breathless wired article. Our villains will not just be the mega-rich, or the woefully misguided, but the difficult parts of ourselves.

This book takes a lot from Burning Man and the ideas that inform it, but it misses the actual majesty of the burn: the glorious city rising out of stark nothing, the bustling and bubbling weirdness, the atavist
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book sadly came off preachy and awkward, and seemed to be a bit of a manifesto cloaked as a novel. A pass for me. I'm not one for sex scenes in books anyway, but the ones in this novel seemed unnecessary, didn't add to the story, and were written completely awkward and cringy as hell. This may be my last Doctorow, although I've enjoyed some of his books in the past.

The plot was about the whole "post-scarcity economy" and what would happen in the future if we could 3D print all the things an
Charles Dee Mitchell
I recommend Doctorow’s novel for readers suffering from Post Apocalyptic Fatigue Sydrome. The one hard date mentioned in the text is 2071, and Doctorow’s near future embodies most of the worst possibilities of the way things are going now. The super rich, known as zottas, run a show that continues to exploit earth’s dwindling resources and leaves the teeming masses scrambling to make do in increasingly dire circumstances. Which they do, unless they decide to “walkaway” and join the increasing nu ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, kauno, englanniksi
It took me ages to finish this book mostly because it had so much of everything, it started feeling too heavy and it sank like the brick it looks like (I really liked the bright shock-orange of the cover, though).

This book has too much of everything, too many plot twists, too many characters, too many ideas, too much infodump, and way too many details (for example spending a page describing how difficult it was to put on snowshoes instead of just saying: they struggled to put the snowshoes on).
Apr 29, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Not grabbing me at all. Maybe it's my mood. I'll try another day. April 2019.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Necessary Beggar
  • Autonomous
  • Agency (Jackpot #2)
  • Fall; or, Dodge in Hell
  • And now his Lordship is Laughing
  • Pacific Edge (Three Californias Triptych, #3)
  • The Best American Crime Reporting 2009
  • New York 2140
  • The Future of Another Timeline
  • Red Moon
  • The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2)
  • Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4)
  • Veil
  • Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5)
  • Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)
  • Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)
  • The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3)
See similar books…
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers. He is a Fellow for the Elec ...more

Articles featuring this book

Until this summer, Lindsay Ellis was mainly known as a super smart and witty film critic and YouTube essayist, making videos that range from...
163 likes · 16 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“That’s why you never hear politicians talking about ‘citizens,’ it’s all ‘taxpayers,’ as though the salient fact of your relationship to the state is how much you pay. Like the state was a business and citizenship was a loyalty program that rewarded you for your custom with roads and health care. Zottas cooked the process so they get all the money and own the political process, pay as much or as little tax as they want. Sure, they pay most of the tax, because they’ve built a set of rules that gives them most of the money. Talking about ‘taxpayers’ means that the state’s debt is to rich dudes, and anything it gives to kids or old people or sick people or disabled people is charity we should be grateful for, since none of those people are paying tax that justifies their rewards from Government Inc.” 8 likes
“The best way to be superhuman is to do things that you love with other people who love them, too. The only way to do that is to admit you’re doing it because you love it and if you do more than everyone, you’re still only doing that because that’s what you choose.” 7 likes
More quotes…