February 21, 2014

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

So it's never a good sign for me when a book starts out with a lot of jargon I don't know.  Sure, it may get explained later, but it starts me off irritated that I don't know what's going on and feeling slightly dumb for not knowing all the lingo in this cool happening world.  So yeah, if you haven't guessed already, this is a book set in a futuristic world where quite a few things have changed.

There's no need to work anymore.  Or die.  And there's no money but there is "Whuffie" which is sort of a popularity contest that lets you pay for things through prestige.  So for all of us nerds we have no chance to ever be among the richest.  Alas, such is life.  In this world, Julius has been alive and kicking for nearly a century.  And he keeps going back and back to the Magic Kingdom as his girlfriend works (volunteers? ad hocs? something?) there and he takes a special interest in the Haunted Mansion ride.  Just go with it.  But someone wants to change the historic place and make it more technical and up to date, and they'll murder Julius (which makes him extremely upset) to make sure nothing can stand in their way.

I really didn't understand the motivations.  Why not just have two rides?  One for the tech lovers and one for the lovers of tradition?  It made no sense to me whatsoever.  Julius ran around like a crazed person most the time and was somewhat annoying.  He had passion, but it was misguided.  And while he seemed human because of his flaws, he wasn't a character I wanted to read about.  Lil, his girlfriend, was a pretty flat character.  I think she was actually supposed to be, but for being as nice as she was she sure did some not so nice things.  And Julius' friend Dan?  Well he didn't really add anything to the story for me at all.  He was just there to add twists to the plot.

I really liked the concepts in this book.  The way the future played out and all the gadgetry they had was interesting.  I just wish it had explained more in the beginning of the book so I could have understood it right away and not had to have struggled through piecing it together in the story.  And when it came to the story itself, I just wasn't that interested.  It was over a ride.  If that's the biggest thing they have to worry about (because obviously murder isn't) then things are going pretty good.  I think a different story in this high tech world would have been fascinating.

Maybe I'm just a whiner but this book wasn't for me.  I liked the technology but wasn't as fond of what was done with it.  Oh well, I'm sure true lovers of Disney will probably adore it.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Copyright 2003
208 pages

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