Book Reviews of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Author: Cory Doctorow
The Market's bargain prices are even better for Paperbackswap club members!
Retail Price: $15.99
Buy New (Paperback): $12.79 (save 20%) or
Become a PBS member and pay $8.89+1 PBS book credit (save 44%)
ISBN-13: 9780765309532
ISBN-10: 076530953X
Publication Date: 12/5/2003
Pages: 208
Rating:
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 42

3.5 stars, based on 42 ratings
Publisher: Tor Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

10 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 204 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Take an Earth where there is no scarcity, and where death has essentially been eliminated. An economy based on the buying and selling of 'goods' doesn't work in that world.

Instead, according to Doctorow, we get a reputation-based economy, where what others think of you is more important than just about anything else, and competition is based on who does the most good or creates the most interesting things.

This story is set in that world, with a group of people who continue to run the Disney World theme park. Ultimately, the plot revolves around those people, and the motivations that they have for doing what they do. And the conclusion, to me, seems to really be that people are still people and can still experience all the highs and lows of a typical human experience.

So there were two tightly coupled trains of thought through this book. The first was how fascinating the whole reputation-based economy works in a post-scarcity world, and the second was the interpersonal relationships between the main character and his close friends.

The book worked, and did a fine job keeping my interest. There wasn't much new in the interpersonal relationship storyline, but the post-scarcity world itself was fascinating. Unlike other authors (Stross, in particular), the placement of this society in a very familiar and comfortable setting (Disney World!) makes it quite approachable and understandable, rather than bizarre and strange. And that made this new economic concept truly worth my mental effort.

4 of 5 stars.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 62 more book reviews
I liked this book well enough; it's entertaining and certainly quite interesting.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 66 more book reviews
The only thing that is certain in life are taxes and death. The story of this novel explores what happens when those two things are removed. If those things worry us the most--mortality and money--what becomes important when we don't have to worry about them? Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom may answer that question.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 2 more book reviews
A light-on-story but cool-on-idea future social sci-fi. Short book, writing adequate, yet the concept will stay with you.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 66 more book reviews
The only thing that is certain in life are taxes and death. The story of this novel explores what happens when those two things are removed. If those things worry us the most--mortality and money--what becomes important when we don't have to worry about them? Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom may answer that question.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on
A good read. In many ways a traditional mystery with some sci-fi twists.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 79 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book, a fast and interesting read.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 8 more book reviews
Doctorow is a must read for anyone into SciFi
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 2236 more book reviews
I like the Magic Kingdom in Florida, having visited there a number of times in my life. When I saw this Science Fiction novel centering around Disney World, and even more specifically the Haunted Mansion, I had to give it a read. It was a good book with some interesting ideas. Definitely an adult read.

Jules is your typical citizen, he lives in a world that is not run by money but by Whuffie. Whuffie is a currency based on what people around you think about you and how much joy you bring them. If you have lots of Whuffie lots of people love you and you get lots of perks. In this future everyone can survive and gets the basics of food and shelter, but only Whuffie allows you to live in style. This is also an age where people back themselves up on computer, this is awesome because if something happens to your body then you can just upload yourself into a new clone whenever you want...at least as long as your backup is up to date. Well, Jules is at a point in time where him and his girlfriend Lil are helping to keep the Hall of Presidents running in Liberty Square in Disney World. Suddenly Jules is murdered, not a huge deal, but when a top-notch computer ride designer uses the opportunity of his death to step in and redo the Hall of Presidents, Jules is out for blood. More specifically he has decided that he will protect the Haunted Mansion from this designer's clutches no matter what it takes and sets out to redesign the Haunted Mansion himself in a way that lets it stay true to its original form.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. Doctorow has come up with an interesting society and a very creative way at looking at human aging. Things like the ability of humans to deadhead for a few centuries and then be reinserted into a new clone when the world becomes more interesting to them, are very creative and really bring this society alive for the reader. The whole Whuffie system is in itself also very creative and a pleasure to immerse oneself in. The fixation that Jules had with the Haunted Mansion was interesting and Doctorow's description of the ride dead-on. The twist the story takes at the end was fascinating and made for a good read. The story and writing style were easily readable.

As far as things I didn't like about the book there were a few. I didn't really like Jules as a character too much, neither did I like Lil. They were almost too human; neither of them really showed any heroic qualities. Also things like suicide and deadheading were taken in stride, which might bother some people, but makes sense in a society where people are centuries old. The novel is plagued by a lot of throwing scientific terms around that the reader doesn't understand in the beginning; this is resolved as the novel continues but is a bit frustrating at first. Also sometimes Jules takes diversions in the story that don't seem necessary (for instance in the part where he goes off talking about a marriage he had to this crazy lady with fur, it had some impact on the story but not enough to go on as long as it did). Lastly the problem of overpopulation of Earth (in a society where people are born but never die) was mentioned briefly in the beginning, but then was never dealt with as the story progressed.

While this novel isn't necessarily a fun read, it is an interesting read. I would recommend it if you are interested in the downfalls of a Utopian society, or if you are crazy about the Haunted Mansion, or if you just like reading about various future versions of Earth. A good book. I will definitely check out more of Doctorow's books in the future.
reviewed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on + 174 more book reviews
This is the clean very good shape paperback version, Although it says "Young Adults", there is a gratutius amount of sex, foul language, drug and alcohol use, as it is an accepted part of Cory's future society. The plot takes a disappointing twist and some of the stuff is hurried. This is for people who like weird stories, futurist earth where all's cool and it's about being cool not money or those under 30. I love Cory on boingboing dot net (highly recommended website, very addictive), and thats wht I took a chance on his book. I also purchased his other book in hardcover "Little Brother", which was nominated and won literary rewards and someone in Chicago is going a play about it. Will place it here when we finish reading it.