Doctorow's a really interesting person editor of the blog BoingBoing.net (which always has links to really cool stuff on a regular basis), college dropout and professor at the University of California, Locus & Campbell Award winner & Nebula nominee, pro-Creative Commons activist, and all-around emblem of geek-cool.
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town is Doctorows third novel, but the first Ive read. Stylistically and thematically, it reminded me of Will Shetterly-meets-Neil Gaiman-meets-Neal Stephenson
Its a hard book to describe because its very odd. The someone is Alan (or at least, his name starts with an A.) He knows hes not human. Or is he? His father is a mountain, and his mother, a washing machine. (Literally. However, the book isnt as absurdist as that fact would make you guess.) He has brothers all at least as strange as he and some of them much more sinister.
Alan is the one who can most easily pass and when the book opens, he has moved into town, fixed up a house, and is planning to write something great, for posterity. However, events may have something else in mind all too soon, hes mixed up with the girl next door (who has her own bizarre secrets), and is also drawn into the schemes of a new friend, a punk rocker with dreams of free wireless access for all
I do think the structure of the book would have been improved if its ideas (which Doctorow shows obvious enthusiasm for) had more strongly intersected with or been more relevant to the fantastic elements but still, this was a strikingly original and entertaining book.
As with all of Doctorows works, he has made the entire text of the novel downloadable for free its at: http://craphound.com/someone/download.php.
One of the most beautifully-written stories I've read. Ever. Doctorow's imagination caught me from the first page and didn't let me go till well after the last word. Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces. Set in the midst of technological progress that holds the characters in their own entangled webs. Fascinating, amazing, sad, all at once. Truly exceptional writing from Doctorow.
Cory Doctorow's writing keeps taking strange turns into wonderful new places. I loved this book and I've loaned it out to, well pushed it into the hands of really, close friends.
(Don't worry, his writing style is much better than mine.)
Of all Doctorow's works (that I've read, at least), this is the best and the strangest. I've never read anything that blurred the lines of fact and fiction, metaphor and reality so beautifully. Each of the main characters is so complex and fascinating that even the narrator's struggles and confusion just makes the reader cling tighter to the story. It's amazing. Not only do I highly suggest this book, I suggest reading it at least twice.