I found Cory Doctorow’s first novel, “Down and Out in the Magic Kindom,” a fast but annoying read. Fast both because the story rattles along at breakneck speed and because I was reading as fast as I could hoping to figure what the story was about. In the Bitchun Society, a post-Scarcity economy where your reputation is the basis of currency, or Whuffie, Jules swerves from helping his new friend, Keep-A-Movin’ Dan, regain enough Whuffie to off himself, to joining his girlfriend Lil’s ad hoc team of Disneyworld imagineers, to finding out who assassinated him three months before the book started.
It’s okay, Jules was restored from backup. In fact, the death of his previous self isn’t nearly as important to him as the battle he joins for the soul of the Haunted Mansion. Jules goes to ridiculous lengths to defend his vision of the ride, winning new friends and then estranging new and old friends, sending his Whuffie soaring and crashing.
It’s interesting to see how the Bitchun Society works, but I didn’t like any of the people. Jules was the biggest jerk of the lot, and unlike Marcus in Little Brother, he never seemed to understand that. Also I had a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief; there are so many implied premises I wanted to argue with. On the plus side, the book annoyed me enough to give me an idea for a story.
Works for me.