Doctorow’s sci-fi comedy takes place in the not too distant future when death has been cured. You simply take the last reboot of your system and add it to a clone. And thanks to the work of the Bitchun Society, Whuffie is the currency. Your Whuffie score is based on how well-respected and liked you are. (I guess it’s not much different than how many friends you have on My Space.) So Doctorow takes this futuristic premise and sets it where?
In Disney World.
A group of volunteer ad-hocs had long ago taken over the Magic Kingdom and continue to run it. Julius is out to save the landmark attractions, ensuring they don’t go too hi-tech and, therefore, lose their essence. After he’s shot and killed (his third death), he returns, but things start to go haywire.
If you’re not a regular reader of sci-fi, like me, this is a great entry. It’s short, fast-paced and pretty darn funny. I’d be interested in knowing what dedicated sci-fi readers think about this book.
I'd say I fall into the reads-a-lot-of-sci-fi category, and this book was a breath of fresh air for its genre. So many of the scifi books I've read lately are epic, and too much so. I love the focus of this book, Disney as microcosm. And I Iike scifi more these days when they skip the theory. I don't need to know how reboots and forced cloning work to get the picture.
My only complaint was the characters were a little shallow. I got that they had aspirations, desires, etc. but I was never really too concerned with Julius' character--other than mentally chastising him for skipping a backup. But then, in a world where people don't die, how much concern would you have?
Have you read about Klout? This is the real world version of this novel.