Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

I’d probably describe this a Utopian Whodunnit.

Imagine a future world where there is no more crime or famine, and when someone dies, they’re simply restored from a backup into a fresh clone.

In fact, Julius, the main protagonist has died three times already: the first time, he drowned while scuba diving; and the second time, he suffered a fatal stroke. His third death? He was murdered in Disneyland. And this is where the story’s going. Once Julius is restored to a new clone, he becomes obsessed with finding out who put him the ground … metaphorically speaking. Unfortunately for Julius, his companions don’t seem to share his enthusiasm for solving his murder. After all, in a world where you can be restored to a younger, enhanced body, why should you care who killed you?

To be honest, the murder is not really the most interesting part of the story. (I figured it out pretty early on). The real challenge is figuring out how this future society works. Since no one has to work then there is no need for money (which is just as well done everything is automated). So the only real currency is kudos. Basically, everyone carries out research, or indulges in art projects, in return for … well … “likes”. You accrue reputation and popularity, which gets you into the best parties on the best space stations.

It’s a very detailed book, written in a light, approachable prose. It doesn’t really have any rough edges to speak of, and I reckon I quite enjoyed it. As a murder-mystery though, I think it was lacking in plot and pace.

4 thoughts on “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow”

Join in…