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    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008
    Cory Doctorow is kind of ubiquitous; if you're posting on Whitechapel, you've probably heard of him.

    (For the minority who haven't: here.)

    But I've never read or participated in a purely critical discussion of his fiction divorced from activism or his politics (which I happen to share). I'd be interested to read everyone's thoughts on his writing.

    Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town absolutely knocked me out. The characters were so unexpectedly touching -- the Russian nesting dolls! -- and completely heartbreaking. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was great fun, and terrifically inventive. Disney World is such a left-turn of an idea for a setting; it and the "corporate espionage in a post-scarcity economy" plot thread were my favorite bits. Only Eastern Standard Tribe left me a little cold. I think its a pacing thing: it's roughly 20 pages longer than Magic Kingdom, but feels an act or half an act shorter. The ending arrives quite suddenly.

    What does everyone else think? Any thoughts on his short stories?
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008 edited
    I had a good deal of fun with Anda's Game, as well as I, Robot. Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town was the first novel of his that I read, my first exposure to Doctorow at all. I picked it up randomly at the library while looking for something I had no expectations about. The entire time, I alternated between "This is amazing!" and "What the fuck is this?", but always entirely fascinated. I was constantly updating my partner about what was going on in the book (David suffered through another three or four months where almost every conversation we had mentioned Doctorow in some way; after reading that book, I read or listened to everything that I could get my hands on, including the college course that Doctorow taught on copyright). Now, whenever I bring up Doctorow to a new person, David loves to tell them about the book where the main character's parents are an island and a washing machine, and his siblings are living russian dolls and a zombie, and a boy who can see the future. And while that sounds like maybe the worst book, ever, it's still probably my favorite of his works. Certainly the one I'm fondest about. I occasionally felt that the weirder elements were encroaching on my favorite parts, about setting up the public wi-fi network with Kurt, but at the end I feel the entire thing is a strong, wonderful piece of work.
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2008
    I think Cory's one helluva writer. Not just in the realm of fiction, but also with his posts on boingboing. A champion of the copyfight!
    • CommentAuthorFlxzr
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
    The first story I read of his was Beat me Daddy (Eight to the Bar) in Black Gate, I think it's available free online now. I really liked it and it got me searching for more of his stuff, which is how I ended up reading BoingBoing.

    I enjoyed Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, but I've never got round to getting any more of his stuff.
    • CommentAuthorNecros
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
    I have read pretty much all of Doctorow's mainstream publications. While some of his stuff is merely interesting, a lot of it is incredibly good. I was greatly impressed with Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, especially as I felt like there was a large underlayer that I wasn't totally understanding. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was the first of his books that I read, and I found it to be incredibly interesting and entertaining. I am actually waiting for his next novel as I have never been dissapointed by hos novels. Some of his short stories aren't quite as good, but that is why we buy large collections of them.
    • CommentAuthorMark W
    • CommentTimeFeb 3rd 2008
    One of my favorite stories by Cory is also I think one of the shortest (if not the shortest) of his short stories, Printcrime, with When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth and After the Siege coming in tied for a very close second. Right now I'm awaiting his newest novel Little Brother.
  1.  (812.7)
    Can I be the (slight) voice of dissent in the I really didn't like 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' because (and it may just be me being thick) it didn't seem to go anywhere and it's message arc was "You are weird and you are never going to change".

    And I can't critique it any more than that as I read it some time ago and it bored me silly, therefore I can't remember much of it besides not enjoying it.

    However I do adore all his other works and am also looking forward to buying 'Little Brother'. I really liked his reading of 'After The Siege', my favourite to read was 'Eastern Standard Time', but that might just be because it dealt with fucked circadian rhythms, something I had a deep connection with.
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
    About a year ago, I taught a "Slipstream" class at Brooklyn College here in New York, and I chose "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" to end the semester with, sort of as a way to show some of the big ideas we were working with (Genre Boundaries, identity, image versus reality, etc) as being active in a pop setting.(It was a nice breather after Kathy Acker's Don Quixote)

    For me, Down and Out goes a great thing by asking big questions about science, culture, and the future and placing them in a narrative that's well paced and human, making it easy for anyone (in this case, 20 students who never read science fiction before) to relate to the story.
    • CommentAuthorNecros
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
    One thing I really enjoy about Doctorow's work is how hw keeps everything on a human level. In a crazy high tech future paradise, we are still human beings, at least on some level, and the story he writes talks about that part of us.