The prophetic debut novel from the visionary author fo LITTLE BROTHER, now published for the first time in the UK. Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies ! and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in ...
The prophetic debut novel from the visionary author fo LITTLE BROTHER, now published for the first time in the UK. Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies ! and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World. Disney World! The greatest artistic achievement of the long-ago twentieth century. Now overseen by a network of 'ad hocs' who keep the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches. But the ad hocs are under attack. A new group has taken over the Hall of Presidents and is replacing its venerable audioanimatronics with new, immersive direct-to-brain interfaces that give guests the illusion of being Washington, Lincoln and all the others. For Jules, this is an attack on the artistic purity of Disney World itself. Worse: it appears that this new group has had Jules killed. This upsets him. (It's only his fourth death and revival after all.) Now it's war.
Taking place in a future where death and poverty have been eliminated, Doctorow explores a society where other instincts take precedent over those for survival. The narrator is at times an untrustworthy and almost unlikable character, which makes for some interesting plot points. I read this book in the course of two days, as it moved quickly and is short as well (barely 200 pages with a large typeface). It wasn't revolutionary or mind blowing, and the characters perhaps weren't strong enough that they'll still be vivid in my memory years from now, but the time I spent reading it certainly was not wasted.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-12-16 A lot of ideas are packed into this short novel, but Doctorow's own best idea was setting his story in Disney World, where it's hard to tell whether technology serves dreams or vice versa. Jules, a relative youngster at more than a century old, is a contented citizen of the Bitchun Society that has filled Earth and near-space since shortage and death were overcome. People are free to do whatever they wish, since the only wealth is respect and since constant internal interface lets all monitor exactly how successful they are at being liked. What Jules wants to do is move to Disney World, join the ad-hoc crew that runs the park and fine-tune the Haunted Mansion ride to make it even more wonderful. When his prudently stored consciousness abruptly awakens in a cloned body, he learns that he was murdered; evidently he's in the way of somebody else's dreams. Jules first suspects, then becomes viciously obsessed by, the innovative group that has turned the Hall of Presidents into a virtual experience. In the conflict that follows, he loses his lover, his job, his respect-even his interface connection-but gains perspective that the other Bitchun citizens lack. Jules's narrative unfolds so smoothly that readers may forget that all this raging passion is over amusement park rides. Then they can ask what that shows about the novel's supposedly mature, liberated characters. Doctorow has served up a nicely understated dish: meringue laced with caffeine. (Feb. 14) Forecast: A blurb from Bruce Sterling, plus the author's connections in the cyber world (he co-founded the Internet search-engine company OpenCola.com), should give this one a lift. Doctorow was the winner of the 2000 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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