“Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”


Down and Out in the Magic KingdomToday we head south west from West Palm to Orlando and Disney World. We will only be in the park one day (tomorrow) but the kids are over the moon. Yes, I can hear my brother now telling me (as he did via Twitter or SMS, I forget which) that one day is not nearly enough, but for now, at their age it will do.

Our first night here I was looking for reading material on my BlackBerry and found I had downloaded the above titled novel (or long short story? the length is hard to tell on the BB) by Cory Doctorow. I have mentioned before both Feedbooks, a source of free electronic books, and Cory Doctorow. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is set in Disney World in the sometime future (perhaps 150 years?). This is an almost-Eutopia where everyone is part of the Bitchun Society (it’s Bitchun man) and instead of money people have “Whuffie.” Well…here, let me cite Wikipedia:

Whuffie is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow’s sci-fi novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. This future history book describes a post-scarcity economy: All the necessities (and most of the luxuries) of life are free for the taking. A person’s current Whuffie is instantly viewable to anyone, as everybody has a brain-implant giving them an interface with the Net.

I have not yet finished the novel, but find it fascinating. Doctorow shows his deep knowledge and fascination of sociology (according to Wikipedia his parents were “Trotskyist teachers”) and how a socialist society might be created, but always with enough of a sense of the human condition to realize that we are greedy critters who, left on our own, are motivated primarily by self-love and self-interest. I am only 2/3 of the way through but I can already recommend it highly. Give it a read, whether or not you are headed to Disney World.

 

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