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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow

“Imagine you woke up one day and Walt Disney had taken over the world. Not only that, but money's been abolished and somebody's developed the Cure for Death.”

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Doctorow doesn’t undermine this adulation of Disney World with cheap irony. Rather, he presents it entirely on its own terms. The novel itself can’t really be called ironic; instead, it is permeated by a deadpan, slightly creepy sense of effusive sincerity. The characters are all “twittering, Pollyannic” people. They display a sort of dampened affect: a distant, impersonal warmth, unburdened by any hint of anxiety, let alone tragedy. They “can’t help but be friendly”; they have a “look of chirpy helpfulness at their instant disposal.” Sometimes the older folks, who still remember the pre- Bitchun world of scarcity and work, complain that the younger generation lacks fire and passion. But this crit-icism is simply unintelligible to those who have grown up with the Bitchun Society, and spent their entire lives in Disney World.

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Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow is Outreach Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, www.eff.org, and maintains a personal site at www.craphound.com. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing at www.boingboing.net, with more than 250,000 visitors a month. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 2000 Hugo Awards. Born and raised in Toronto, he now lives in San Francisco. He enjoys using Google to look up interesting facts about long walks on the beach.

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