Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom – Cory Doctorow

Partly inspired by the upcoming keynote speaker at the OLA SuperConference, I finally picked up “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom“, the first novel by SF author, former Torontonian, and co-editor of Boing Boing (one of the world's most popular blogs for those not in the know), Cory Doctorow. 

Corey R. (also a soon-to-be first time novelist) is both a professional reviewer and much more well-read than I so I'll link to his recent review of this book instead of trying to hobble together one of my own.  I agree with Corey that it's a pretty big achievement to create a realistic futuristic world that, given the pace of technological advances, seems increasingly plausible.  One of the big conceits in the book is that money doesn't exist in the future and instead, people trade “Whuffie” which is like electronic credit that denotes esteem/gratitude/sympathy. 

That's a pretty interesting concept as we're already seeing versions of this in online communities, mostly notably Digg where users submit stories and then have both the stories and their comments voted on, positively and negatively, by other users.  [Edit: Wikipedia has an entry on Wuffie that names a couple other sites using the concept – EBay for “feedback ratings” and Slashdot for “karma”]

Doctorow is also a major player in the Creative Commons movement so even if science fiction and “Whuffie” aren't your thing, you should definitely try to check him out at the OLA SuperConference.

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Yay OLA! I didn't get Wednesday off work, but even if I take the 6:30 greyhound I should be able to catch most of Cory Doctorow's opening plenary speech!
    This conference is going to be so much fun! (and yes I'm going to the FIMS alum reception!)

    Posted 30 Jan 2007 at 2:53 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    John M. did a post and mentioned a few bloggers who will be attending the conference including you. I look forward to updates from & about the conference:
    http://johnmiedema.wordpress.com/2007/01/31/a-picturevideo-message-2/

    Posted 01 Feb 2007 at 2:51 am

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