Review of 'Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom'

Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

down_and_out_in_the_magic_kingdom.jpg On a future earth Jules is an ambitious young man working at Disney World on the “Haunted Mansion” ride. Each of the rides and areas in Disney World are operated by different groups of people calling themselves “ad-hocs”. When the “Hall of the Presidents” ride gets a radical overhaul that sees the experience directly transmitted into the brain he sees this as a threat to the old-fashioned thrills of the Mansion and devises a plan to update it. After an attempt on his life Jules' paranoia increases causing his girlfriend to leave him and leading him to plan his revenge on the Hall of Presidents…

An interesting story set in a believable future. Doctorow has quite a SF-spin on Disney World that, at it's heart, captures the spirit of the place but just takes it a little step further. As readers we are caught up in the seemingly reasonable paranoia of Jules as he struggles to figure out what is going on - We are too, frankly. The characters are very real with their separate weaknesses and failings - I can't say I was terribly sympathetic with any of them…

The prose is very quick and easy to read with little in terms of jargon to slow you down (thankfully). The only thing that might help the reader get further into the novel is a basic understanding of Disney World and what is like as this will allow you to appreciate the obvious parody that Doctorow is putting forward here.

Not a long book by any means but certainly worth a read.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2015-12-31

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 2003

ISBN: 9780007327935

Other reviewed books by Cory Doctorow, and Charles Stross: