DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM
DOWN AND OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM
Kelly Link Author Stranger Things Happen
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is the most entertaining and exciting
science fiction story I've read in the last few years. I love page-
turners especially when they are as unusual as this novel. I predict
big things for Down and Out -- it could easily become a breakout genre-
Mark Frauenfelder Contributing Editor Wired Magazine
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. Welcome to the Bitchun Society--and make sure you're
strapped in tight because it's going to be a wild ride. In a world
where everyone's wishes can come true one man returns to the original
crumbling city of dreams--Disney World. Here in the spiritual center
of the Bitchun Society he struggles to find and preserve the original
human face of the Magic Kingdom against the young post-human and
increasingly alien inheritors of the Earth. Now that any experience can
be simulated human relationships become ever more fragile; and to
Julius the corny mechanical ghosts of the Haunted Mansion have come to
seem like a precious link to a past when we could tell the real from the
simulated the true from the false.
Cory Doctorow--cultural critic Disneyphile and ultimate Early Adopter
--uses language with the reckless confidence of the Beat poets. Yet
behind the dazzling prose and vibrant characters lie ideas we should all
pay heed to. The future rushes on like a plummeting roller coaster and
it's hard to see where we're going. But at least with this book
Doctorow has given us a map of the park.
Karl Schroeder Author Permanence
Cory Doctorow is the most interesting new SF writer I've come across in
years.? He starts out at the point where older SF writers' speculations
end.? It's a distinct pleasure to give him some Whuffie.
Rudy Rucker Author Spaceland
Cory Doctorow rocks! I check his blog about ten times a day because
he's always one of the first to notice a major incursion from the
social-technological-pop-cultural future and his voice is a compelling
vehicle for news from the future. Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom is
about a world that is visible in its outlines today if you know where
to look from reputation systems to peer-to-peer adhocracies. Doctorow
knows where to look and how to word-paint the rest of us into the
Howard Rheingold Author Smart Mobs
Doctorow is more than just a sick mind looking to twist the perceptions
of those whose realities remain uncorrupted - though that should be
enough recommendation to read his work. *Down and Out in the Magic
Kingdom* is black comedic sci-fi prophecy on the dangers of
surrendering our consensual hallucination to the regime. Fun to read
but difficult to sleep afterwards.
Douglas Rushkoff Author of Cyberia and Media Virus!
"Wow! Disney imagineering meets nanotechnology the reputation economy
and Ray Kurzweil's transhuman future. As much fun as Neal Stephenson's
Snow Crash and as packed with mind bending ideas about social changes
cascading from the frontiers of science."
Tim O'Reilly Publisher and Founder O'Reilly and Associates
Doctorow has created a rich and exciting vision of the future and then
wrote a page-turner of a story in it. I couldn't put the book down.
Bruce Schneier Author Secrets and Lies
Cory Doctorow is one of our best new writers: smart daring savvy
entertaining ambitious plugged-in and as good a guide to the wired
world of the twenty-first century that stretches out before us as you're
going to find.
Gardner Dozois Editor Asimov's SF
Cory Doctorow's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" tells a gripping
fast-paced story that hinges on thought-provoking extrapolation from
today's technical realities. This is the sort of book that captures and
defines the spirit of a turning point in human history when our tools
remake ourselves and our world.
Mitch Kapor Founder Lotus Inc. co-founder Electronic Frontier
======================= A note about this book: =======================
"Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" is my first novel. It's an actual
no-foolin' words-on-paper book published by the good people at Tor
Books in New York City. You can buy this book in stores or online by
following links like this one:
So what's with this file? Good question.
I'm releasing the entire text of this book as a free freely
redistributable e-book. You can download it put it on a P2P net put it
on your site email it to a friend and if you're addicted to dead
trees you can even print it.
Why am I doing this thing? Well it's a long story but to shorten it
up: first-time novelists have a tough row to hoe. Our publishers don't
have a lot of promotional budget to throw at unknown factors like us.
Mostly we rise and fall based on word-of-mouth. I'm not bad at word-of-
mouth. I have a blog Boing Boing (http://boingboing.net) where I do a
*lot* of word-of-mouthing. I compulsively tell friends and strangers
about things that I like.
And telling people about stuff I like is *way* *way* easier if I can
just send it to 'em. Way easier.
What's more P2P nets kick all kinds of ass. Most of the books music
and movies ever released are not available for sale anywhere in the
world. In the brief time that P2P nets have flourished the ad-hoc
masses of the Internet have managed to put just about *everything*
online. What's more they've done it for cheaper than any other
archiving/revival effort ever. I'm a stone infovore and this kinda
Internet mishegas gives me a serious frisson of futurosity.
Yeah there are legal problems. Yeah it's hard to figure out how people
are gonna make money doing it. Yeah there is a lot of social upheaval
and a serious threat to innovation freedom business and whatnot. It's
your basic end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario and as a science
fiction writer end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenaria are my stock-in-
I'm especially grateful to my publisher Tor Books (http://www.tor.com)
and my editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden
(http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite) for being hep enough to let me
try out this experiment.
All that said here's the deal: I'm releasing this book under a license
developed by the Creative Commons project (http://creativecommons.org/).
This is a project that lets people like me roll our own license
agreements for the distribution of our creative work under terms similar
to those employed by the Free/Open Source Software movement. It's a
great project and I'm proud to be a part of it.
Here's a summary of the license:
Attribution. The licensor permits others to copy distribute display
and perform the work. In return licensees must give the original author
No Derivative Works. The licensor permits others to copy distribute
display and perform only unaltered copies of the work -- not derivative
works based on it.
Noncommercial. The licensor permits others to copy distribute display
and perform the work. In return licensees may not use the work for
commercial purposes -- unless they get the licensor's permission.
And here's the license itself:
THE WORK (AS DEFINED BELOW) IS PROVIDED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS CREATIVE
COMMONS PUBLIC LICENSE ("CCPL" OR "LICENSE"). THE WORK IS PROTECTED BY
COPYRIGHT AND/OR OTHER APPLICABLE LAW. ANY USE OF THE WORK OTHER THAN AS
AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE IS PROHIBITED.
BY EXERCISING ANY RIGHTS TO THE WORK PROVIDED HERE YOU ACCEPT AND AGREE
TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE. THE LICENSOR GRANTS YOU THE
RIGHTS CONTAINED HERE IN CONSIDERATION OF YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH TERMS
a. "Collective Work" means a work such as a periodical issue anthology
or encyclopedia in which the Work in its entirety in unmodified form
along with a number of other contributions constituting separate and
independent works in themselves are assembled into a collective whole.
A work that constitutes a Collective Work will not be considered a
Derivative Work (as defined below) for the purposes of this License.
b. "Derivative Work" means a work based upon the Work or upon the Work
and other pre-existing works such as a translation musical
arrangement dramatization fictionalization motion picture version
sound recording art reproduction abridgment condensation or any
other form in which the Work may be recast transformed or adapted
except that a work that constitutes a Collective Work will not be
considered a Derivative Work for the purpose of this License.
c. "Licensor" means the individual or entity that offers the Work under
the terms of this License.
d. "Original Author" means the individual or entity who created the
e. "Work" means the copyrightable work of authorship offered under the
terms of this License.
f. "You" means an individual or entity exercising rights under this
License who has not previously violated the terms of this License with
respect to the Work or who has received express permission from the
Licensor to exercise rights under this License despite a previous
2. Fair Use Rights. Nothing in this license is intended to reduce
limit or restrict any rights arising from fair use first sale or other
limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner under
copyright law or other applicable laws.
3. License Grant. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License
Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide royalty-free non-exclusive
perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright) license to
exercise the rights in the Work as stated below:
a. to reproduce the Work to incorporate the Work into one or more
Collective Works and to reproduce the Work as incorporated in the
b. to distribute copies or phonorecords of display publicly perform
publicly and perform publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
the Work including as incorporated in Collective Works;
The above rights may be exercised in all media and formats whether now
known or hereafter devised. The above rights include the right to make
such modifications as are technically necessary to exercise the rights
in other media and formats. All rights not expressly granted by Licensor
are hereby reserved.
4. Restrictions. The license granted in Section 3 above is expressly
made subject to and limited by the following restrictions:
a. You may distribute publicly display publicly perform or publicly
digitally perform the Work only under the terms of this License and You
must include a copy of or the Uniform Resource Identifier for this
License with every copy or phonorecord of the Work You distribute
publicly display publicly perform or publicly digitally perform. You
may not offer or impose any terms on the Work that alter or restrict the
terms of this License or the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
hereunder. You may not sublicense the Work. You must keep intact all
notices that refer to this License and to the disclaimer of warranties.
You may not distribute publicly display publicly perform or publicly
digitally perform the Work with any technological measures that control
access or use of the Work in a manner inconsistent with the terms of
this License Agreement. The above applies to the Work as incorporated in
a Collective Work but this does not require the Collective Work apart
from the Work itself to be made subject to the terms of this License. If
You create a Collective Work upon notice from any Licensor You must to
the extent practicable remove from the Collective Work any reference to
such Licensor or the Original Author as requested.
b. You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3
above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward
commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. The exchange of
the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or
otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward
commercial advantage or private monetary compensation provided there is
no payment of any monetary compensation in connection with the exchange
of copyrighted works.
c. If you distribute publicly display publicly perform or publicly
digitally perform the Work or any Collective Works You must keep intact
all copyright notices for the Work and give the Original Author credit
reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing by conveying the
name (or pseudonym if applicable) of the Original Author if supplied;
the title of the Work if supplied. Such credit may be implemented in any
reasonable manner; provided however that in the case of a Collective
Work at a minimum such credit will appear where any other comparable
authorship credit appears and in a manner at least as prominent as such
other comparable authorship credit.
5. Representations Warranties and Disclaimer
a. By offering the Work for public release under this License Licensor
represents and warrants that to the best of Licensor's knowledge after
i. Licensor has secured all rights in the Work necessary to grant the
license rights hereunder and to permit the lawful exercise of the rights
granted hereunder without You having any obligation to pay any
royalties compulsory license fees residuals or any other payments;
ii. The Work does not infringe the copyright trademark publicity
rights common law rights or any other right of any third party or
constitute defamation invasion of privacy or other tortious injury to
any third party.
b. EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY STATED IN THIS LICENSE OR OTHERWISE AGREED IN
WRITING OR REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW THE WORK IS LICENSED ON AN "AS
IS" BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED
INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY WARRANTIES REGARDING THE CONTENTS OR
ACCURACY OF THE WORK.
6. Limitation on Liability. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE
LAW AND EXCEPT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM LIABILITY TO A THIRD PARTY
RESULTING FROM BREACH OF THE WARRANTIES IN SECTION 5 IN NO EVENT WILL
LICENSOR BE LIABLE TO YOU ON ANY LEGAL THEORY FOR ANY SPECIAL
INCIDENTAL CONSEQUENTIAL PUNITIVE OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF
THIS LICENSE OR THE USE OF THE WORK EVEN IF LICENSOR HAS BEEN ADVISED
OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
a. This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate
automatically upon any breach by You of the terms of this License.
Individuals or entities who have received Collective Works from You
under this License however will not have their licenses terminated
provided such individuals or entities remain in full compliance with
those licenses. Sections 1 2 5 6 7 and 8 will survive any
termination of this License.
b. Subject to the above terms and conditions the license granted here
is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright in the Work).
Notwithstanding the above Licensor reserves the right to release the
Work under different license terms or to stop distributing the Work at
any time; provided however that any such election will not serve to
withdraw this License (or any other license that has been or is
required to be granted under the terms of this License) and this
License will continue in full force and effect unless terminated as
a. Each time You distribute or publicly digitally perform the Work or a
Collective Work the Licensor offers to the recipient a license to the
Work on the same terms and conditions as the license granted to You
under this License.
b. If any provision of this License is invalid or unenforceable under
applicable law it shall not affect the validity or enforceability of
the remainder of the terms of this License and without further action
by the parties to this agreement such provision shall be reformed to
the minimum extent necessary to make such provision valid and
c. No term or provision of this License shall be deemed waived and no
breach consented to unless such waiver or consent shall be in writing
and signed by the party to be charged with such waiver or consent.
d. This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties
with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings
agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified
here. Licensor shall not be bound by any additional provisions that may
appear in any communication from You. This License may not be modified
without the mutual written agreement of the Licensor and You.
======== PROLOGUE ========
I lived long enough to see the cure for death; to see the rise of the
Bitchun Society to learn ten languages; to compose three symphonies; to
realize my boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World; to see
the death of the workplace and of work.
I never thought I'd live to see the day when Keep A-Movin' Dan would
decide to deadhead until the heat death of the Universe.
Dan was in his second or third blush of youth when I first met him
sometime late-XXI. He was a rangy cowpoke apparent 25 or so all
rawhide squint-lines and sunburned neck boots worn thin and infinitely
comfortable. I was in the middle of my Chem thesis my fourth Doctorate
and he was taking a break from Saving the World chilling on campus in
Toronto and core-dumping for some poor Anthro major. We hooked up at the
Grad Students' Union -- the GSU or Gazoo for those who knew -- on a
busy Friday night spring-ish. I was fighting a coral-slow battle for a
stool at the scratched bar inching my way closer every time the press
of bodies shifted and he had one of the few seats surrounded by a
litter of cigarette junk and empties clearly encamped.
Some duration into my foray he cocked his head at me and raised a sun-
bleached eyebrow. "You get any closer son and we're going to have to
get a pre-nup."
I was apparent forty or so and I thought about bridling at being called
son but I looked into his eyes and decided that he had enough realtime
that he could call me son anytime he wanted. I backed off a little and
He struck a cig and blew a pungent strong plume over the bartender's
head. "Don't worry about it. I'm probably a little over accustomed to
I couldn't remember the last time I'd heard anyone on-world talk about
personal space. With the mortality rate at zero and the birth-rate at
non-zero the world was inexorably accreting a dense carpet of people
even with the migratory and deadhead drains on the population. "You've
been jaunting?" I asked -- his eyes were too sharp for him to have
missed an instant's experience to deadheading.
He chuckled. "No sir not me. I'm into the kind of macho shitheadery