?

Log in

No account? Create an account
#264 Cory Doctorow: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town - Off in the distance
browse
my journal
links
May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-11 09:40
Subject: #264 Cory Doctorow: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
Security: Public
Tags:books, books by friends of friends, reviews
Cory Doctorow: Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (30 May 2006)
ISBN-10: 0765312808
ISBN-13: 978-0765312808
Category(ies): Fantasy

Coy Doctorow is probably best known for his activism, and for the Boing Boing site. But he's also a writer, with works such as the clever Eastern Standard Tribe, a vision of a possible very near future.

Here is another work by him. Expecting as I was something showing his interests, I was unsurprised by the theme of building a community-based open access WiFi network in the city of Toronto. I was surprised, however, by the oddness of a paragraph on the third page, but initially put it down to it being a metaphor that would later get cleared up.

Oh no, it didn't.

He meant it.

This is a small scale story. The central character Alan (or Albert, or Andy, or Abram) is the eldest of seven brothers who have a common name inconsistency. Well, Arthur's name always start with A, and David's with D, but there's no consistency beyond that though, somehow, we do always know when one of them is being named. (Yes, OK, this is odd, but not the oddest bit.) In the absence of parental supervision, Danny went off the rails as a young child, and has been the threat to the rest of the family ever since, while Alan, as the eldest, is trying to thwart him and protect them. Much of the story occurs in flash backs and at one point, there are a number of different time threads running simultaneously - something that can be confusing. However, it does work, though it's not the easiest book to read. (Or maybe it's just me, but I did bounce off it for a bit.) I found the ending a little unsatisfying: the major revelation fell a bit flat, but on the whole the novel worked.

I just hadn't been expecting such an infusion of Magic Realism.

Compared to Eastern Standard Tribe, this one is odd. Interesting, but distinctly odd. And avoid reading the blurb, or the reviews. Oops, too late.
Post A Comment | 9 Comments | | Link






kit: tqb
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-06-11 04:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:tqb
I can't remember if I've read ESTribe, but I read DOWN & OUT IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM and SCtT, and...man. I think Doctorow might just be too weird for me. Should I try ESTribe?

BTW, thank you for the extremely lovely review of TQB. The Elizabeth Gloriana et all made me laugh. That's my favorite way I've seen so far of somebody referencing the name changes. :)
Reply | Thread | Link



The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-11 05:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've not yet read Down and Out (it's on the to-read shelf), so umm. You're saying it's also weird? Okaaay ....

EST was the first of his that I read, and I found it quite straightforward. Having heard him doing a reading from Little Brother at PicoCon (that was the one day Con in London in February, not PCon or PiCon), which also sounded straightforward in a Vernor Vinge sort of way, SctT initially threw me.

Perhaps there are two Corys? Naah. There couldn't be two people with such strong interests in the everyday near-term implications of computing technology.

So, the answer to that is that I suspect EST is the book for introducing Cory to new readers. Low weirdness coefficient.

As for TQB, I'm glad you liked the review: I liked the book. I'm aware that some of the authors I read and review are on my friends list (you, Charlie, Jo Walton, Peter and Diane, Juliet McK off the top of my head), but I try not to be too partial in those cases. Perhaps I've been lucky so far in not encountering anything I've disliked. But then I also tend to buy books I expect to like, and am rarely disappointed.

(The corollary of the last is that I may be slow to try new writers.)

Edited at 2008-06-11 09:41 am (UTC)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Angelic Eye for the Gendered-Species Individual: get yourself connected[hardware version]
User: rysmiel
Date: 2008-06-11 10:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:get yourself connected[hardware version]
Down and Out is IMO less weird than Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, and closer to EST on general weirdness level.

As aethereal_girl pointed out, in the mode of thinking where all stories boild sown to man vs. man, man vs. nature or man vs. himself, Cory's thematic preoccupation is a previously undiscovered forth great class of conflict, man vs. insufficient wireless networking.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-06-11 15:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yeah, I'd agree it's less weird, but it's still weird. At least for my tastes. :)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-11 15:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*laugh*

(By the way, any chance you might finally join the list of published authors? I've heard some very good things about your writing from a certain mutual friend.)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



kit
User: mizkit
Date: 2008-06-11 15:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was wondering if you found it difficult or awkward to review books by people with whom you are acquainted or friends. It's a curious position to be in. :)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-11 15:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It was something I was initially worried about. But I think a combination of trying to honestly appraise everything, to find the good sides of everything, and luck (in that I've not read anything by any of you lot that I haven't liked) has alleviated any concerns I had.

If I did encounter anything I considered a stinker, I might be tempted not to review it. But, excluding a stack to my right which I'll probably not review because it's now too late and I can't remember them well enough, I've reviewed just about everything except instruction manuals.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



sphyg
User: sphyg
Date: 2008-06-11 06:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ooh, that sounds like something I'd like to read. I'm going through an odd phase ;P
Reply | Thread | Link



The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2008-06-11 15:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Uhhuh!

Does that just apply to your current reading tastes, or is married life having an effect on you?
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link