Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Cover

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom


Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom was Cory Doctorow's first novel, and it was nominated for a Nebula in 2004, putting him the category with Paladin of Souls and Cloud Atlas. It was also nominated and won the 2004 Locus First Novel, actually beating out The Time Traveler's Wife! I find this a good novel and a wonderful first attempt. It is not surprising that he won, most of his books have been nominated for at least one major award. He is one of the darlings of the awards circuit, much like China Mieville, who I am personally convinced could spit on a page and it would be awarded in that years round of trophy giving.

Unlike his "Little Brother" series, Down and Out is not a YA novel, despite the title. There are some pretty adult scenes on a space station right in the middle of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters, if not likable per say, very realistic. I believe that the attitudes and behaviors of the characters in the story completely fit the society they live in.

In the end, this story is about what becomes right and wrong in a society that can literally change bodies at a whim. What kind of people would inhabit such a body and what would be considered taboo in a world where the body can be changed like a pair of socks? I'm not sure that Mr. Doctorow really answers this question, but he poses the question in an interesting way.