The Whuffie Starts Here
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Whuffie Ring

'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom' by Cory Doctorow
Cory's novel: order it online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's.

When's the last time you visited the Magic Kindgom in Florida? For my wife Laura and I, it was the week before December 20, 2002. Laura took me there as a surprise Christmas present, no small thing considering we live in New York City. Our friend Cory Doctorow provided Laura with invaluable assistance in planning the trip, but his contributions didn't end there. Having both recently read the manuscript of his debut novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, me for the second time, Laura for the first, we looked at our Disney World experience—particularly the Haunted Mansion—with fresh eyes.

Update!

Down and Out is out, as of January 9, 2003. Buy it online, or download it for free. That's right—the full text, for free!

Stay up to date on other Down and Out news at Cory's site.

Who hasn't fantasized about designing, and redesigning, favorite amusement park rides? That's the brilliant device at the heart of Cory's novel, the one that sucks you into his future world of near-immortality and reputation-based economics (or "whuffie") and makes you complicit in his audacious reworking of tomorrow's Liberty Square. But what keeps you reading is the thoroughly lived-in feeling of his post-cyberpunk vision of the future. This is arguably the best science fiction novel ever set in a theme park. (Sorry, Michael Crichton.) And if that sounds like faint praise, it's not.

Haunted Mansion
Plaque at the entrance to the grounds of the Haunted Mansion.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is surely going to attract a lot of attention when it hits stores. I anticipate a desire among fans of the book to visit the sites where it (took/will take) place, sort of like hitting the Stations of the Cross in a Catholic cathedral, and snap photos proving they were there. Hoping to be the first to do so, and maybe thereby accumulate some whuffie of my own, I present the "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom Whuffie Ring," a web ring to let people link up their Down and Out fan pages.

So go ahead. Travel to Florida. Visit Liberty Square, the Hall of the Presidents, the Haunted Mansion. Get your picture taken with one of its 999 happy haunts. You loved Disney World when you were a kid—you know you did. Now's your chance to show the world you love what it could someday be.

Below is my own humble Down and Out album. Now let's see yours.

Bill at the Haunted Mansion Bill at the Hall of Presidents
Bill poses before the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion, where our hero Jules and his ad hoc mount a daring and controversial rehab plan. But will his cleverness work for or against him? Bill at the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents, where our hero's arch-nemesis Debra stages an ingenious virtual rehab. But is it just the first move in a scheme to coopt all of Liberty Square?


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