On The Reputation Economy

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Cory Doctorow
2003

Thanks to many, many, unspecified technological advances, the world has become a Utopia. In “Bitchun Society”, death has been defeated – you upload your mind every night while you are asleep, and if you happen to die, your last upload is downloaded into a cloned body. You just lose a day. Scarcity and the problems of resource allocation have all been conquered. People join together in voluntary associations as needed to do what needs to be done.

Jules “works” at Disney World, where he and his friends and colleagues have taken it upon themselves to keep the theme park running. But his vision of what the Haunted Mansion should be clashes with his rival Debra, who has completely different ideas.

One day, Jules is “killed”. Restored from his backup, he finds that Debra has used his “downtime” to move in on his “territory”. Now Jules must fight to reclaim control of the Haunted Mansion, while figuring out who killed him – and why.

I suppose we should give authors a bit of a break on their first novels. Very few artists create masterpieces on their first time. So when the plot-motivating murder mystery gets pushed to the background, and a lot of the characters are rather flat, it’s understandable and forgiveable. This is primarily a story of social ideas, anyway.

But I find fatal flaws in one of his ideas….

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