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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Review: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom(Free Kindle download) is a short novel (really a novella) about a post-scarcity society known as The Bitchun society, a society where the reputation economy has come about. There's no money, there's only the Whuffle, which you get when people like you, or like the things you do, and you can trade that in for favors or things.

The novel revolves around a man who works in Disneyworld for the Haunted Mansion with his girlfriend who gets murdered one day. Since you can back yourself up in this universe and do a restore just as easily, he was soon resurrected, though not without a glitch. As he tries to figure out who killed him, he becomes paranoid and a thoroughly unpleasant fellow, losing his girlfriend, and slowly all his Whuffles.

As with a typical science fiction novel that's really about one idea, that entire plot is an excuse to explain the Bitchun society and the implications thereof. As a novel, complexity is lacking, and the narrator is practically unbelieveable, especially as the plot unwinds towards the end.

As an exploration of a post-scarcity society and the implications of backup/restore, however, the novella does a fine job. And given that it's such a short read, that's enough to recommend it.

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