I expected to enjoy Accelerando by Charles Stross and have a really hard time finishing Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. The former includes cool stuff like mind uploading, space colonization, and singularity. The latter is set in an incredibly challenging environment (in terms of holding my interest)–a theme park. I experienced the reverse.
Manfred Macx, an open source entrepreneur of the future (very approximately), has a kid with his IRS agent luddite wife. They and their descendents carry their family squabbles across the universe and singularity. As this incredibly non-interesting story unfolds, Accelerando takes every opportunity to reference dot com bubble, transhumanist, and obscure political cliches and inside jokes, without any real depth.
Accelerando was originally written as ten stories, many of which won awards, and several of which I can imagine being enjoyable as shorts. The book is way too long.
can put up with lots of crapenjoy science fiction, you’ll probably like Accelerando. Everyone else, skim the Accelerando Technical Companion to pick up any missing memes. Peter McCluskey has a better Accelerando review.
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is short and concerns the fate of a theme park ride rather than the fate of the universe. Theme park rides are run by adhocracies. The only way for an ad hoc to take over a ride is to have such an obviously better plan for it that nobody resists–but not everyone wants to play by the rules.
Much is left unexplained (e.g, how does cleaning bathrooms immediately boost one’s whuffie—mass surveillance?), but the core ideas Doctorow explores infect every page, making the book the most thought provoking treatise on Disney theme park rides ever.
What would an economy driven by open source concepts and reputation (post-capitalist but not necessarily post-market?) look like? This is a concern of both books. Neither has concrete answers, but Down and Out does a fair job of toying with the question, cat-like, in its limited domain.
Both authors are trying primitive versions of these ideas in the real world, having released Accelerando and Down and Out under Creative Commons licenses. You can download the books here and here. I commend both authors for this and for even attempting to write human stories about such abstract and interesting topics.