A Novel

Book - 2017
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"Hubert, Seth, and their ultra-rich heiress friend Natalie are getting a little old to hang out at the "Communist parties," techno-raveups in abandoned industrial spaces, full of insta-printed drugs and toys. And Natalie was finished, years ago, with her overcontrolling zillionaire dad. And now that anyone can manufacture food, clothing, shelter with equipment comparable to a computer printer, there seems to be little reason to to stick with the world of rules and jobs. So, like hundreds of thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them...walk away. Mind you, it's still dangerous out there. Much of the countryside is wrecked by climate change, and predators are with us always. Yet when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it's war--a war that will turn the world upside down" -- provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765392763
Branch Call Number: Science Fiction F Doc


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Mar 01, 2019

I may be at a disadvantage because I haven't read his prior novels, but this was an overly pedantic novel. If you've ever suffered through Philosophy 101, basic economics, or sociology 101, then most of the dialogue is tortuous. Some great science fiction ideas are hidden behind the dialogue. The story lacks a lot of action, but when it does have those moments, the story becomes alive. I was not impressed with the ending, where decades pass by at the urn of the page.

Still, I enjoyed the read enough to give it a 3 star rating.

WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

This is my favorite novel of 2017! I love the exceptional world-building in this thought-provoking sci-fi thriller. In a near-future wrecked by climate change and controlled by the uber-rich, walkaways try to change the world by walking away from default culture and forging something new.

SCL_Justin Jul 10, 2018

Walkaway is the latest novel by Cory Doctorow. It’s a utopian tale of people who, because of ubiquitous 3d printing technology (that can produce food, drugs, shelter, clothing and whatever else out of raw material feedstock) drop out of the default society that has no place for them apart from working terrible jobs to try and become one of the zotta-rich (since the 1% is now giga-beyond mega-rich).

The story follows a bunch of different walkaways, starting with three who make the decision after a communist party. One of those three is the daughter of a zotta, which fuels most of the plot. Otherwise it’s about how a post-scarcity society based on walking away from the ratrace could work. It’s hugely utopian and I really liked it, even when default society was sending the troops in to destroy these techno hippies.

The marketing material stressed how it’s his first Adult novel in years (after doing a run of YA work), but the main difference between this and something like Little Brother is that this has sex scenes. Which are fine, but whatever. It still felt like a YA book and a big part of that is that until the last quarter of the book everyone we see walking away are people’s kids or hipsters or disconnected from the world scientists. No one walks away from their kids, or brings them with them. It feels very adolescent not to deal with the responsibilities you’re walking away from. Or maybe that’s just something I notice more now that I’m more of a boring grownup. The book feels like it’s telling me if I wanted to walk away I should have done it before now. So that’s kind of depressing, to have a novel show you the society you want and say you’re too late for it. I guess that’s just what aging is for though.

Apr 18, 2018

Poor. Don’t know where this was heading and the story did not make me want to care. I did not make it past 20 pages. Very painful 20 pages

Dec 27, 2017

The premise of the book is that in a world ruled by the super-wealthy 0.0001% and the rest underemployed and in debt, that people will rebel by walking away from society to live on abandoned land in communes running shared networks, schools, and open source R&D facilities. There are no shades of grey: the Walkaways are good and kind and the rulers are evil and ruthless, threatened enough to kill and to destroy what the Walkaways build. There are pages and pages of speechifying about the Walkaway philosophy - a combination of 1960’s hippies meet tech-savvy Occupy Wall Streeters. But people can Walkaway and live communally without possessions because technology allows them to fabricate from salvaged scrap materials whatever they need, including food, buildings, vehicles, and even beer from urine. With such technology, could society not have naturally evolved to a hybrid, socialist economy where peoples’ needs are met, discoveries are shared, and the 0.0001% are simply irrelevant? By far the most interesting aspect of the book is the well-imagined future civilian and military technologies that both make the Walkaways’ lifestyle possible and their lives miserable. Despite the heavy-handed and interminable proselytizing, the book is thought-provoking and perhaps will give one pause about society's focus on possessions, beauty, and status.

JessicaGma Nov 30, 2017

It's a completely possible dystopia, full of near future technology. It's a dense read, but quite interesting, especially when it's all set in Canada and pits capitalism versus the complete non economy of the walkways. I liked it better than "Makers" but not as much as "Little Brother".

Oct 16, 2017

Another suspenseful effort by Doctorow that is harrowing not just for the characters but for the ideas that seem altogether too likely in this current political, social and cyber climate.

Jul 22, 2017

Everywhere you look these days its utopias, dystopias, apocalypse, post-apocalypse, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! But seriously, there are a lot of books, films, and TV shows like this right now. In fiction, recent books I can think of include "California," "Station 11," "American War" (The best of the lost, in my opinion.), "On Such a Full Sea," "The Circle," Ivanka Trump's "Women Who Work," and "Zone One." Cory Doctrow is no Johnny come lately, as sci-fi is his thing and he, presciently, wrote a book called "Little Brother" (Orwell: So hot right now.). I don't share the enthusiasm of my fellow library patrons for his latest, which I just couldn't get into. Lots of cyber-nerd stuff (dull) and lots of sex (not bad). But don't take my word for it, as the back features a blurb from Edward Snowden!

JCLJoshN Jul 15, 2017

At a time when it feels like we're living in dystopian fiction, I need more positive, utopian fiction. Walkaway has a lot of Cory Doctorow's usual bits--idealistic anarchist hackers, postscarcity enclaves, oppressive and exploitative governments/corporations, sex-loving nerds--but writ extra-large, with the kinds of big, philosophical discussions I loved having in college (and after college), epic conflicts, and the inspiring idea that while governments and corporations may fail us, people can save each other. This is a good dream to have.

Jul 03, 2017

Cory Doctorow is in love with ideas. Sometimes the ideas rule the story (Pirate Cinema, for example), and the human drama is shoehorned in or abandoned as necessary. Here, as in his better books, the ideas lead to the human drama.
In the near future, scarcity is almost a manufactured good -- the supremely wealthy could work to benefit all, but are too convinced that 'all' do not deserve their munificence. A significant number of individuals have dropped out of that society, using pirated equipment designs and wiki-knowhow to build a parallel gift economy on unwanted land. However, just because scarcity is not the rule does not mean all is happy -- differing philosophies still conflict and lead to losses, even before the traditionally wealthy decide that the Walkaways must be destroyed. Victories are almost always temporary, like defeats, which is true enough here in the real world.
Not quite a manual for going walkaway, but certainly a guidebook to what the terrain might hold. Solid and compelling throughout; I finished it about three hours after my bedtime. Don't judge it by its first forty pages -- that's just him making sure you hate every aspect of 'Default,' the square society.

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