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10 June 2006

Winged, Weird Creatures, Book

"Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town", by Cory Doctorow

Thursday evening I started craving for a book to read. I had an old recommendation from Marialena for a bookstore with english books in the Ambelokipoi area, so I went to have a look. As it turns out, that bookstore does not have english books any more, but I had a stroll through the interesting neighborhood around the stadium of Panathinaikos football club. I went back home, still with a desire to read, and remembered the books of Cory Doctorow . Doctorow is a canadian science fiction writer who puts his books online as soon as they are out in print versions. He does not put teasers or sample chapters online, but the complete books, ready to download and read. Which I did...


Right now he's put his third novel online. At one point I had started to read his second "Eastern Standard Tribe", but didn't get over the first few page. Not so much because of the book in itself, but because reading on the screen just isn't the same as reading a paper tome. This time I started out with the third one, "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town". By now, early Sunday evening, I finished it. I still would have preferred a paperback, but the electronic version was there, immediately available. It also got me hooked enough to read through all of it on screen.

The book itself isn't easy or plain. It has a pretty weird setup, with characters that are definitely not "normal". Which is a big part of the story. There is a hefty lot of geek talk and geek interest thrown in. If computers and networks are part of your normal life, you will at least in that part feel at home in the book. Some of the un-normal-less of the characters was sometimes a bit disturbing, I had to stop eating souvlaki and reading at the same time at one point. But it's not all disgusting, that was just a moment. Some of the images have a special beauty in their weirdness. There were moments, when I thought that all that weirdness was piled too high. There were some paragraphs that I skipped, especially on the tech/sales talk. Other times I catched something in paragraphs that I had skipped, went back an reread them with gusto.

In the end the world of the book (or at least of the books "special" characters) had me interested enough, that I wanted to read on at the end of the book. There's no big ending, no rolling up of all threads and finishing every thoughtline. It's more of a pensive stopping when this story turns into another story, with a slightly happy ending.

I won't really go into describing the plot or the language style. Since this isn't a paper book that you have to buy (or at least pick up at a book shop to read the first page), you can just browse over, download, and read the first 10 pages. I promise that no book store owner will look at you when you take your time. When you can, you might want to buy it in paper though, so you can read it in an easy chair, unlike me.

Posted by betabug at 20:23 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Comments
Re: Winged, Weird Creatures, Book

Nice review mate. Now Cory Doctorow's novels are on my read list (which keeps growing *sigh*).

Posted by: Saad at June 10,2006 20:31
Re: Winged, Weird Creatures, Book

Hi betabug!
I've read Cory's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" and I really enjoyed it, it has some nice sociological ideasm, like the Woofie!

He is the editor in Boing-Boing and MAKE magazine, that is where I got to know him.

If the computer screen is too annoying, you can try reading the book on your mobile phone, if it supports Java.

I'm using MicroReader, but it is only compatible with Siemens phones. I've read more than 10 books this way, mostly on the bus.

You can look for a program suitable for your phone at getjar.

Posted by: mmjrules at June 11,2006 10:01
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