Walkaway

Walkaway

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
7
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Abandoning formal society to pursue a minimalist counterculture life in a near-future world wrecked by climate change, a disenchanted senior and his heiress paramour inspire followers who become obsessed with cheating death in ways that turn the world upside down.
Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765392787
076539278X
Characteristics: 1 online resource (379 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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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".

s
SFanGirl
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.

l
lukasevansherman
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.

t
thepanekroom
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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jju42
Jun 11, 2017

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 Doctorow's 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. Walkaway 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.

j
jenniferrabbit
Jun 06, 2017

Excellent. In the near future life for ordinary people, and even for the children of the ultra-rich, has become intolerable. “Walkaways” desert their homes and families and go (to Canada, in this case) to the wilderness and to derelict empty cities and use 3-D printer based technology to create food, clothing, medicines, buildings, vehicles… all necessities and conveniences.. to establish a new civilization. Each Walkaway community defines its own organization – the one we follow has a non-coercive work sharing system where needed tasks and projects are posted and people who are interested show up and do the job. When rulers of the left-behind world (Default) come to feel their way of life threatened by the drain on talent, potential workers and even their own heirs, they invade and destroy all the Walkaway settlements they have discovered.

This book is a splendid combination of fun, adventure, and impressive thoughtfulness. Doctorow portrays characters with different notions of utopia, what difficulties these notions present, and how some may be overcome. At the end of the book, decades later, pure Martin Luther King style resistance prevents the destruction of Walkaway.

This book would probably best be appreciated by the fairly technically savvy reader, able to relate the fictional technical advances to what’s currently here now. But the writing is so clear and riveting the book will still be thoroughly enjoyed by non-nerds.

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