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Walkaway (Hardcover)

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I’ve heard people call the new Cory Doctorow novel, Walkaway “dystopian, but I respectfully disagree. It’s post-dystopian. Something has happened that has left the world reduced to mega-cities, leaving huge swathes of land where cities and towns used to be vacant and rotting. In the civilized “default” world, you have the incredibly, massively wealthy – the zotta-rich – and everyone else. Parents go into huge debt to get their kids into charter high schools, hoping they’ll be able to support their parents when they can no longer work. No one retires.

But there are always rebels, and at the beginning of Walkaway, we meet Hubert, Seth and Natalie. Hubert, known as Hubert, ect. because his full name is Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Nicholas Espinoza is caught in the dilemma of being too old for the crowd he’s hanging out with but wanting to hang out with Seth, his best friend. They’re at a Communist party, where twenty-somethings party hard in abandoned warehouses, while extruding furniture (or whatever the warehouse used to make) for free to give to all the poor people who always need something. In this case, it’s chairs and tables. The parties run until the cops come.

Natalie is the daughter of zotta-rich parents, and she’s in full-rebellion mode. After this particular party, when things go horribly wrong, she and the two guys decide to go “walkaway”. Walkaways simply walk away from cities, going to live in the abandoned areas and live simple lives. They can use abandoned extruders and leftover material to create anything anyone needs, so there’s no need for money. It’s a true collective ideal – everyone works at what they do best, and everyone shares in the bounty.

Of course, because people are involved, things aren’t that easy. And Natalie, who changed her name to Iceweasel when she walked away, isn’t supposed to do something like that, so she’s always aware that her father could come after her at any time.

Walkaway is filled with all kinds of concepts and people, and it made me think, expand my awareness of social constructs. I chose not to expand my knowledge of computer coding, which is an integral part of the society Cory Doctorow has created, but I don’t feel like I missed any of the story because of it.

And as always with me, it’s all about the people. The first chapter is told from Hubert’s point of view, the second from Limpopo’s, and the rest is really Iceweasel’s story, but there are lots of other people we get to meet and experience.  And I love them all, even when I don’t much like them. These are complex, dynamic and passionate individuals who can’t always explain why they’re doing what they’re doing, but are driven to accomplish things anyway, and often against terrible odds.

Walkaway is a solid exploration of how people interact, what brings out the best and worst of us, and leads us into the territory of questioning immortality: if it’s possible to achieve it, should we? But deep concepts aside, this is a fast-paced, exciting and fabulous piece of writing, and Cory Doctorow has walked that fine line between concept and action, moving the story forward without losing pacing to exposition. I’m going to have to re-read it, because I suspect I’ll get more out of it with each reading.

— Fran


Cory Doctorow's first adult novel in eight years: an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death.

Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza known to his friends as Hubert, Etc was too old to be at that Communist party.

But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society and walk away.

After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life food, clothing, shelter from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system.

It's still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, 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.

Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation SF thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years and the very human people who will live their consequences.

About the Author

Cory Doctorow is a co-editor of Boing Boing and a columnist for the Guardian, Publishers Weekly, and Locus. His award-winning novel Little Brother was a New York Times bestseller. Born and raised in Canada, he lives in Los Angeles.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780765392763
ISBN-10: 0765392763
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 384
Language: English