Tor. May 2017. 384p. ISBN 9780765392763. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765392787. SF
In Doctorow's (Little Brother) near future, all our needs can easily and cheaply be satisfied with advances in computing and 3-D printing technology. But the gulf between rich and poor is getting larger, prompting the disaffected to "walk away" from society. Natalie, Seth, and Etcetera are three such walkaways, leaving Toronto with packs on their backs and a determination to find a better way to live. They meet up with other like-minded individuals who reside in communes, pooling knowledge and resources. The superrich they left behind are simply not willing to let walkaways exist, especially as their technological advances promise to defeat death itself. Doctorow has envisioned a fascinating world on the brink of post-scarcity. His characters philosophically muse on topics such as inequity, the nature of human consciousness, gender identity, and the idea of the greater good. But there is just enough action to leaven all that philosophy.
VERDICT This intriguing take on a future that might be right around the corner is bound to please Doctorow's many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 10/10/16.]
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