Someone comes to town, someone leaves town

I have just finished Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone leaves Town.

It's only natural that Alan, the broadminded hero of Doctorow's fresh, unconventional SF novel, is willing to help everybody he meets. After all, he's the product of a mixed marriage (his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine), so he knows how much being an outcast can hurt. Alan tries desperately to behave like a human being--or at least like his idealized version of one. He joins a cyber-anarchist's plot to spread a free wireless Internet through Toronto at the same time he agrees to protect his youngest brothers (members of a set of Russian nesting dolls) from their dead brother who's now resurrected and bent on revenge.
(Publishers Weekly)

The book takes of as a rollercoaster, first we meet Alan that is moving in in his new house were he intends to write his book. All is normal until we learn that his mother is a washing machine and his father a mountain. The switch between storylines was so sudden I had to read the first paragraph about AlanĀ“s childhood two times before I could wrap my brain around the concept.

After a great start the storyline about free wireless Internet takes off and the book looses speed dramatically. There is a large segment in the book were nothing significant happens, and characters introduced in the beginning are just left on the side. The wireless internet storyline feels more like a filler and doesn't move Alan or anything else in the book forward.

I was disappointed, what started off so excellent wasn't carried all the way to the end. The main character Alan and his neighbors are so interesting that it would have been more than enough for the book. Some characters are sketchy and some events are left without explanation. The end of the book feels like it was written in a hurry. Doctorow could use a good editor.

I wouldn't recommend buying it, but do download the free e-book version.


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