Josh Alliston 15 December 2011 - 9:54am
Taking its title from a famous Disneyland song, in Cory Doctorow's latest offering trans-humans and humans collide in a dystopian Detroit.
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is a fantastic glimpse into a bleak future where the old is in a never-ending battle with the new, cults implant wires into the heads of their members to share emotions, and immortality is possible, but at a price.
In just a hundred short pages, Doctorow has managed to create a vivid world with bizarre and often dangerous characters and creatures, which is involving, engrossing and terrifyingly believable. Our protagonist is an immortal boy born and raised in ruined Detroit by his semi-immortal father, who has been taught that change is bad. This existence is put into peril by the tree-huggers who believe that change is vital and, more importantly, mandatory. Jimmy Yensid's quiet, happy life looking after a forgotten city is torn apart, and so follows his journey to find a new life and a cure to the curse of perpetual youth.
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is as easy to read and enjoyable as it is thought provoking. The only fault is, unfortunately, a big one; at around 100 pages Doctorow's future is just too short. The reader is swept away into his world only to be snatched out again in a veritable instant.
Also included in this PM Outspoken Authors edition is an lecture on creativity vs. copyright and an interview with the author, which make nice additions to this lovely little book.