Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

I’ve had Corey Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom on my reading list for a while, without realizing that it hadn’t actually been released yet. Today it was set loose, to my delight, not only in paper form, but also in a variety of electronic formats that can be downloaded and swapped freely. (For you web types, there’s even a particularly nice CSS trick in the HTML version.)

Corey’s motivation for making his novel available at no charge? One of the more compelling arguments of the musicians who have embraced free music swapping over record contracts as the way to get their material to a listening public: obscurity is a greater enemy to the artist than is piracy. Since this is his first novel, he wants to get it into as many hands as possible, figuring the word-of-month buzz will do more to increase his sales than the sharing will decrease them. Should be an interesting experiment.

I’m to Chapter 3 so far, and it looks like every bit the interesting novel that I’d hoped.