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Product Details

  • Series: Outspoken Authors (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: PM Press; Original edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604864044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604864045
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Doctorow is a highly respected blogger (as coeditor of Boing Boing), a journalist, and a tireless advocate for the open-source movement to allow greater freedom to distribute content on the web, in such areas as digital-rights management and file sharing. He is also an award-winning writer of contemporary science fiction. In this bleak yet vibrantly populated novella (part of the PM Press Outspoken Authors series), Doctorow takes readers into the futuristic wasteland of Detroit, a “toxic post-Disney dystopia” where a wumpus-hunting Jimmy Yensid, a transhuman teenager, must choose between immortality and sex with Lacey Treehugger, the forbidden meat girl of his fantasies. This slim yet thought-provoking volume, which is available online as a free download via a Creative Commons license, will have Doctorow’s hard-core fans buzzing, but it may be a bit too dark and dense for the casual sci-fi reader. A transcript of his “Creativity vs. Copyright” address to the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention and a lively interview with the outspoken author are also included. --Chris Keech


"Doctorow shows us life from the point-of-view of the plugged-in generation and makes it feel like a totally alien world."  —Montreal Gazette

"One of the genre's fresh new talents, one of the few who seamlessly mixes the future with the bizarre."  —Rocky Mountain News

"Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar—a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)."  William Gibson, author, Neuromancer

"Doctorow uses science fiction as a kind of cultural WD-40, loosening hinges and dissolving adhesions to peer into some of society's unlighted corners."  —New York Times

"For fans of Cory Doctorow, reading The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow will be a no-brainer. Grim as it is, it's also as thought-provoking as anything he's written. . . . This is a lovely little book in every respect, from its stylish design to its phenomenal content." — (November 2011)

"Doctorow's prose is precise and perceptive. His vision of the future, although gritty, is an entertaining and thought provoking reflection of our present." —

"The multi-layered ironies in Doctorow's writing are rich and wonderful . . . about as sharp a scalpel as an author can create." —

More About the Author

Canadian-born Cory Doctorow has held policy positions with Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Southern California. He is a co-editor of the popular weblog BoingBoing (, which receives over three million visitors a month. His science fiction has won numerous awards, and his YA novel LITTLE BROTHER spent seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on November 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
When we meet Jimmy Yensid, the hero of Cory Doctorow's new novella The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, he is aboard his giant mecha and hunting down a wumpus in the abandoned city of Detroit, until he comes under attack from a rival group of mechas. The resulting action scene is spectacular -- and really made me want to dig out my ancient Mechwarrior games -- but as you'd expect from Doctorow, there's much more going on than meets the eye.

Jimmy is a transhuman boy, genetically engineered to be as close to immortal as you can get. The wumpuses are ravenous mechanical monsters who consume any non-organic matter they find and recycle it into arable soil. Meanwhile, Jimmy's father is actually trying to preserve Detroit, the last standing city in the United States, as a historical artifact.

The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is the latest installment in the wonderful Outspoken Authors series by PM Press. In addition to the title novella, the book also contains the text of Cory's "Creativity vs. Copyright" address to the 2010 World Science Fiction Convention, and a scintillating interview conducted by Terry Bisson. I don't use the word "scintillating" very often: this really is an excellent, informative, fun conversation between two sparkling minds, and its inclusion adds considerable value to the book. The main course, however, is of course the grim but wonderful title novella.

The central theme Doctorow is playing with throughout The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is progress, or maybe more exactly, progress versus change. As Jimmy puts it: "[...] we didn't have "progress" anymore. We'd outgrown progress. What we had was change.
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Format: Kindle Edition
this is the first Cory Doctor's novel (novella?) I've read. I enjoyed the story, but was definitely confused throughout. I'll read more by him to make up my mind.
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By Alyx M Jatho on January 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was an amazing story. It focuses on a main character, Jimmy, who you find out very early on is genetically immortal. Split into 4 parts, but reads as 3 with an quick epilogue, it follows Jimmy through some key events in his life with 20+ year gaps between - ah the perks of being immortal. It is set in a far future, with Jimmy living in the ruins of Detroit with his father who has preserved it for a museum, a homage of the olden days. Throughout the story he deals with quite a few heavy topics; besides the obvious moral grounds of being genetically altered, Jimmy has to deal with growing so slowly because of it. For over twenty years Jimmy has to deal with being prepubescent, which becomes very frustrating. Doctorow handles the subject matter cleanly, but does not hide from it, which made it all the more enticing to read. Being so short, it is hard not to give much away, but as good as the story was, the writing itself was better. Doctorow is very talented, be it by nature or nurture I wish I knew so I could steal his superpower. The way his work flows and the style of his descriptions was phenomenal. It made it quite difficult to set the book down at times. Even if you're not a fan of the genre, I would recommend the book based on the writing alone.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on December 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow." The world ended not with a bang but with a wumpus; as everyone wanted control of technological change leading to the Mecha Wars. In Detroit, Jimmy Yensid, his dad Robin and the pack reside in abandoned Comerica Park. Dad restored the classic Carousel of Progress; currently he recommends preservation of this last standing city as a heritage site. Being transhuman Jimmy ages slowly so though he has lived for decades he remains preadolescent. He spots a wumpus near a crumpled Ford factory. Riding his dad's mecha and accompanied by his canines packs piloting air drones, he attacks the wumpus. A gang riding eight smaller mechas attacks Jimmy. He fights back feeling like a murderer as life in abandoned Detroit is never dull.

"Creativity vs. Copyright." This fascinating essay/presentation focuses on proposed copyright laws in the electronic publication age. The impact on corporate profits has been discussed many times. Mr. Doctorow provides a fresh focus on the digital rights management (including monetary - how an author makes a living from Net sales is beyond my comprehension) of intellectual property in a world in which many users assume "information is free."

The thought provoking novella is a dark thriller that turns upside down the "future" as progress does not necessarily mean better. The exciting storyline looks deeply at change as everyone insists implementation of theirs; and customized technology may just lead to a wasteland. The well written essay/presentation provides the audience with insight into Mr. Doctorow's views especially on intellectual property ownership in an on demand digital world. Finally there is also included "Look for the Lake" Cory Doctorow Interviewed by Terry Bisson.

Harriet Klausner
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Bromberg on October 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
In the included essay "Creativity vs. Copyright," Cory Doctorow takes up the argument that there is a fundamental disparity between proposed changes in copyright law and the creative freedom of the artist with 21st century tools. The projected loss of corporate revenue is one factor in the current debate, but the rights of the individual are an even more important one. The artist's right to expression, if it's even considered, will pose a thornier path.

As Doctorow points out, the decision is one in which -- perhaps for the first time -- the artist can have an active role. The struggle these days seems to be how intellectual property can still be maintained in a multimedia universe that makes accesibility free, to millions, at the click of a mouse. The jury's still out about intellectual property rights, even as all sides -- individuals and corporations -- continue to deliberate furiously with a Supreme Court battle looming somewhere ahead in the uncertain future.
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