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The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Outspoken Authors) Paperback – November 1, 2011

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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,778,851 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

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful 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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By Amazon Customer on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Doctorow's stories are always worthwhile, if not easily parsed. Worth more than the $0.99 ebook price of the book itself, is the included transcription of CREATIVITY VS. COPYRIGHT, his 2010 address to the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, Australia. He really gets the problems with current copyright law, particularly for those who actually create the works, and lays them out in simple, compelling language. Economically, the move from selling copyrighted works to licensing them has created a stifling, restrictive and closed system of monopolistic price discrimination that only benefits corporate publishers/distributors. A return to the 1908 US Supreme Court's "First Sale" rule and it's application to all forms of publication media including digital would go a long way in cleaning up the current mess: once a work is purchased, the publisher/distributor would have no further right to control its use or disposition. So for example, buyers of copyrighted epub material would no longer have to buy another copy to view it on another device: to use Doctorow's analogy, if you buy a new bookcase, you could move your library to it without having to buy all new books. Imagine that.
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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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