Walkaway: A novel

A couple of months ago I listened to an interview with Cory Doctorow on the German Netzpolitik.org podcast in which he described the current state of sci-fi literature. He also mentioned his most recent sci-fi novel “Walkaway” as an example of an utopic story contary to all the distopic stories that seem to have ended up as mainstream over the last couple of years. That piqued my interest and so I moved it to the very top of my “to-read” list.

The book tells the story of a group of mid-twenties that live in a world ruled by oligarchs, so-called zottas, in which there are mostly three kinds of people:

  1. The rich (zottas)
  2. Those that are in a stable work-relationship with those zottas and have basically a decent life but without any real perspective.
  3. The majority of people who have on-off jobs and who mostly just survive.

Coming out of the third kind is a movement called “the walkaways” who are people having left the safety of the cities and who started to live their lifes based on their own rules inside a loose cooperative society.

Over the course of the book, you learn how the walkaways work but also of the zottas' fear that the walkaways could pose a threat to their power. The main reason for that is that there are some of the brightest scientific minds of the human race among the walkaways who’ve started working on, among other things, the digitalization of the human mind and therefore immortality.

It is quite rare that I give a book a 5/5 on Goodreads but this one definitely deserved it. The stories around our particular walkaway-group are thrilling and well told. There is basically not a single page that comes even close to be boring and the world that Cory Doctorow built here is so full of positive energy, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. Concidentally, I was also at Europe’s largest Free- and OpenSource gathering FOSDEM when I read this which boosted that love for cooperative environments.