Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

by Henry Farrell on June 20, 2005

Cory Doctorow’s new novel, “Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town”:, is out. Now Cory is a mate, so I’m not sure that I’m entirely unbiased in warmly recommending it. But I can honestly say that while I enjoyed his first two novels, I think that this one is on an entirely different level. It’s matter-of-fact surrealism; the main character’s father is a mountain, his mother is a washing machine, and his brothers are nesting Russian dolls, an island, a prophet and a very unpleasant reanimated corpse. It’s a love poem to Toronto (which is part of why I enjoyed it so much – the house in which much of the novel takes place is about 15 minutes walk from where I used to live). And it’s a warm, funny romance between two flawed, interesting people. Gene Wolfe says it’s a “glorious book, but there are hundreds of those. It is more. It is a glorious book unlike any book you’ve ever read.” And you can read it for yourself before buying; the text is Creative Commoned and available for download at “”:




ben wolfson 06.20.05 at 2:47 pm

I read the first page, and goddamn does it read like the beginning of a novel a BoingBoinger would write (that’s not a good thing). I can’t wait for Alan to remix something other than music, mash some stuff up, and praise open source and information commons (more explicitly than already occurs in the third paragraph).


Vance Maverick 06.20.05 at 2:53 pm

I read up till the use of “novitiate” for “novice”. I understand that SF requires neologisms, but I hate to think we have to lose normal words as well….


Vance Maverick 06.20.05 at 2:58 pm

OK, my bad. As I typed that, I bethought myself that I might be mistaken, but made a point of putting off the obligatory check until afterward, so that if I were wrong, it would teach me a lesson. And behold! A lesson!


Henry 06.20.05 at 3:30 pm

vance – if it’s any consolation, I had exactly the same (mistaken) reaction when I first read it.


Another Damned Medievalist 06.24.05 at 12:50 pm

I just read my first Cory Doctorow story in this year’s Nebula collection — I think I’ll have to pick this up, too! Thanks!

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