Cory Doctorow seminar

by Henry Farrell on May 10, 2017

Cory Doctorow’s new book, _Walkaway_, a novel, an argument and a utopia, all bound up into one, is out. And we’re running a seminar on it. The participants and their posts are all below.

* Andrew Brown is the author of Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared, and a writer and editor at the Guardian. Chatter chatter bang bang.

* Henry Farrell blogs at Crooked Timber. No Exit.

* Maria Farrell blogs at Crooked Timber. Just Meat Following Rules.

* John Holbo blogs at Crooked Timber. The One Body Problem

* Neville Morley is professor of classics and ancient history at Exeter. Free Your Mind (And the Rest Will Follow?)

* Julia Powles is a prolific writer on privacy and technology, and a researcher at Cornell Tech. Walking Away from Hard Problems.

* Eric Rauchway blogs at Crooked Timber. From Scarcity to Abundance.

* Bruce Schneier is the author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, and a cryptographer and public intellectual. The Quick vs the Strong: Commentary on Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway.

* Astra Taylor is author of The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, a documentary film-maker, and much else besides. Virality is a double-edged sword.

* Belle Waring blogs at Crooked Timber. The Rapture of the Pretty Hip People, Actually.

* Cory Doctorow is Cory Doctorow. Coase’s Spectre



chris heinz 04.26.17 at 2:26 am

I totally scored, my old friend who owns a bookstore gave me their prerelease copy a month ago. I felt it would be impolite to post/comment on it before its release. I wrote up my thoughts today.


nnyhav 04.26.17 at 4:00 pm


Guy Harris 05.10.17 at 7:08 pm


An interesting exchange from the discussion you cite:

Doctorow: I think that a signature stfnal move is to mix in some technological whoppers with some truths and hope that the reader doesn’t notice ’em, they’re protective coloration.

VanderMeer: Ha! Yes, I like that, a lot. Because fiction is implausible anyway. Even the most realistic fiction is just an approximation anyway.

Doctorow: So I’ve got all this plausible utopian business — material objects designed to gracefully decompose back into the material stream, networks designed for censorship resistance and graceful failure modes, etc., and then there’s a hand-waving whopper, the idea of consciousness uploading, which is described as though it was just as plausible as the rest of it, though, of course, it’s purely metaphorical and completely incoherent on a neurological or technological level.

I think responses to various posts in the seminar have wondered about the “consciousness uploading” bit; Doctorow’s explicitly saying something on the order of “take it seriously but not literally” here.


Doug Weinfield 05.12.17 at 12:52 am

The link to Doctorow’s comments isn’t working.


Doctor Science 05.29.17 at 7:08 pm

In future, I (for one) would really, really, REALLY appreciate it if these seminars were timed for one month *after* the release of the book, to give more of us a chance to actually get it, read it, and think about it. In almost all cases, by the time I’ve gotten the book & read it the comments have closed.

As it is, for most of us the essays are going to be “lectures for students who haven’t done the reading”, not “the start of conversation.”

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