Charles De Lint
Books to Look for
In Doctorow’s The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Jimmy Yensid and his father are trying to preserve Detroit, the last standing city in the United States, as a historical artifact. Their failure to do so results in Jimmy being cast adrift in a wilderness filled with communities trying to change the world for the better but often with horrible results.
At the same time, Jimmy—a transhuman; i.e., genetically engineered almost immortal stuck in pre-puberty—just wants to grow up. But he’s trapped protecting the last of his father’s artifacts: the Carousel of Progress exhibit from Disneyland.
Though much of the story is a fun read, the novella has a dark undercurrent and comes to a sobering conclusion. Still, it’s pure Doctorow, filled with more invention and movement than many writers can fit into a book series.
Also included here is a transcript of Doctorow’s manifesto: “Copyright vs. Creativity,” a must read for anyone involved with ebooks and the like, as well as a freewheeling interview conducted by Bisson.
These are beautifully designed and produced books. What I like about a series such as this is that you get a really well-rounded picture of the author: there’s a sample of their fiction, you see what they look like from the cover jacket, hear their more-or-less formal essayist voice in some nonfiction, and finish up with their casual day-to-day voice in the interview.