Details: (c) 2003 Cory Doctorow; Pub 2003 Tor; ISBN 0-765-30953-X
Verdict: Down and out in the Magic Kingdom has a great setting but not much story.
Reasons for reading it / How it came into my hands: compilerbitch lent it to lethargic_man, and he gave it to me to return to her, whereupon she suggested that I should borrow it and read it myself.
Down and out in the Magic Kingdom is highly readable, and the world-building is extremely cool. Three quarters of the book is very nice scene setting, but then the story doesn't do anything with its initial premises, it just fizzles out. I very much enjoyed the portrait of an imagined future, both the general principles and the little details that make it plausible. OK, the starting conditions are immortality and free energy, which is a bit silly, but DaOitMK does interesting things with that premise. And it doesn't overwhelm with ideas, but rather makes the ideas part of the story. So it's a lot easier to digest than, say, Accelerando.
But it would almost be better if it were just presented as a slice of life in the late 21st century, rather than trying to hang all these ideas on a really weak plot. The murder mystery element doesn't work because all that happens is that Julius' initial hypothesis turns out to be right. And the betrayal storyline is resolved before it has a chance to have an impact.
Julius is not a very likeable viewpoint character, but does manage to be sufficiently engaging to carry the book. So all in all I enjoyed it, but I would like to read a worthwhile story in this setting, one with some real plot tension to explore the undoubtedly well-drawn world further. I'm also surprised that it was possible to publish anything that references Disney World as explicitly as this does; the Disney corporation are notorious for being absolutely anal about their intellectual property.