Cory Doctorow and Olivia Sudjic discuss their new novels, Walkaway and Sympathy.
Cory Doctorow – Walkaway
In a world wrecked by climate change, in a society owned by the ultra-rich, in a city hollowed out by industrial flight, Hubert, Etc, Seth and Natalie have nowhere else to be and nothing better to do. But there is another way. After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter – from a computer, there is little reason to toil within the system. So, like thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them turn their back on the world of rules, jobs, the morning commute and… walkaway. It’s a dangerous world out there, the empty lands are lawless, hiding predators – animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, the thousands become hundreds of thousands, building what threatens to become a post-scarcity utopia. But then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. And now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down.
Cory is a former Clapton resident whose previous books include Little Brother, Homeland, and Pirate Cinema. He is co-editor of the long running technology blog Boing Boing, and has worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Participatory Culture Foundation, and the MetaBrainz foundation.
Olivia Sudjic – Sympathy
An electrifying novel of blood ties, online identities, and our tormented efforts to connect in the digital age. At twenty-three, Alice Hare leaves England for New York. She falls in love with Manhattan, and becomes fixated on Mizuko Himura, an intriguing Japanese writer whose life has strange parallels to her own. As Alice closes in on Mizuko, her ‘internet twin’, realities multiply and fact and fiction begin to blur. The relationship between the two women exposes a tangle of lies and sexual encounters. Three families collide as Alice learns that the swiftest answer to an ancient question – where do we come from? – can now be found online.
Olivia was born in London and has previously written for The Observer, The Debrief, Elle, Hunger, The Gloss, and Read It Forward. Sympathy is her debut novel.