Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town podcast

After a long hiatus, I'm back at my podcast, and to kick it off, I'm reading my 2005 novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, "A miraculous story of secrets, lies, magic and Internet connectivity." It's going to take a while -- this is a looong book -- and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't re-read this book since it was published, and it's been enough time that it's like reading something someone else wrote, which is really cool and fun.

Here's the Publishers' Weekly summary:

"It's only natural that Alan, the broadminded hero of Doctorow's fresh, unconventional SF novel, is willing to help everybody he meets. After all, he's the product of a mixed marriage (his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine), so he knows how much being an outcast can hurt. Alan tries desperately to behave like a human being'or at least like his idealized version of one. He joins a cyber-anarchist's plot to spread a free wireless Internet through Toronto at the same time he agrees to protect his youngest brothers (members of a set of Russian nesting dolls) from their dead brother who's now resurrected and bent on revenge." MP3 Link, Podcast feed link


  1. Seems like as good a place as any to point to there now being a bona fide hackerspace right in Kensington Market. It’s called HackLabTo and is pretty awesome (if I may say so myself as one of the founders)

    And while it’s not called ParasiteNet, we do have an open Wifi network :)

  2. Oh thank god! I’ve been missing your podcast, Cory. Glad you can find the time to continue. Hope the family is well.

  3. you realize of course cory, that your page is pimping L.Ron Hubbard stories as a counterpoint to this… eww!?

  4. It is a weirdly wonderful novel. Just a couple of days ago I tried to explain the basic story to my wife. (“Um, this guy, his mother is a washing machine, his father is a mountain, his library card is really important to him, his brother is a dead guy, his other brothers are a set of Russian nesting dolls… he meets a girl with wings, but it’s actually mostly about a volunteer municipal Wi-Fi project…”)

    It didn’t go all that well. I couldn’t even settle on a genre. Somehow a cross between Tracy Kidder and Umberto Eco by way of the Marquis de Sade. The best I can come up with to explain why someone should read it is “I know it sounds really strange, but somehow because it dives so unashamedly head-first into the strangeness and swims all the way to the end, it overcomes your disbelief and comes out the other end into sublime.”

  5. Oh, my personal WiFi network in Ann Arbor is called ParasiteNet. It is open, which is sometimes inconvenient for us when it gets piled on, but but I insist on it.

  6. What a coincidence! I just finished reading this novel last night. I really enjoyed it. It will be nice to hear you read it.

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