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“You don’t charge for them or anything?” A long look. “Communist party, remember?” “Yeah, but, how do you eat and stuff?” She shrugged. “Here and there. This and that. Kindness of strangers.”

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Seth said, “It’s the ultimate self-deception. Like they’re going to be able to change anything with a paycheck. If a paycheck could change your life, do you think they’d let you have one?”

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There were as many walkaway FAQs as walkaways. The impulse to walk away was bound up with the urge to write Thoreauvian memoirs about societal malaise and the tradecraft of going off-grid in the age of total information awareness. They included appendices summing things up for the tldr crowd, with videos, darknet links, shapefiles, and wetjet formulas for making your own crucial frontier enzymes and GMOs. Some of this was radioactively hot, the kind of thing that’d get you watchlisted so hard you’d have to fight through the clouds of drones to go out for milk, but there was nothing in it about weapons.

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The gift economy was not supposed to be a karmic ledger with your good deeds down one column and the ways you’d benefited from others down the other. The point of walkaways was living for abundance, and in abundance, why worry if you were putting in as much as you took out? But freeloaders were freeloaders, and there was no shortage of assholes who’d take all the best stuff or ruin things through thoughtlessness. People noticed. Assholes didn’t get invited to parties. No one went out of their way to look out for them. Even without a ledger, there was still a ledger, and Limpopo wanted to bank some good wishes and karma just in case.

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“Matter out of place. Litter.

Yellow highlight | Location: 1,491
There have been one hundred billion humans on the planet over the years, and statistically, most of them didn’t make a difference. The anthropocene is about collective action, not individuals. That’s why climate change is such a clusterfuck.

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One of the B&B’s game-changing tools was “lovedaresnot,” which they’d imported from a long-defunct *-leaks collective that imploded when its leadership got outed taking money from a media conglomerate to give it preferential access to stories. The leakers had had terrible leadership, but they had a good dispute-resolution system in lovedaresnot. The core idea was that radical or difficult ideas were held back by the thought that no one else had them. That fear of isolation led people to stay “in the closet” about their ideas, making them the “love that dares not speak its name.” So lovedaresnot (shortened to “Dare Snot”) gave you a way to find out if anyone else felt the same, without forcing you to out yourself.

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Limpopo’s pack had survival gear that could keep her alive for a day in the woods, come the worst. She fired up her stove, feeding it twigs until the fan drove the heat from their combustion to gas-phase transition and the dynamo that powered the battery whirred and the idiot-light came on, telling her the stove was doin’ it for itself. She made tea. She had a book of fold-up teacups, semi-rigid plastic pre-scored for folding into mugs with geometrical handles. She loved them, they looked like low-resolution renders of a cup, leapt off a screen into physical space.

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“Maybe I’ll go back to the B&B. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is to convince people to make and share useful things. Fighting with greedy douches who don’t share doesn’t do that. Making more, living under conditions of abundance, that does

Yellow highlight | Location: 2,105
It’s a race: either the walkaways release immortality to the world, or the zottas install themselves as permanent god-emperors.”

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“Hail the conquering heroes!” Then, showily: “For I am become worlds, destroyer of death!”

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“I stole it,” he said. “Some dude’s manifesto out of San Francisco. Those Singularity freaks in the quake-zones, they’re having religious feelings. It’s quip-city on their hangouts. That was my favorite. Amateurs plagiarize, artists steal.”

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“You stole that from Picasso,” she said.

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Gretyl had a tattoo around one of her biceps that read FEAR IS THE MIND-KILLER, but

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“What’s a ‘covered-dish’ person?” “Oh. If there’s a disaster, do you go over to your neighbor’s house with: a) a covered dish; or b) a shotgun? It’s game-theory. If you believe your neighbor is coming over with a shotgun, you’d be an idiot to pick a); if she believes the same thing about you, you can bet she’s not going to choose a) either. The way to get to a) is to do a) even if you think your neighbor will pick b). Sometimes she’ll point her gun at you and tell you to get off her land, but if she was only holding the gun because she thought you’d have one, then she’ll put on the safety and you can have a potluck.”

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“Game-theory,” Gretyl said. “That’s the stag hunt. Two hunters together can catch a stag, the top prize. Either hunter alone can only catch rabbits. Both of them want to get stags, but unless they trust each other, they’ll have coney surprise for supper.” “I didn’t know there was a name for it. Good to know. Once things have settled, I’ll have to do some reading. When things go bad, the stag is rebuilding something better than whatever’s burned down; the rabbit is huddling in a cave in terror, eating shoe-leather soup, hoping you don’t die of TB because there aren’t any hospitals anymore. I’ve always thought the whole walkaway project was a way to turn people into covered-dish types. There’s not any reason not to be one when we can all have enough, so long as we’re not fucking each other over.”

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The authors found teams where the wizard and everyone else hadn’t failed, and in these cases, it was because there was someone good with people who figured out how to smooth over differences and see how people fit together. These people were wizards of teams, and they made more of a difference to a team’s success than a programming wizard.”

Yellow highlight | Location: 3,542
She sang “Consensus,” an incredibly dirty walkaway marching song, thirty verses. The chorus: “Consensus, consensus, it beat us and bent us, but we’re sure that it’s lent us, a shit-eating grin.” Making up new verses was walkaway sport, there were wikis of them.

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“That’s weird.” Natalie snuffled snot and bore down on the problem. “Weird isn’t the opposite of sensible. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

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“In the nineteenth century, the rich had the same pattern – one kid from each family got the name and the estate, everyone else became a comfortable nonentity, or, if they were very lucky, got married off to someone else’s number one. Then came the colonial era, new worlds to plunder, and whoosh, geometric expansion for two generations, long enough that there was no one alive who could remember a time when the dynasty was a straight line instead of an expanding tree of fortunes.” “What happened?” “They ran out of colonies,” Kersplebedeb said. “What happened when they ran out?” “Oh!” Kersplebedeb took a long drink. Sighed as his adam’s apple worked. “World War One broke out. They turned on each other.”

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Because the inability to see reason is a species-destroying crossroads and we’re at it now. If we don’t figure out how to put off gratification today for survival tomorrow, to beat the solipsist’s delusion that you’re a special snowflake—”

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He drained his coffium and looked at the party preparations all around him, and remembered he was a walkaway. He was living the first days of a better nation, doing something that meant something. His existence was a feature and not a bug.

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Work needed doing, and he could help. What more could anyone ask for?

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Her father said, “Things aren’t what you think. You think you’ve found a way everyone can get along without bosses. There are always bosses – if you don’t know who the boss is, you can’t question her leadership. A system of secret bosses is a system without accountability or consent. It’s a manipulocracy.”

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“WE ARE WELL and truly at vuko jebina now,” Tam declared. She’d learned the phrase from Kersplebedeb, who said it was Serbian for deepest boonies, literally, “where wolves fuck.”

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So I asked quietly around to see who knew about crypto and anonymizers—” “They’re definitely the gateway drug,” Limpopo said. “I got into it through crusty cypherpunks who’d try and get party kids to use better opsec, handing out bootable sticks at underground parties.”

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with praise for their cause on their lips. “We are all worth something,” she said. “Zottas are not worth more than the rest of us. Self-deception makes us into monsters. Selfishness is an excuse to bury your empathy. People are basically good. Live as though it was the first days of a better—”

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She read books, walkaway classics, Bakunin and Illich and Luxemburg, old dead anarchists. She’d read Homage to Catalonia and felt she finally understood Orwell – the seeds of Nineteen Eighty-Four were in the betrayals and the manipulation.

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Both boys babbled and shouted. Then Jacob got so excited he punched Stan, because reasons. They tumbled on the floor, punching and shouting.

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“We’re into deconstructed bikes, minimal topologies.”

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The network interprets censorship as damage and routes around

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This incredible feeling of strength and connection to something larger. It had been years since Gretyl felt this. Now she felt it again, she realized how much she’d missed it. Living in a better nation was preferable to living in a worse one – but living in the nation’s first days was the difference between falling in love and being in love. She was cheating on her wife. Carrying on an affair with armed insurrection.

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Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell, David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

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In Real Life, a graphic novel; Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, a book about earning a living in the Internet age;