I can't believe we're almost done with this book; it's been such a fast read.
Chapters 7 and 8 mostly have to do with the destruction of Jules as a character. The poor bastard winds up hated and ostracized, sleeping in a coffin, and completely aimless. (Although at least he has the wherewithal to put things in context: "Compared to 99.99999 percent of all the people who'd ever lived, I had a life of unparalleled luxury.") I like that Doctor Pete is such an asshole when Jules asks him for help, and how the medical profession has become, basically, the equivalent of a half-assed tech support team: Just shut down and restart every time there's a problem.
We're building up for a big confrontation with Debra over the Haunted Mansion—I love that I'm reading a book that is basically about refurbishing a Disney World attraction and it doesn't suck—and Jules has been suitably humbled by his foe. I greatly enjoyed the last flashback, about how rebellions work (or don't work) in the Bitchun Society. It reminded me of the way Seattle politics works, to be honest. The cliffhanger left me a little cold, but I'm curious enough about how things are going that I had to restrain myself again from reading ahead.
I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that the sparkling Dan of the opening of the book is just gone. This is partly understandable; he's a man who wants to die, after all. It's just jarring to see him driven to a support role after he stars so prominently in the prologue.
All in all, Chapters 7 and 8 were enjoyable continuations of the book. I especially like how well Doctorow has filled in the society as he's gone. In less than 200 pages, he's sketched a whole, believable futuristic way of life. I can't wait to finish the book up and write my final impressions here on Slog, tomorrow at 2.