Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dystopian Disney - Disney's SimTag--er--MagicBand - Outcasts by Jill Williamson - CSFF Blog Tour

Julie again, still writing about Outcasts (The Safe Lands Book 2) by Jill Williamson

No, really, I am. Bear with me.

So I'm planning a trip to Disney World and lucky me, Disney sent me my very own SimTag to use on my trip!

OK, they call it a MagicBand (which, like "SimTag, is a one run-together nonsense word). And it's not implantable (yet, anyway). It doesn't give you the ability to add virtual tattoos to your body.

But it contains short-range RFID technology and a small battery that broadcasts your location while you're on Disney World property. You have the option to link it to your credit card and use it to make purchases. It also serves as your room key (and stores Fastpasses you book in advance), so you can't easily leave it behind in your room and enjoy your day. And technically you are supposed to be permitted to get a room key and maybe a hard copy ticket instead of a MagicBand, but I hear some people have been denied that opportunity.

YES! Finally! End of the world fiction and Disney come together at last!

Actually, I'm not personally upset by the idea of using a MagicBand on a one-time vacation. And almost everyone in the Disney communities I've been following is more annoyed by the idea of being restricted to just three Fastpasses per day, than any idea of Disney tracking your movements. I figure between cell phones, voluntary information provided on Facebook, and other interaction, most people, including me, could probably be tracked fairly easily if the right people wanted to.

It's kind of scary to think of how little privacy people have today...although a couple hundred years ago, if you lived in a small town, the folks in your town probably knew everything about you anyway. I'm so introverted, I'd rather it were strangers looking at my data in aggregate, than people I know finding out things about me.

The SimTags reminded me a bit of the Mark of the Beast, though I don't know how allegorical the Safe Lands series is. 
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. - Revelation 13:16-18 (NASB)
At least it doesn't matter which wrist you wear your MagicBand is on, and Disney will be happy to take your cash, credit cards, Disney Dollars, or gift cards. So that's a happy thought, I guess!

One thing Williamson got right in the Safe Lands series is people's inherent desire to customize things. I'm not at the level of wanting tattoos on my body a la SimArt, but I'm not above using a bit of glitter nail polish. Even if it doesn't photograph well.

Here are the other CSFF Blog Tour bloggers:

Red Bissell
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Melanie @ Christian Bookshelf Reviews
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Chawna Schroeder
Jacque Stengl
Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson

*In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free Advance Readers Copy of this book.


  1. I'm not surprised that Disney has something like this. I went on a Disney Cruise after I turned in book one, and the rooms had slots by the door. You had to put your keycard in the slot for the lights in the room to turn on. I so wanted to steal that technology and put it in my book, but I had SimTags and they didn't need a card. LOL

  2. Wow; that's pretty high-tech! I know people complain the resort hotel rooms have thermostats that sense motion, so the air conditioning won't work at night. (The high-tech fix? Buy a balloon at the parks and put it in your room, and it will trick the sensor into thinking there's a person there. Not quite as cool as the rebels' computer tricks, but it works.)


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