Authors: Cory Doctorow
Tags: #Science Fiction, #Fiction, #Dystopian
From "A Place So Foreign and Eight More," a short story collection published in
September, 2003 by Four Walls Eight Windows Press (ISBN 1568582862). See
http://craphound.com/place for more.
Originally Published in Science Fiction Age, March 1998
(Tor, 1999, David Hartwell and Glenn Grant, editors)
(Morrow, 1999, Gardner Dozois, editor)
"Like most aliens-mingling-with-human-society stories, Doctorow's story serves
mostly to hold a mirror up to human nature, but the odd corner of human nature
it examines is fascinating, and the story is smoothly and expertly written, with
some good detail and local color and some shrewd insights into human nature and
human culture, and an almost Bradburian vein of rich nostalgia running through
it (although the nostalgia is quirky enough that perhaps it might more usefully
be compared to R.A. Lafferty or Terry Bisson than to Bradbury)."
Editor, Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
Blurbs and quotes:
caverns and underground rivers of Pop Culture, here filtered through SF-coloured
Author of American Gods and Sandman
is so far out there, you'll need your GPS to find your way back.
Winner of the Theodore Sturgeon Award, Nebula Award nominee
entertaining, ambitious, plugged-in, and as good a guide to the wired world of
the twenty-first century that stretches out before us as you're going to find.
Editor, Asimov's SF
fiction needs Cory Doctorow!
Author of The Hacker Crackdown and Distraction
with heart, weirdass shapeshifters from Pleasure Island and jumping automotive
jazz joints. If this is Canadian science fiction, give me more.
Author of Midnight Robber and Brown Girl in the Ring
the best of Greg Bear, Rudy Rucker, Bruce Sterling and Groucho Marx, Doctorow
composes stories that are as BPM-stuffed as techno music, as idea-rich as the
latest issue of NEW SCIENTIST, and as funny as humanity's efforts to improve
itself. Utopian, insightful, somehow simultaneously ironic and heartfelt, these
nine tales will upgrade your basal metabolism, overwrite your cortex with new
and efficient subroutines and generally improve your life to the point where
you'll wonder how you ever got along with them. Really, you should need a
prescription to ingest this book. Out of all the glittering crap life and our
society hands us, craphound supreme Doctorow has managed to fashion some
Paul Di Filippo
Author of The Steampunk Trilogy
collection Doctorow strikes sparks off today to illuminate tomorrow, which is
what SF is supposed to do. And nobody does it better.
Author of Bears Discover Fire
A note about this story
This story is from my collection, "A Place So Foreign and Eight More," published
by Four Walls Eight Windows Press in September, 2003, ISBN 1568582862. I've
released this story, along with five others, under the terms of a Creative
Commons license that gives you, the reader, a bunch of rights that copyright
normally reserves for me, the creator.
I recently did the same thing with the entire text of my novel, "Down and Out in
the Magic Kingdom" (http://craphound.com/down), and it was an unmitigated
success. Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded the book -- good news -- and
thousands of people bought the book -- also good news. It turns out that, as
near as anyone can tell, distributing free electronic versions of books is a
great way to sell more of the paper editions, while simultaneously getting the
book into the hands of readers who would otherwise not be exposed to my work.
I still don't know how it is artists will earn a living in the age of the
Internet, but I remain convinced that the way to find out is to do basic
science: that is, to do stuff and observe the outcome. That's what I'm doing
here. The thing to remember is that the very
thing you can do to me as
an artist is to not read my work -- to let it languish in obscurity and
disappear from posterity. Most of the fiction I grew up on is out-of-print, and
this is doubly true for the short stories. Losing a couple bucks to people who
would have bought the book save for the availability of the free electronic text
is no big deal, at least when compared to the horror that is being irrelevant
and unread. And luckily for me, it appears that giving away the text for free
gets me more paying customers than it loses me.
You can find the canonical version of this file at
If you'd like to convert this file to some other format and distribute it, you
have my permission, provided that:
the metadata at the end of the file
form of use-restriction turned on
If you'd like, you can advertise the existence of your edition by posting a link
to it at http://craphound.com/place/000012.php
Here's a summary of the license:
Attribution. The licensor permits others to copy, distribute,
display, and perform the work. In return, licensees must give the
original author credit.
No Derivative Works. The licensor permits others to copy,
distribute, display and perform only unaltered copies of the work
-- not derivative works based on it.
Noncommercial. The licensor permits others to copy, distribute,
display, and perform the work. In return, licensees may not use
the work for commercial purposes -- unless they get the
And here's the license itself:
THE WORK (AS DEFINED BELOW) IS PROVIDED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS
CREATIVE COMMONS PUBLIC LICENSE ("CCPL" OR "LICENSE"). THE WORK
IS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND/OR OTHER APPLICABLE LAW. ANY USE OF
THE WORK OTHER THAN AS AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS LICENSE IS
BY EXERCISING ANY RIGHTS TO THE WORK PROVIDED HERE, YOU ACCEPT
AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS LICENSE. THE LICENSOR
GRANTS YOU THE RIGHTS CONTAINED HERE IN CONSIDERATION OF YOUR
ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
a. "Collective Work" means a work, such as a periodical issue,
anthology or encyclopedia, in which the Work in its entirety in
unmodified form, along with a number of other contributions,
constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are
assembled into a collective whole. A work that constitutes a
Collective Work will not be considered a Derivative Work (as
defined below) for the purposes of this License.
b. "Derivative Work" means a work based upon the Work or upon the
Work and other pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical
arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture
version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment,
condensation, or any other form in which the Work may be recast,
transformed, or adapted, except that a work that constitutes a
Collective Work will not be considered a Derivative Work for the
purpose of this License.
c. "Licensor" means the individual or entity that offers the Work
under the terms of this License.
d. "Original Author" means the individual or entity who created
e. "Work" means the copyrightable work of authorship offered
under the terms of this License.
f. "You" means an individual or entity exercising rights under
this License who has not previously violated the terms of this
License with respect to the Work, or who has received express
permission from the Licensor to exercise rights under this
License despite a previous violation.
reduce, limit, or restrict any rights arising from fair use,
first sale or other limitations on the exclusive rights of the
copyright owner under copyright law or other applicable laws.
License, Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free,
non-exclusive, perpetual (for the duration of the applicable
copyright) license to exercise the rights in the Work as stated
a. to reproduce the Work, to incorporate the Work into one or
more Collective Works, and to reproduce the Work as incorporated
in the Collective Works;
b. to distribute copies or phonorecords of, display publicly,
perform publicly, and perform publicly by means of a digital
audio transmission the Work including as incorporated in
The above rights may be exercised in all media and formats
whether now known or hereafter devised. The above rights include
the right to make such modifications as are technically necessary
to exercise the rights in other media and formats. All rights not
expressly granted by Licensor are hereby reserved.
expressly made subject to and limited by the following
a. You may distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or
publicly digitally perform the Work only under the terms of this
License, and You must include a copy of, or the Uniform Resource
Identifier for, this License with every copy or phonorecord of
the Work You distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or
publicly digitally perform. You may not offer or impose any terms
on the Work that alter or restrict the terms of this License or
the recipients' exercise of the rights granted hereunder. You may
not sublicense the Work. You must keep intact all notices that
refer to this License and to the disclaimer of warranties. You
may not distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or
publicly digitally perform the Work with any technological
measures that control access or use of the Work in a manner
inconsistent with the terms of this License Agreement. The above
applies to the Work as incorporated in a Collective Work, but
this does not require the Collective Work apart from the Work
itself to be made subject to the terms of this License. If You
create a Collective Work, upon notice from any Licensor You must,
to the extent practicable, remove from the Collective Work any
reference to such Licensor or the Original Author, as requested.
b. You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in
Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or
directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary
compensation. The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted
works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be
considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial
advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no
payment of any monetary compensation in connection with the
exchange of copyrighted works.
c. If you distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or
publicly digitally perform the Work or any Collective Works, You
must keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and give the
Original Author credit reasonable to the medium or means You are
utilizing by conveying the name (or pseudonym if applicable) of
the Original Author if supplied; the title of the Work if
supplied. Such credit may be implemented in any reasonable
manner; provided, however, that in the case of a Collective Work,
at a minimum such credit will appear where any other comparable
authorship credit appears and in a manner at least as prominent
as such other comparable authorship credit.
Representations, Warranties and Disclaimer
a. By offering the Work for public release under this License,
Licensor represents and warrants that, to the best of Licensor's
knowledge after reasonable inquiry:
i. Licensor has secured all rights in the Work necessary to grant
the license rights hereunder and to permit the lawful exercise of
the rights granted hereunder without You having any obligation to
pay any royalties, compulsory license fees, residuals or any
ii. The Work does not infringe the copyright, trademark,
publicity rights, common law rights or any other right of any
third party or constitute defamation, invasion of privacy or
other tortious injury to any third party.
b. EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY STATED IN THIS LICENSE OR OTHERWISE AGREED
IN WRITING OR REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE WORK IS LICENSED ON
AN "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS
OR IMPLIED INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTIES
REGARDING THE CONTENTS OR ACCURACY OF THE WORK.
APPLICABLE LAW, AND EXCEPT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM LIABILITY TO
A THIRD PARTY RESULTING FROM BREACH OF THE WARRANTIES IN SECTION
5, IN NO EVENT WILL LICENSOR BE LIABLE TO YOU ON ANY LEGAL THEORY
FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR EXEMPLARY
DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THIS LICENSE OR THE USE OF THE WORK, EVEN
IF LICENSOR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
a. This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate
automatically upon any breach by You of the terms of this
License. Individuals or entities who have received Collective
Works from You under this License, however, will not have their
licenses terminated provided such individuals or entities remain
in full compliance with those licenses. Sections 1, 2, 5, 6, 7,
and 8 will survive any termination of this License.
b. Subject to the above terms and conditions, the license granted
here is perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright
in the Work). Notwithstanding the above, Licensor reserves the
right to release the Work under different license terms or to
stop distributing the Work at any time; provided, however that
any such election will not serve to withdraw this License (or any
other license that has been, or is required to be, granted under
the terms of this License), and this License will continue in
full force and effect unless terminated as stated above.
a. Each time You distribute or publicly digitally perform the
Work or a Collective Work, the Licensor offers to the recipient a
license to the Work on the same terms and conditions as the
license granted to You under this License.
b. If any provision of this License is invalid or unenforceable
under applicable law, it shall not affect the validity or
enforceability of the remainder of the terms of this License, and
without further action by the parties to this agreement, such
provision shall be reformed to the minimum extent necessary to
make such provision valid and enforceable.
c. No term or provision of this License shall be deemed waived
and no breach consented to unless such waiver or consent shall be
in writing and signed by the party to be charged with such waiver
d. This License constitutes the entire agreement between the
parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no
understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the
Work not specified here. Licensor shall not be bound by any
additional provisions that may appear in any communication from
You. This License may not be modified without the mutual written
agreement of the Licensor and You.