Urbana, IL; Golden Gryphon Press, 2001. 1st hardcover. Fine in fine dj. Professions, jobs, Strange Trades . . . In this new collection, author Paul Di Filippo reconstructs our (mis)conceptions about what it means to work for a living. The eleven stories gathered here emphasize the moral and spiritual dimensions of employment, and examine the practical and ethical quandaries that future occupations may elicit. Yet not all of the professions about which Di Filippo writes are strange—sandwich shop proprietor, nightclub performer, business analyst—but rather it's the exigencies surrounding these jobs that enter the realm of the strange and, occasionally, the surreal.
In "Spondulix," Rory Honeyman concocts a way to preserve his sandwich shop's meager cash flow by offering store coupons, which quickly take on a life of their own. Shenda Moore uses an inheritance to start a corporation, "Karuna, Inc.," that cares more about people than products, but she, and the corporation, soon encounters sinister forces. Luxcloth, treasured and worn throughout the galaxy, can only be manufactured in "The Mill," for an omnipotent buyer known as the Factor. In "Skintwister" and "Fleshflowers," psychokineticist Dr. Strode tends to misplace his Hippocratic oath, focusing his "peeking" ability for personal gain. And in "The Boredom Factory," we experience the real meaning of working to live, living to work.
These eleven narratives, filled with suspense and adventure, romance, and laughter, present a welcome and refreshing change of pace from more typical science fiction.
With an Introduction by Bruce Sterling, winner of the Hugo Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Cover art by Frank Kelly Freas, winner of ten Hugo Awards.