Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Place So Foreign and Eight More” as Want to Read:
A Place So Foreign and Eight More
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

A Place So Foreign and Eight More

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  886 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Free. In the title tale, narrator James 14 returns home with Mama to 1898 village when his father Les, time-traveller Ambassador to aliens, vanishes from 1975 jet-pack city. When the "mothaship" takes the anointed few into the brave new world, those left behind are angry. "0wnz0red" asks - what happens when hackers hack the human body?
1 Craphound
2 A place so foreign
3 Al
Paperback, 243 pages
Published September 8th 2003 by Four Walls Eight Windows Press (first published February 1st 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Place So Foreign and Eight More, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Place So Foreign and Eight More

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  886 ratings  ·  47 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Place So Foreign and Eight More
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A short story - or maybe novelette (hard to judge the length on a kindle where progress is marked in percentages not pages) - set in a universe where time travel is changing the past. The future is percolating backwards so that 1975 is futuristic. James lives in 1898 in rural Utah, but his father is an ambassador to 1975 and during a visit to the future Dad disappears. With his mother about to remarry James is left to figure out his own life, combining lessons learned in both time periods to wor ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007
This is a series of loosely connected short stories set mostly in the near future of earth. The stories try to address the question, “What would happen if advanced alien intelligences developed a relationship with human civilization?” It sounds a little corny when put that way, but the stories are insightful and intelligent.

I enjoyed some stories more than others, but still found the whole thing an easy and fun read. Recommended if you like genuine science-fiction (as opposed to space operas.)
Peter Tillman
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is Doctorow's first collection, and it's a nice one. You can easily judge this for yourself, as he's put up six of the nine stories in the book for free download, along with Bruce Sterling's perceptive intro:

The first story, "0wnz0red" made quite a stir back in 2002. Here's Bruce Sterling's opinion:

"There has been a chunk of science fiction influenced by Silicon Valley, but "0wnz0red" captures the disturbed inn
David Thomas
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Classic Cory Doctorow. My favorite of the bunch is Craphound, which is about a guy who buys crap at yard sales and thrift stores to resell at auction, who just happens to have an alien colleague. I can see why he titled his personal blog after it.

Other highlights include The Super Man and the Bugout, which is about a Jewish superhero named Hershie who is obsoleted by peacekeeping aliens, and two others set in the same post-alien future.

There's a neat little biohacking story by the unfortunate na
Chris Locke
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was the first of Doctorow's books that I didn't completely enjoy. It's a collection of shorts, and they were kinda hit and miss. I honestly didn't even finish the last story.
Brian Gaston
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some of Doctorow's best short stories are collected here.
Al Lock
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a very interesting short by Cory Doctorow. One of the better time travel bits I've read.
An Odd1
Sep 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Gave up. Couldn't make sense. Am I missing deep important meanings? morals?
1 Craphound
Craphounds are junk-searching pals with a code to never bid against each other. Until a fine June day, when narrator gets outbid by alien buddy, $10K for a trunk of cowboy memorabilia at an East Muskoka firemen's auxilary rummage sale. He makes a new friend, a big city lawyer he suspects once owned the trunk, because of his fondness for the western theme, but keeps running
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, adult-fiction
I'm not a sci-fi fan so I have a few pages of this book sent to me every day through a widget. I figured that way I can expose myself to this genre.

As a librarian, I'm very excited that Mr. Doctorow has made this book available through the Creative Commons license. One of the arguments against this "free" access is that because the author doesn't hold the copyright, then he won't receive royalties. He writes,

"It turns out that, as near as anyone can tell, distributing free electronic versions o
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nerds/Geeks, Canadians, weird Disneyphiles, those fearing SF's now mere dragons & interplanetary war
Doctorow's a genius at taking the weirdest things and inserting them into familiar environments. It doesn't take a lot of effort to put myself into his imaginative creations. His worlds make me laugh, cringe, or often both simultaneously. The stories hold up amazingly - perfectly - well 10 years+ after they were written. 2 favorites: Craphound and Home Again, Home Again.

Craphound Just plain fun!! Recommend to anyone who has to do a U-turn at a Yard Sale sign, even if you're not a sci-fi reader.
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
So - looks like I've read the 6 short stories from this collection that Cory Doctorow makes available for free download on his site:

Here's my thoughts on those stories - and I'll probably hunt down a dead-tree version at some point to read the rest of the collection.

"Craphound" - the main character scours yard sales, thrift stores & the like to find interesting pop culture elements to sell to aliens, who seem VERY interested in human ephemera.

"A Place So Foreign" - a time t
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Craphound: Enjoyable.
A Place So Foreign: 4 stars. Unique and non-obvious.
All Day Sucker: System Hang as a feature.
To Market, To Marke: The Rebranding of Billy Bailey: Caricature of our future.
Return to Pleasure Island: Groundwork for Someone Comes to Town Someone Leaves Town. Doctorow sets out to answer a question raised by Pinnochio, and comes up with a truly bizarre answer.
Shadow of the Mothaship: Fun, despite a nominally (and legitimately) dark tone.
Home again, Home again: 4 stars. Original a
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Doctorow is an author that benefits from the short leash of a short story collection. The less space you have to make an argument, the more concise you'll be.

That being said, the other collection of his that I've read (Overclocked) was much better, or at least it "hit me in the feels" a bit harder. He doesn't avoid making his characters play second fiddle to his "wow, isn't technology neat?" schtick in this book, and when he plays around with dialect it feels like a chore. Except for the title s
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
A collection of quirkly sci-fi stories, pretty much all of which had interesting concepts, but very little in the way of characters. (Also virtually no female characters, I realized once I was done. Like, I think a couple times someone's mom shows up, but that's it. Wow.) I think I read for characters more than ideas (though obviously, a marriage of both is what's best) so there really wasn't much for me here. YMMV, of course, but these stories really did leave me feeling stranded, like a foreig ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A fantastic short sci-fi fiction centered around the concept of body hacking, written by somebody that must be a software engineer, entertaining and fascinating for everybody, but strongly recommended to all the software engineers in the Silicon Valley. This is the story of Murray Swain, one of the many computer scientist in the valley, devastated by the death of his best friend Liam. (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Doctorow is an original, and this compelling collection proves it. The humans of his near future concoctions are often as alien as the non-humans, and he’s got a sly wit that can be devastatingly funny. You need to read this collection if for no other reason than to meet a Superman who was raised not by Ma & Pa Kent in all-American Kansas, but by the Abramowicz’s in Toronto, Canada: Superman as the ultimate Nice Jewish Boy. ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi beginners
I'm half way through these short stories and I actually find them quite charming.

They are "light" sci-fi, in my opinion, and easy to take for pretty much anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or space and time travel. Doctorow has a bit of a thing about Disneyland and garage sales, so those elements continue to turn up.

Overall, easy and enjoyable. Read it on an airplane, and it was perfect for that.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
As I've found before with Doctorow's collections, I loved some of the stories and couldn't connect with others. I think this might be because so many are based on pop culture; I can relate well to something based on a general principle, but if the impact depends on knowing much about a specific character it may be dependent on familiarity (in this collection the Pinocchio story worked for me but the Superman story didn't).
Elizabeth Olson
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy, read-2013
An uneven but entertaining collection of science fiction/pop culture extrapolations set in the near future, all more or less on the theme of societal shift as aliens and humans begin to interact. Doctorow is a writer who's easy to dismiss, because his breezy style makes it all seem terribly simple - but the ideas and characters linger in the mind, a sign that there's more here than first meets the eye.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, short-stories
Cory Doctorow works much better in the short story format than in novels. I'd give this collection five stars for sheer enjoyability, but three stars for still not being able to write a story where the narrative doesn't take a back seat to lectures about open source software or transhumanism or whatever he's interested in at the time.
Loved A Place So Foreign; Home Again, Home Again; To Market, To Market; and 0wnz0red.

Was bored by everything else. The good was great, the rest was just forgettable. Doctorow's strength - for me - lies in novels. The short story format has been hit or miss. Still looking forward to plowing through FTW tonight, though.
Oct 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This was OK. Overall, the stories in Overclocked were better. As another reviewer noted (and it stuck with me throughout the book) nearly the only female characters in these stories were the main characters' moms. ...more
Mathew Carruthers
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't read the entire book, but rather the short story "Super Man and the Bug Out," which is available as an ebook via Project Gutenberg. Very entertaining - a Superman "what if" story of comic proportions detailing the problems inherent in maintaining a secret identity. Worth reading this story and definitely worth looking into more of Cory Doctorow's writing.
Steven Cole
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a reasonably high quality set of Doctorow's short fiction; I do tend to find his stuff enjoyable to read since the ideas he comes up with do seem quite innovative.

And short fiction is fun, since I can parsel out the stories as I have time to read them, without having to worry to remember them.

4 of 5 stars.
Ash Crowe
Feb 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
The stories are uneven. I really loved the trip back to the Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom universe but none of the other stories really stood out. ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
*A place so foreign
--All day sucker
--To market, to market: the rebranding of Billy Bailey
*Return to Pleasure Island
*Shadow of the mothaship
*Home again, home again
*The super man and the bugout
Jesse Worley
A very interesting premise, but not carried out all the way. It ended too soon for a novel and was too complex for a short story. I wish he would flesh this one out a little more. The characters are very good.
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Ownz0red- awesome, 5 stars!!!: nominated for the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novelette. This collection gets 5 stars from me just for having this story which is the best sci fi short I can ever remember reading.

To Market, To Market - 4.5 stars. also excellent.

Craphound - 4 stars. Very good.
jack o'bang
Apr 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
I dig what doctorow chooses to talk about in these stories just not his style of talking.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I don't know if I can say I "liked" these stories. I was intrigued by them. I'd like to read more from this author.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fall; or, Dodge in Hell
  • Cold Storage
  • Stealing Worlds
  • Full Throttle
  • The Hive
  • Sugar Skull
  • The Ballad of Black Tom
  • Big Baby
  • El Borbah
  • Skin Deep
  • Gun, With Occasional Music
  • Red Noise
  • Paingod and Other Delusions
  • Intensity
  • The Cyberiad
  • Blue Labyrinth (Pendergast, #14)
  • The Key to Midnight
  • All the Birds in the Sky
See similar books…
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers. He is a Fellow for the Elec ...more

Related Articles

Until this summer, Lindsay Ellis was mainly known as a super smart and witty film critic and YouTube essayist, making videos that range from...
171 likes · 16 comments