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Strange Trades [Hardcover]

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Item description for Strange Trades by Paul Di Filippo...

Revolving around the inescapable process of earning a living, these 11 stories present a welcome and refreshing change of pace from more typical science fiction. Speculating about future lifestyles and how to function as a member of the new global economy, these tales emphasize the moral and spiritual dimensions of employment and examine the practical and ethical quandaries that possible future occupations may provide. Though written primarily about jobs, careers, and professions, these narratives are filled with suspense and adventure, romance, and laughter.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   342
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2001
Publisher   Golden Gryphon Press
ISBN  1930846053  
ISBN13  9781930846050  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Di Filippo

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Di Filippo is a prolific SF, fantasy and horror short story writer with multiple story collections to his credit including THE EMPEROR OF GONDWANALAND AND OTHER STORIES, FRACTAL PAISLEYS, HARSH OASES, LITTLE DOORS, LOST PAGES, NEUTRINO DRAG, RIBOFUNK, SHUTEYE FOR THE TIMEBROKER and STRANGE TRADES. He has written a number of novels as well, including JOE'S LIVER and SPONDULIX: A ROMANCE OF HOBOKEN. Di Filippo is also a highly-regarded critic and reviewer, appearing regularly in Asimov's Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. A recent publication, co-edited with Damien Broderick, is SCIENCE FICTION THE 101 BEST NOVELS 1985-2010.

Paul Di Filippo currently resides in Providence, in the state of Rhode Island. Paul Di Filippo was born in 1954.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States
4Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Authors, A-Z > ( D ) > Di Filippo, Paul
5Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies
6Books > Subjects > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Strange Trades?

Highly recommended collection of SF stories about work  Jan 23, 2002
Strange Trades, Paul Di Filippo's fifth collection of short fiction, is one of the most satisfying SF single-author collections I have read in some time. As the title announces, the stories are concerned with people at work. Di Filippo explores a variety of science-fictional jobs, some strange due to technological advances, others due to marginal or experimental economics, others because they're set in unusual milieus.

One of Di Filippo's favourite themes is people living on the edges of society, or in the cracks. In several stories in this book, he depicts, with sympathy, a cooperative economy built in those "cracks." One story, "Harlem Nova," mentions Levi-Strauss' term bricoleurs, for "a class of people who live as scavengers, living on the odds and ends the rest of society discards." And the heroes of "Harlem Nova," "Spondulix," "Karuna, Inc." and maybe even "Conspiracy of Noise," four of the best stories in the book, are to one extent or another bricoleurs. In particular, "Karuna, Inc.", one of my favourite stories of the year 2001: dark because of some real tragedy, and because it features some truly (even cartoonishly) evil villains, but also optimistic, in its view of basic human nature, and in the depiction of the title corporation, with its mission:

"the creation of environmentally responsible, non-exploitive, domestic-based, maximally creative jobs... the primary goal of the subsidiaries shall always be the full employment of all workers... it is to be hoped that the delivery of high-quality goods and services will be a byproduct..."

Di Filippo also indulges in some classical SFnal extrapolation. "Agents" looks at computer-based personality simulations which handle interactions in the "net," and at what might happen if one such "agent" became autonomous. "Skintwister" and "Fleshflowers" follow the career of Dr. Strode, a very talented "peeker": a man who uses psychokinetic powers to heal people by manipulating them at the cellular level. "SUITs" is a mordant and effective fable about robotic security personnel.

The other stories are perhaps less easy to fit into categories. "Kid Charlemagne," as the author acknowledges, is a story strongly influenced by J.G. Ballard's Vermilion Sands stories: it's set in an isolated lush resort, and features the inevitably doomed romance of a mysterious musician and a spoiled rich girl. "The Boredom Factory" is a cynical fable that is pretty well described by its title. And "The Mill" -- well, for one thing, "The Mill" is my favourite story in this book: I read it and loved it in Amazing Stories back in 1991, and I loved it as much on rereading it just now. It's a long story that in some ways seems reminiscent of Jack Vance. The Mill is a series of factory buildings devoted to producing "luxcloth," which is bought by the immortal Factor for interstellar distribution. In the background are such nice SFnal ideas as the interstellar milieu into which this colony planet obscurely fits, the true nature of the Factor, the "luxcloth," and so on. But the centre of the story is the close depiction of the circumscribed society of the factory villages. This society seems real, and its eventual fate is well-portrayed, the characters are sympathetic and worth reading about, and the concluding scene is truly moving.

I recommend this collection of stories very highly. Di Filippo is a compulsively engaging writer -- witty and imaginative, and fond of his characters, so that they are fun to spend time with, and fun to root for (mostly!). This book delivers on its implicit thematic promise, offering a nice distribution of SFnal explorations of people at work, even while collecting stories from all phases of the author's career. Excellent stuff.

A masterful collection of short fiction  Jan 2, 2002
Prior to reading _Strange Trades_ I knew Paul Di Filippo as an author of wonderfully bizarre short stories. They don't always make sense, but they're wonderful just the same. This collection collects typically bizarre Di Filippo stories, but these are coherent, well-written stories. Truly, a masterful collection.

My favorite story is the novella "The Mill", set in the distant future on a planet where humans work in a mill for the benefit of alien overlords. The story brilliantly shows us the toil and struggle of the workers and their dedication to their masters.

The other stories are all equally good. 'Karuna, Inc.' is the tale of an evil cadre of businessmen out to take over an ecologically-minded firm with the help of their undead revenants. 'Spondulix' tells the fascinating story of how a sandwich maker created a form of underground currency.

My attempts to laud this collection don't do it justice. It's a fabulous book. Hands down my favorite collection from 2001. If you have any interest in short science fiction you must buy this collection immediately. Highly recommended.

A highly recommended gift pick  Nov 11, 2001
A highly recommended gift pick for the discriminating science fiction reader who seeks literature as much as adventure, Paul Di Filippo's Strange Trades provides an unusual collection of eleven stories which empathize the moral and spiritual realms of employment and jobs. A range of odd circumstances evolve on various job sites, from a corporation which cares about people over products - with a sinister overtone - to a doctor's search for personal gain from his position.
Like Pynchon, Wm. Gibson, Bruce Sterling?  Nov 8, 2001
The best and most varied collection yet from a standout writer of contemporary SF, whose prominence as a reviewer has perhaps distracted readers from his own excellent work. Di Filippo often wears his influences on his sleeve here (J.G. Ballard in 'Kid Charlemagne, Thomas Pynchon in 'Conspiracy of Noise,' Samuel R. Delany in 'Harlem Nova') but these stories are grounded in the writer's own fine sensibility and wit. Readers interested in the 'slipstream' between postmodernist fiction exemplified by Pynchon and the SF that lies somewhere in or around the 'Cyberpunk' milieu will be very glad they checked out Paul Di Filippo.

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