A Place So Foreign

Originally Published in Science Fiction Age, January 2000

Download the plain text version from Cory_Doctorow_-_A_Place_So_Foreign.txt.

Paste in links to your own versions below.

20 Responses to “A Place So Foreign”

  1. Here’s this story’s intro from the book:

    From the day I read my first novel, “Alice in Wonderland,” I was hooked through the bag on narrative. I systematically read my way through my classroom libraries, through the books at home, and finally through the school library and the local branch library. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled on T.D. Fitzgerald’s “Great Brain” memoirs, young-adult books that told the story of Fitzgerald’s childhood in Adenville, Utah at the turn of the century.

    Fitzgerald’s wonderful and improbable tales of the pluckiness and cunning of his brothers and playmates stayed with me, and when I decided to write a novella about time-travel, it only seemed natural to revisit Fitzgerald’s small-town Utah, with its spirit of limitless possibility, of technological marvels hovering there on the brink, of a frontier freshly tamed and more frontiers opening ahead.

    So: “A Place So Foreign.” It seems to me that time-travel would have a tendency to leak backwards, spinning out alternalities of ever-increasing anachronism and sophistication. 1975 and 1902 are two eras ripe for time-travellers to pitch their tents, time/places filled with boundless optimism for the future and a spirit of adventure.

  2. Here are .pdf and .doc formats for this story. Tomorrow I will do some of the other stories if others haven’t yet.

  3. Jeremy Keith says:

    The PDF above is very, very simple and not much different to the original text version (no conversion of quotes, emphasis, etc.). All I’ve done is change the typeface to 12 point Helvetica.

    The width is still fixed at 80 characters.

    I’m sure somebody else will put together some more sophisticated PDFs. This was just a quick fix done using the “Save as pdf” print option under OS X.

  4. That’s all mine is, except for the post part it’s not fixed witdth at 80 chars. Just don’t try changing the font face or font size or justification. I will get around to fixing these problems today.

  5. Thomas Scott says:

    I’ve converted all the available stories into Palm Reader format, suitable for one-click loading onto a Palm Pilot or Pocket PC (as well as looking rather nice using the Palm Reader for Windows and Macs.)

    The Palm Reader file’s available from here.

  6. I’ve updated the files at the links I posted above. I have justified the text and reformated parts to make that possible (I hadn’t removed all of the 80 char line breaks). I might make a third version after I actually read the story and have a hard back edition. I would like to replace the _word_ with italics or bold, if that is they way it is on the dead trees.
    I must ask, am I allowed to do such things? Does the CC licence let me make changes like that to the work? Cory? Anybody that might know?
    Once again, here are the links to the .pdf and .doc versions I have made.

  7. “I must ask, am I allowed to do such things? Does the CC licence let me make changes like that to the work? Cory? Anybody that might know?”

    Yup, I granted that permission (“Want to convert them to something else? Go right ahead!”). Thanks, Grant!

  8. Cory-

    Good to know, once I get the dead tree version (hopefully I will find it some time this week at the bookstore) I will change all of the _word_s into italics or bold, whatever they are in the book.

    Thanks for the great stories.

  9. I’ve got another Palm Reader version of this story, available here.

  10. Plucker is an open source compressed HTML format for Palm and
    other handheld computers. The reader is available from
    and the converted story is at

  11. HTML versions of all stories can be found here. Converted with txt2html. The width is not fixed to 80 characters.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Here is a Microsoft ebook Reader version suitable for reading on the PocketPC platform…

    Simply point your browser at:


    I have stripped out the 80 column linefeeds, reduced the detault font size slightly and concatenated the txt files into a single .lit file for one-click loading.

  13. Anonymous says:

    … oops, I somehow omitted my name from the Microsoft ebook Reader link/post.

    Alistair Scott


  14. Seb Perez-D says:

    Here is a prettyfied PDF version of the text. All the quotes were corrected, the emphasis added where needed, and a nice Palatino font used all around. This version is ready to be printed on A4 paper, double-sided, landscape and bound on the left side. This way you can get three sheets of paper in a row, fold them through the middle, and have a nice looking book. I can make other versions if needed.

    Link to the PDF: http://theseblog.free.fr/CoryDoctorowAplaceSoForeignDoubleBook.pdf

  15. Damn that’s COOL! Thanks, Seb!

  16. Jamie Adams says:

    Here’s a version for Mobipocket Reader, a popular reader with versions for many devices.


  17. Ivan Yuen says:

    Here’s the story on Wattpad, you can send it to your phone via SMS:

  18. I converted the TXT file into the EPUB format, which can be played on Stanza, Apple’s iDevices with the iBooks app, the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony’s eReaders, and many other devices. Here it is:


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