A Place So Foreign and Eight More

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

    This story almost didn’t get written. The way I write stories is really stupid: I write the first two-thirds without any particular idea of how it’s all going to end, but with a general sense that the ending is going to have to tie together all the memelets and idealings from the first two-thirds of the text. I get to feeling like the person who’s going to finish the story is a collaborator, some other writer who’s going to be faced with figuring out how it all ties together. When I’m on a roll, I really get into it, chuckling nastily at the thought of this other poor bastard being handed this 16-car-pileup popcult salmagundi, wondering how he’s going to bring it all home.

    Then, of course, I get to the ending, and I’m standing at the base of this giant, sheer cliff I’ve erected, figuring out how I’m going to scale it. Usually, I get derailed at this point, and take three or four months off while I work it out in my subconscious.

    That’s what happened with this story, only it was a couple of *years*, and I decided I’d take it with to a writer’s retreat in Colorado Springs and finish it off there. I had my only copy of it on my PowerBook 145, the latest in a series of hand-me-down laptops, and I stuck it in my carry-on and took a cab to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

    When I got to security, they made me boot up the machine, and when I was done, the officer handed it back to me–and fumbled it. It smashed to the hard poured-concrete floor and broke into many bits. The officer maintained that he’d given it to me and *I’d* dropped it. I didn’t see it that way, but all of his co-workers backed him up. The duty-supervisor smirkingly offered to let me file a report, but warned that it would take a couple hours to go through the paperwork, knowing full well my flight was leaving in twenty minutes.

    Fuming, I flew to Colorado Springs, borrowed an old Mac Classic and rekeyed the first twenty-some pages from memory, finished the thing in a huff, and turned it in to the group for dissection.

    For all that, I think it came out pretty well!

    Comment by Cory Doctorow — September 7, 2003 @ 7:32 am

  2. PDF

    Comment by Jeremy Keith — September 8, 2003 @ 4:53 am

  3. 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.

    Comment by Jeremy Keith — September 8, 2003 @ 7:08 am

  4. 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.

    Comment by Thomas Scott — September 8, 2003 @ 7:32 am

  5. Apple Newton Paperback format of all of the short stories:

    http://toronto.unna.org/unna/books/Fiction_Poetry/Cory_Doctorow/

    Comment by Victor Rehorst — September 8, 2003 @ 8:10 am

  6. Here are .pdf and .doc formats.

    Comment by Grant Henninger — September 9, 2003 @ 11:13 am

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

    Comment by Jon Abernathy — September 9, 2003 @ 11:15 pm

  8. Plucker is an open source compressed HTML format for Palm and
    other handheld computers. The reader is available from
    http://www.plkr.org/
    and the converted story is at
    http://home.austin.rr.com/rcp/plucker/Cory_Doctorow_-_Shadow_of_the_Mothaship.pdb

    Comment by Rob Pettengill — September 17, 2003 @ 2:45 pm

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

    Comment by Michael Schubart — September 18, 2003 @ 8:59 pm

  10. RE: Styrofoam houses coming to Afghanistan

    Trackback by Zaphod's BigBlog(tm) — August 5, 2004 @ 6:43 am

  11. MS Reader

    iPod Notes

    Comment by Klep — April 28, 2005 @ 3:05 pm

  12. I converted this to mobipocket’s prc format, that can be used in many readers, including the Amazon Kindle.

    Shadow_of_the_Mothaship

    Comment by jonnyflash — October 13, 2008 @ 9:23 am

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