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Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

The Infinite Matrix, July 2008

Part One,
Part Two,
Part Three

Year’s Best Science Fiction 9 (edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer)

Solaris Magazine (French Translation by Elisabeth Vonarburg), 2004

Sci Fi World (Chinese translation), September 2004

ESLI Magazine (Russian translation), 2005

Bli-Panika (Hebrew translation), 2005

Italian Translation, 2006, by Giovanni Ella

This one literally came to me in a dream: I woke up one morning, shortly after moving to San Francisco, with this whole story in my head. I wrote it over the next two weeks, and, what, three years later?, Asimov’s finally published it!

This story has also been translated into French by Elisabeth Vonarburg, for the Quebecois magazine Solaris in 2004. You can download it from here under a Creative Commons license.

In 2005, the Russian SF magazine ESLI reprinted this magazine in Russian translation. Download it here under a Creative Commons license.

Here’s a 1.7MB Tarball of this story in Chinese, with illustrations, taken from the September 2004 ish of Sci Fi World magazine. It’s offered under a liberal Creative Commons license — enjoy!

Don’t get me wrong — I _like_ unspoiled wilderness. I _like_ my sky clear and blue and my city free of the thunder of cars and jackhammers. I’m no technocrat. But goddamit, who wouldn’t want a fully automatic, laser-guided, armor-piercing, self-replenishing personal sidearm?

Nice turn of phrase, huh? I finally memorized it one night, from one of the hoppers, as he stood in my bedroom, pointing his hand-cannon at another hopper, enumerating its many charms: “This is a laser-guided blah blah blah. Throw down your arms and lace your fingers behind your head, blah blah blah.” I’d heard the same dialog nearly every day that month, whenever the dimension-hoppers catapaulted into my home, shot it up, smashed my window, dived into the street, and chased one another through my poor little shtetl, wreaking havoc, maiming bystanders, and then gateing out to another poor dimension to carry on there.


It was all I could do to keep my house well-fed on sand to replace the windows. Much more hopper invasion and I was going to have to extrude its legs and babayaga to the beach. Why the hell was it always _my_ house, anyway?

I wasn’t going to get back to sleep, that much was sure. The autumn wind blowing through the shattered window was fragrant with maple and rich decay and crisp hay, but it was also cold enough to steam my breath and turn me out in all-over gooseflesh. Besides, the racket they were making out in the plaza was deafening, all supersonic thunderclaps and screams from wounded houses. The househusbands would have their work cut out for them come morning.

12 Responses to “NIMBY and the D-Hoppers”

  1. Thom_D

    Is this available in English anywhere? The rest of the world gets this one but I can’t seem to find the entire story. I have readh the first half and want to finish it. Very well done and an interesting concept.

  2. CraigM

    Cory, I am sure you already know this, but there are those of us out there that can’t wait for NIMBY whether pay or free. In fact I hope I can pay, nothing like helping to fund your favourite author/electronic freedom fighter.

  3. Aleks

    Has casually come across your site. Has read through Russian translation of product. Very much it was pleasant, the truth preference I give a fantasy in style of star wars. Thanks for a material and given pleasure from perusal.

  4. Tom Woolery

    Reading this in babelfish, it seems very avante garde!

  5. Imron

    Back in 2005, in response to the first post asking if this was available online in English you wrote: “Not yet — I hope to find a paying online market for this in ENglish soon. Failing that, I’ll just post it.”
    3 years later, after reading the recently released graphic novel version I thought I’d like to read the full thing, but can’t seem to find a full version online anywhere (preferably I’d like to read it, not listen to it). Is there any chance of a full-posting soon?

  6. Cory Doctorow

    Good point, Imron. I’m putting it on my to-do list…

  7. Christoffer

    The chinese translation seems to be missing a page or so. Comparing with the English version on infinitematrix, the chinese translation (on p. 14 of the magazine) begins with:

    “…his opponent but blowing away the mosaic. My heart hammered in my chest, and all my other clichés hackneyed in my chestnuts.

    “You OK?” I hollered over the din.

    “I think so,” Sally said. A piece of jagged plastic was embedded in the wall inches over her head, and the house was keening…”

  8. Daniel Fish

    Every once in awhile I tend to wonder over to your page and check on the status of things. I noticed that this story is still not available for download. When I was last here 3 years ago, I briefly pined at its absence and then did a web search and noticed immediately that feedbooks.com would happily let me download it and that’s where my thoughts stopped.

    Why am I here again? Well, I’m not sure if making this story available on your page rather than at feedbooks (or asimov’s or infinite matrix as the first three lines of a google search attest to) makes much difference. But if I’m wandering around your site looking for short stories I haven’t read, chances are other people are too. And maybe that might lead you to think along the lines I am. Which is, even though I have already downloaded and read this story, the funny thing is, I would probably pay for it *for the first time* if it were part of a Cory Doctorow short story collection. Just a thought.

    BTW, look up Kortunefookie. It’s an interesting sort of William Gibson like idea.

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