/ / Stories

Science-Fiction Age
Year’s Best Science Fiction XVI, Griffin, 1999
Northern Suns, Tor, 1999

Podcast, Escape Pod, January 2006

Podcast, Literal Systems, July 2008

Podcast, Roy Trumbull, September 2008

Finalist, Aurora Award for Best Short Form Work in English, 1999.
Finalist, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Short Story of 1999.

This story appears in my short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More and is licensed for downloading under a Creative Commons license. Download it here

German translation (Christian SplieƟ)

Everything in this story (except the part about the alien) really happened. I love thrifting, I love yard-saling, I love junk. I moved into a huge warehouse space in Toronto nearly three years ago, and I’ve been steadily filling it ever since. There’s the wall of Sputnik clocks, the tiki bar, the 15′ high library, the deck, the chinoise figurines, the Disneyland board games, and so on ad nauseum.

This was my first professionally published story (though it was my second sale — Gardner Dozois bought “Fall From Grace” a month earlier, but took eight months longer to publish it, and the response has been overwhelming. David Hartwell and Glenn Grant have bought a revised version for reprint in Northern Suns, the sequel to Northern Stars, a hardcover antho of the best of Canadian sf.

A short-story crossed the transom recently that did a gret job of capturing the ever-shifting dynamics of of thrifting — the hunt (fruitless and otherwise), competition, karma issues, value relative to the marketplace or sentiment, the past lives/memories of used goods. The tale in in a science fiction mag, but it read like my actual life! Track it down an dig it. “Craphound” by Cory Doctorow, published in the March 1998 issue of Science Fiction Age.

Al Hoff, Thrift Score Magazine #12

One of the short stories published in this issue proves my point. Hidden recently amongst the many hundreds of short stories that pour in each month was “Craphound,” Cory Doctorow’s tale of a decidedly different alien contact. “Craphound” is Doctorow’s first professionally published short story. In answer to the folks who think that editing is simple — “just read the submissions from the big names,” they sometimes say — it’s finding the stories from folks at the beginning of their careers that is the most important and most rewarding. With those evil book publishers stealing short story writers and forcing them into highpaying careers as novelists, the science fiction magazines will always depend on those just starting out.

Scott Edelman, Editorial, Science Fiction Age, March 1998

The two best stories in the March SF Age, in my opinion, were Cory Doctorow’s “Craphound” and Robert Silverberg’s “The Colonel in Autumn.” Like most aliens-mingling-with-human-society stories, Doctorow’s story serves mostly to hold a mirror up to human nature, but the odd corner of human nature it examines is fascinating, and the story is smoothly and expertly written, with some good detail and local color and some shrewd insights into human nature and human culture, and an almost Bradburian vein of rich nostalgia running through it (although the nostalgia is quirky enough that perhaps it might more usefully be compared to R.A. Lafferty or Terry Bisson than to Bradbury); one of the more accomplished performances so far this year.’

Gardner Dozois, on GEnie

Aliens have once again decided to visit Earth in this lighthearted romp. Rather than having conquest on their minds, they merely wish to visit, and explore. Jerry is a junk dealer, a collector, a pack rat of crap and antiques and memorabilia, depending on your point of view. He knows what to look for and how to resell it for a profit. He befriends one of the visiting aliens, who he has named “Craphound,” and they become great pals as they visit flea markets, auctions, and garage sales, always in search of the oddment or bauble only the keen eye of the true collector can spot. Through good times and bad, we learn the inner workings of the collecting business, including the unwritten moral code of the collector toward his brethren. The real lesson is learned, however, from the amiable and wiser-than-he-seems Craphound just as the aliens decide to take their leave of Earth, that the true worth of something is not judged by its dollar value. “Craphound” is a pleasant, likable, satisfying story. It is a nice professional debut for Cory Doctorow and kudos to editor Scott Edelman for rescuing it from his slush pile.

Dave Truesdale, SF Site