In these eleven stories, including Nebula Award finalist “Kid Charlemagne,” Paul Di Filippo applies his armamentarium of vastly varied literary skills to an examination and definition of the outer limits of an almost unbearably mundane-sounding subject: daily toil or, in a word, jobs. In “Spondulix,” Rory Honeyman, desperate to preserve the meager cash flow in his sandwich shop, starts offering store coupons that somehow take on a life of their own. “The Mill” is the only place in the universe where Luxcloth, treasured and worn by many, can be manufactured and only at the direction of one man. “The Boredom Factory” gives meaning to the phrase “living to work.” Keep reading—it will be the easiest job you’ve ever had.
You can try to escape from the mundane, or with the help of Paul Di Filippo, you can take a brief, meaningful break from it. In the vein of George Saunders or Michael Chabon, Di Filippo uses the tools of science fiction and the surreal to take a deep, richly felt look at humanity. His brand of funny, quirky, thoughtful, fast‑moving, heart‑warming, brain‑bending stories exist across the entire spectrum of the fantastic from hard science fiction to satire to fantasy and on to horror, delivering a riotously entertaining string of modern fables and stories from tomorrow, now, and anytime. After you read Paul Di Filippo, you will no longer see everyday life quite the same. Strange Trades includes an introduction by Bruce Sterling.