Stable Strategies and Others
by Eileen Gunn
Available Format(s): Trade Paperback and eBooks
Warning—this dangerous collection of subversive science fiction tosses well-aimed bombs at deserving targets. Here you can climb the corporate ladder using homicidal bioengineering, attempt ideological recipes for theoretical desserts, or simply try to survive Kurt Cobain High. In her much-lauded first collection, award-winning author Eileen Gunn (Questionable Practices) tackles politics, identity, and technology with intelligence, wit, and crackling energy.
“Eileen Gunn has a barbed-wire-sharp mind, an unsettling insight into the way the world works, and a wicked sense of humor, and her stories are just like her. From Cobain High to the Tower of Diminished Expectations, Stable Strategies and Others is a disconcerting, witty, delicious read!”
“Not caring to scavenge the slipstreamed Sargasso that typifies so much of today’s American SF, Eileen Gunn gives us a lucid field guide to a veritable Galápagos of droll arcana and deeply felt anomalies. Long-awaited and worth the wait.”
“‘I awoke this morning to discover that bioengineering had made demands upon me during the night.’ Who hasn’t had mornings like that? It’s a strange life we live, and it gets stranger every day: Eileen Gunn knows as much. A sharp-eyed student of mantises, windswept deserts, Fibonacci numbers, and Richard Nixon, she unblinkingly faces this brave new world as if she’d started off the day sharing coffee with Kafka, trading knowing remarks about the preternatural weirdness of the world. Gunn shows us vistas and scenarios possible and improbable, suggests events that may or may not have happened, and invites us to stretch our minds and imaginations as she does her own. This book contains no end of treasures and pleasures for anyone fortunate enough to come to it, and I’m glad to have it close at hand.”
“Very few writers have the range or impact of Eileen Gunn. Her stories zip, dip, twist and turn, move from melancholy to mystery to magic. You are in for a treat. Enjoy!”
—Karen Joy Fowler
“Without Eileen Gunn, life as we know it would be so dull we wouldn’t recognize it. Among the five or six North Americans currently able to write short stories, she has not written anywhere near enough. But at least all of them are here in this book, an occasion for rejoicing from Manhattan to Makah.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin
“Gunn’s stories are in another league entirely—like Sturgeon or Chiang, she’s sui generis and anything but generic. Every one of these stories has a pleasing, sharp flavor unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. Especially the recipe for fruit crisp. Delicious.”
“Reading this book is like getting to wear the eyeballs of a madwoman in your own sockets for a day. Nothing’s going to look the same. Suddenly, the Richard Nixon Game Show and the girl with twenty-one fingers and the birds who need rest to die will make perfect sense. And your life will be better. So buy the damn book. It’s brilliant.”
“Her prose is clean, effortless, and quirky (yes, all three at once) in a way that makes it possible for the knife point to slip right past your eyeballs and straight into your brain.”
—The Spectrum Circus
Eileen Gunn won a Nebula for one of the stories in her first collection, Stable Strategies and Others, and was nominated for another. The book was nominated for the Philip K. Dick and World Fantasy awards. She has also been nominated twice for the Hugo Award. Eileen has been the marketing director of Microsoft, a board member of the prestigious Clarion Writers Workshop, the publisher of The Infinite Matrix, and she maintains The Difference Dictionary, an online concordance to the Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.
Visit the Eileen Gunn Website.
"She’s the Business" Introduction by William Gibson
Coming to Terms
Ideologically Labile Fruit Crisp
Lichen and Rock
Stable Strategies for Middle Management
The Sock Story
What Are Friends For?
Green Fire with Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy, and Michael Swanwick
Nirvana High with Leslie What
"Hooray for Eileen!" An essay by Michael Stanwick
Afterword by Howard Waldrop