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Strange Economics: Economic Speculative Fiction

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What if souls were a form of currency? What if our potential could be bought and sold? What is the value of a memory? These economic questions and more are explored through twenty-three science fiction and fantasy stories, appearing for the first time in this collection. This anthology also includes economics discussion questions accompanying each of the stories, written by What if souls were a form of currency? What if our potential could be bought and sold? What is the value of a memory? These economic questions and more are explored through twenty-three science fiction and fantasy stories, appearing for the first time in this collection. This anthology also includes economics discussion questions accompanying each of the stories, written by professional economist Elisabeth Perlman, and an afterword/essay exploring the relationship between speculative fiction and economics, written by guest editor Jo Lindsay Walton.


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What if souls were a form of currency? What if our potential could be bought and sold? What is the value of a memory? These economic questions and more are explored through twenty-three science fiction and fantasy stories, appearing for the first time in this collection. This anthology also includes economics discussion questions accompanying each of the stories, written by What if souls were a form of currency? What if our potential could be bought and sold? What is the value of a memory? These economic questions and more are explored through twenty-three science fiction and fantasy stories, appearing for the first time in this collection. This anthology also includes economics discussion questions accompanying each of the stories, written by professional economist Elisabeth Perlman, and an afterword/essay exploring the relationship between speculative fiction and economics, written by guest editor Jo Lindsay Walton.

30 review for Strange Economics: Economic Speculative Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kenefick

    There were literally stories that earned one, two, three, four, and five starts in this book, so overall it gets the average. Some Examples: Supply Chains: 1 star. Too much nipple talk, and I can't parse the story at all. Premium Care: 2 stars. Health Care dystopia. Its like a page and a half long, so its the equivalent of a caricature you get on the street: cartoonish and totally devoid of subtlety. A renewable Resource: 3 stars. A dragon demands tribute from a city. An interesting concept, but d There were literally stories that earned one, two, three, four, and five starts in this book, so overall it gets the average. Some Examples: Supply Chains: 1 star. Too much nipple talk, and I can't parse the story at all. Premium Care: 2 stars. Health Care dystopia. Its like a page and a half long, so its the equivalent of a caricature you get on the street: cartoonish and totally devoid of subtlety. A renewable Resource: 3 stars. A dragon demands tribute from a city. An interesting concept, but didn't quite land for me. The Slurm: 4 stars. A (anti?) hero in a fantasy world hunts a monster that is destroying the countryside. Exciting, interesting, and funny. Reminded me a bit of Orconomics. The Price of Wool and Sunflowers: 5 stars. An agency conducts economic warfare by using magic to create and destroy goods within their kingdom. Was it a thin metaphor for the Fed? Sure - but a great concept and well written.

  2. 4 out of 5

    SM

    There were stories that I liked within this anthology and ones that I wasn’t the biggest fan of — that was to be expected as mentioned by the compilers. All of the shorts in here are worth a read, some are worth a re-read or multiple reads. The afterword was A+ too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Harris

    The thing that strikes me about this collection of stories is that, with one or two exceptions, they are extremely grim. When Economics happens to people, it's not a pleasant experience. That seems about right... The thing that strikes me about this collection of stories is that, with one or two exceptions, they are extremely grim. When Economics happens to people, it's not a pleasant experience. That seems about right...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    (Disclaimer: I contributed a story to this collection. My review is based on the other stories.) 4.5 stars A very interesting -- and entertaining -- thought experiment. What if economic principles were examined through the lenses of science fiction and fantasy? That question is answered in this new anthology. The stories collected here range from traditional fantasy to alternate history to modern science fiction, with a few that defy easy categorization. For the most part, the authors deliver some (Disclaimer: I contributed a story to this collection. My review is based on the other stories.) 4.5 stars A very interesting -- and entertaining -- thought experiment. What if economic principles were examined through the lenses of science fiction and fantasy? That question is answered in this new anthology. The stories collected here range from traditional fantasy to alternate history to modern science fiction, with a few that defy easy categorization. For the most part, the authors deliver some thoughtful, funny, disturbing, and simply curious stories that explore characters and situations, always with an eye toward the system of capital, trade, value, and exchange. As an added bonus, the editor has enlisted an economist to write an afterward to provide some critical analysis of the stories, along with classroom-ready discussion questions. Strange Economics is something a hybrid beast: part academic experiment, part anthology. Overall, definitely worth looking into.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    This anthology looks at economics through the lens of sci-fi and fantasy, speculating on other ways an economy could work. What if a personal destinies could be bought and sold? What if you could harvest emotions to make the perfect cup of coffee? How would hell's economy change if the bottom dropped out of the souls market? What would it be like to be an actuary for the entire human species? A fascinating examination of a major part of what makes us tick, but be warned – most of these stories h This anthology looks at economics through the lens of sci-fi and fantasy, speculating on other ways an economy could work. What if a personal destinies could be bought and sold? What if you could harvest emotions to make the perfect cup of coffee? How would hell's economy change if the bottom dropped out of the souls market? What would it be like to be an actuary for the entire human species? A fascinating examination of a major part of what makes us tick, but be warned – most of these stories have grim endings and/or are set in fairly dystopia settings. It makes sense – economics taken to extremes tends to end up in some bad places, so just don’t enter here expecting anything light and fluffy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fraser Sherman

    I'm one of the authors (the short story "Grass Is Always Greener") so obviously I'm biased. But I got to read the whole book (I got a free copy, though I also bought a print copy for my shelves), and it's really good. My favorite story is probably "The Slurm," a hysterically tongue-in-cheek account of a villain trying to destroy a monster; next would be "The Price of Wool and Sunflowers," in which an economist wizard has to work to keep the kingdom's balance of trade favorable. Some stories are I'm one of the authors (the short story "Grass Is Always Greener") so obviously I'm biased. But I got to read the whole book (I got a free copy, though I also bought a print copy for my shelves), and it's really good. My favorite story is probably "The Slurm," a hysterically tongue-in-cheek account of a villain trying to destroy a monster; next would be "The Price of Wool and Sunflowers," in which an economist wizard has to work to keep the kingdom's balance of trade favorable. Some stories are heavily about economics, others, like mine, focus on a trade in magical goods of some sort. I'm very pleased to be in this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Red7paulbrennan

    Most of the stories were upsetting, few fun. Overall worth the read. An excellent example of negative emotions from good fiction.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Hello. I'm one of the authors in STRANGE ECONOMICS, my story being "Warm Storage," and I just wanted to say it was quite a thrill writing a piece for this gem of a book. The subject matter was initially a challenge, but I soon found several of my favorite though disparate topics/interests/reads jumping onto the same bed in my mind to commence an orgy of melding ideas that spawned my tale (Zombies, Larry Niven's novel ARM, Logan's Run, the history of Slavery, etc.). I hope you have as much fun re Hello. I'm one of the authors in STRANGE ECONOMICS, my story being "Warm Storage," and I just wanted to say it was quite a thrill writing a piece for this gem of a book. The subject matter was initially a challenge, but I soon found several of my favorite though disparate topics/interests/reads jumping onto the same bed in my mind to commence an orgy of melding ideas that spawned my tale (Zombies, Larry Niven's novel ARM, Logan's Run, the history of Slavery, etc.). I hope you have as much fun reading my story as I did writing it. On another note, I just submitted two stories to Editor David F. Shultz, one for the upcoming STRANGE RELIGION anthology, and one for the upcoming STRANGE WARS anthology. I have no idea if either will make the cut, but they were certainly fun to research and write. The "Strange" Series of anthologies is a beautiful opportunity to connect Academia with Fiction in a fun and intelligent manner... both for the Writer, and the Reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Just okay I was SO EXCITED when I saw this book and started the first story. But, well, I really disliked the ending of the Slow Bomb, and the rest of them were much less conceptually interesting and mostly less well written (I rolled my eyes a few times at the This Is Deepness of it all). Kind of fun and definitely something I'd love to see explored more, but yeah, wish these had a little bit more to chew on. (And warning, one of them, I Can Always Tell a John, is just gross faux-deep writing wit Just okay I was SO EXCITED when I saw this book and started the first story. But, well, I really disliked the ending of the Slow Bomb, and the rest of them were much less conceptually interesting and mostly less well written (I rolled my eyes a few times at the This Is Deepness of it all). Kind of fun and definitely something I'd love to see explored more, but yeah, wish these had a little bit more to chew on. (And warning, one of them, I Can Always Tell a John, is just gross faux-deep writing with a male rape played as just desserts/kinda for laughs.).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    While entertaining, most of the stories are underwritten and only tangentially related to economics, though they explore some of the concepts in amusing ways. Some explore the idea of value/valuation, or how trade sanctions, or moneyless vs capitalist societies, or mythological versions of markets. I was going to go with two stars, but the author/editor's afterword was definitely worth reading, and a few of the stories near the end were actually quite enjoyable. While entertaining, most of the stories are underwritten and only tangentially related to economics, though they explore some of the concepts in amusing ways. Some explore the idea of value/valuation, or how trade sanctions, or moneyless vs capitalist societies, or mythological versions of markets. I was going to go with two stars, but the author/editor's afterword was definitely worth reading, and a few of the stories near the end were actually quite enjoyable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    Short stories are pretty hit-and-miss, and for me these were mostly misses.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caoimhin Caoimhin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kumsal Obuz

  14. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Javier

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jack Waddell

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah L

  18. 4 out of 5

    Prabhanjan

  19. 4 out of 5

    TDotSpec

  20. 5 out of 5

    Storabambis

  21. 4 out of 5

    kznlol

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tuftears

  23. 5 out of 5

    Collacentaur

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevin jones

    Good idea, but not well done. We may do a sci fi contest for transform.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zdenka

  26. 4 out of 5

    MOe Carpenter

  27. 5 out of 5

    BobRawrley

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dominick Fisher

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brianjesteadt

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