Short interview: Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist and journalist. He is the author of many books, most recently RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults; HOW TO DESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, nonfiction about monopoly and conspiracy; IN REAL LIFE, a graphic novel; and the picture book POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER. His latest book is ATTACK SURFACE, a standalone adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER; his next nonfiction book is CHOKEPOINT CAPITALISM, with Rebecca Giblin, about monopoly and fairness in the creative arts labor market, (Beacon Press, 2022). In 2020, he was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

1. According to you and apart from the number of words, what is the main difference between a short story and a novel?

Here's the answer I gave to the LA Public Library:

A short story is like traveling with a carry-on bag, it can only contain your essentials. A novel is like hiring movers to load your whole life into a shipping container. A novella is like checking a bag or two, with enough room for some optional comfort items you're not sure you'll need but which you'll be glad to have.

2. What's your favorite short story?

I'm mistrustful of people who have solitary literary favorites – inevitably the text turns out to be the Bible, Mein Kampf, or Atlas Shrugged. I have hundreds of favorite short stories, one for every occasion.

3. What's your favorite short story written by you?

Same again! I'm very fond of MANY of my stories: Unauthorized Bread, 0wnz0red, The Man Who Sold the Moon, Anda's Game, I, Robot, I, Row-boat, The Martian Chronicles, and more.

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