Noted science fiction author Cory Doctorow’s new short story collection, “With a Little Help,” features a tale set in the near future, at a shuttered Walmart that has been converted to a flea market. The book was published in March 2011, but the story was written in 2007, putting Doctorow at least a year or two ahead of the real life trend in converting unused commercial real estate into flea market malls, as reported by FleaMarketZone.com in January.
“Other People’s Money” centers on a flea market vendor named Gretl who started life as an Internet entrepreneur, but gives it up to make and sell sculptures created from obsolete electronics. She has a stall at the old Walmart next to a Chinese food vendor. A young venture capitalist tries to tempt her away from the flea market, but in the end she convinces him to come work for her instead.
The story was originally published in Forbes, and is available to read for free at the Forbes.com site or read aloud as a free downloadable podcast. The collection was reviewed this past weekend in the Wall Street Journal.
About the story, Doctorow says in his podcast that his intent was to write about the future of entrepreneurship. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how little it costs to start a business,” he says.
Photo credit, with thanks: Frank Wu and Craphound.com.