peteg's blog - noise - books - 2009 08 17 SterlingEtAl Mirrorshades

Bruce Sterling, ed.: Mirrorshades

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I pinched this one from mrak's shelf a while ago. This book promises to checkpoint the cyberpunk genre circa 1988 by collecting short stories from some or all of the major players, such as William Gibson and apparently Sterling himself, whom I've never read.

The best, for mine:

  • Tom Maddox's Snake Eyes was cute but inspecific. Available from his website with a lot of other stuff.
  • James Patrick Kelly's Solstice is an adventure in drugs as legitimate experience-enhancers, and as artforms. Definitely the best written story in this collection, but rates meh for cyberpunk. Again, his website has loads of his writing.
  • Paul Di Filippo's Stone Lives had some promise, enough to justify looking at his other stuff. I would say this exceeds the average for cyberpunk in this collection, albeit with a ghost-in-the-corporation that makes the twist somewhat predictable. Shades of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land?

Overall the collection was paint-by-the-numbers: if there's a woman, she is a sex object, deviant at least in apperance and otherwise indistinguishable from the blokes, Trinity from The Matrix being a modern canonical example. If there is politics, there is the 1980s totalitarian against the free American. If there's a book editor, he is into self-aggrandisement.

This book might have lead me to doubt that my conception of cyberpunk, which I take to be pretty much defined by Neuromancer and Bladerunner, coincides with anyone else's... if it weren't for the reviews on Amazon. Hopefully I can jump off from here.