A collection of short stories from this cyberpunk writer. Recurring themes/elements include Russia/Cold War, the Middle East, organized crime and drugs... a lot of it reminded me a bit of J.G. Ballard. It culminates in a truly weird what-if story about rock critic Lester Bangs and an obscure underground comic book artist meeting and getting married. Some weird stuff!
Collection of stories "...set in strange futures and alternate nows..."
Hits and Misses, August 16, 2003
Reviewer: Daniel W. Casey (Sturbridge, MA United States)
This collection of short stories contains some interesting "hits" (Hollywood Kremlin, Storming the Cosmos, We See Things Differently, Are you for 86?) and some disappointing "misses" (The Sword of Damocles).
Sterling is at his best when he is discussing alternative futures close to our own, and he has done his homework in studying two rival cultures that play roles in his alternate universes -- the Muslim world and the world of the old Soviet Union. He creates memorable characters (the international arms dealer/hustler Leggy Starlitz, for instance) and generates a lot of thought-provoking ideas (Will Turing-conscious AI's embrace Islam? Was the Tunguska blast really caused by an alien spacecraft? Will Islam become the dominant superpower -- threatened only by American rock and roil? Will genetically engineered pets capable of human-like thought and speech exist?).
Sterling's prose here is not of the quality of William Gibson's, or indeed, as good as Sterling is in other works, such as Schismatrix, or The Difference Engine. It is a good collection of stories, for the most part, and makes a good companion on a trip to the beach.
Hit and Miss, but the Good Ones Are Outstanding, July 27, 1998
Reviewer: W. A. Norris (Laramie, WY United States)
There are some definite losers here, like "The Sword of Damocles," an experiment that, well, failed. However, there are some incredible stories here--"Our Neural Chernobyl" is outstanding, and the incredible "We See Things Differently," about a future in which Islam is in ascendance and America is in decline, still gives me chills just thinking about it.
From the rich imagination of Bruce Sterling, bestselling author of HEAVY WEATHER and co-author of THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE, comes a stunning collection of short stories set in strange futures and alternative nows....