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Burning Chrome Mass Market Paperback – 30 Aug 2001

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Mass Market Paperback, 30 Aug 2001
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc; Open market ed edition (30 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441089348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441089345
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.5 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,476,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).

Product Description


‘A fistful of fast, challenging, hot-wired short stories’
New Musical Express

‘Furiously inventive, brilliantly written, the cutting edge of sf’

‘Some subversives are still at work proving that SF can pack its strongest blows into its shortest works… He’s at his best dealing with the victims of the new, the people burnt out by drugs, computers, huge corporations or the strangeness of space’
Fiction Magazine

‘At once a lament and a critique, these stories show the way SF is being rewired. Gibson, his finger jitteringly on the fast-forward button, shows the direction in which our literature might be headed’
The Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Ten brilliant, seminal, hard-edged, nerve-enhancing stories form the unchallenged guru, prophet and voice of the new cybernetic world order and virtual reality. The stories, with their vivid cast of lowlife characters in an intensely realised high-tech world, paint an instantly recognisable portrait of the modern predicament.

'Fast, witty and lovingly polished'

'Gibson may have taken his raw data from unsuspecting hackers, but with his visions of computer cowboys on a new technological frontier, he gave them back an identity and a set of ennobling myths.'

'Quick, high-intensity glimpses that linger on the retina of the imagination.'

'He's at his best dealing with the victims of the new, the people burnt out by drugs, computers, huge corporations or the strangeness of space'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 14 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
Although I love Neuromancer and Gibson's other books, its in his short stories he really excels. He manages to paint a complete world in a page or two, fleshing out his characters into real people. Some of the stories seem to be in the world of the sprawl, others are in very different places. All have the strange tension of living in a place on the edge of change, the Edge where console cowboys cut ICE from the datacores of an Old/Young woman or burned out hustlers dogfight holographic planes around the lightbulbs of seedy bars. Each story is Short, sharp and glorious.
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By teapotpete on 9 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First read this on paper a few decades ago. I didn't enjoy it fisrt time; having come right from Neuromancer I thought it was another novel in the series.
Just done with the collection this morning and as a proper grown up I loved it. I have grown up reading Gibson and his own fiction has developed in parallel. This collection of short stories shows no sign of being first published in 1986, his ideas are still bleeding edge today. It informs and deepens the world of the sprawl so is required reading for anyone wanting to understand Gibson's fiction. When I got to the end of the book I have realised I need to revisit the sprawl yet again for th 'nth' time. Time to settle the trodes on the temples and jack in methinks...
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a well-written, compelling collection.

If like me you grew up with 'defictionalised' versions of many of the technologies described by Gibson, it's possible to overlook the breath-taking level of innovation in his writing: the interesting thing is that despite this, there is a rawness and a freshness that grabs the reader here: even though it's almost thirty years old, and even though elements of Gibson's cyberpunk vision have now been endlessly recycled in popular culture.

Although elements of this imagined future are horribly outdated, this doesn't necessarily detract from the stories... possibly because they're really about the characters anyway, rather than the technology, and the characters are mainly sharply observed, nuanced and sympathetic.

So when, for instance, we read about a young woman who is desperate for the cybernetic implants she feels will help her become a 'simstim' star, we know the story isn't really about cybernetics - it's about her hopes and dreams, and an industry that sells fantasies to vulnerable young people.

Just good writing.
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By Paul on 16 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
excellent compilation of short stories from sci-fi visionary. Worth the fee
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 91 reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Occasionally Brilliant 28 Nov. 1999
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think William Gibson is probably the best pure *writer* that I have read for years. I don't think, on the other hand, that his fiction is the best that SF has produced--but his deliverance of the stories is his strong point. His prose has been polished to the point that it sparkles and contains more than a good deal of poetry. Not only is his language poetic, but also are his images, especially his depiction of cyberspace with all its colorful towers of data.
As far as Gibson's fiction is concerned it is always interesting, often relevant, and on occasion cathartic. Most of his stories seem to take on the same sort of tone, that stemming from the "hard-boiled" tradition. Stories like "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Burning Chrome" best exemplify this particular brand of story. But Gibson also pulls a few surprizes out of his hat and delivers stories that are highly experimental and center around character study rather than high-tempo, action-packed adventure stories. "The Winter Market" in particular struck me as especially brilliant. His focus in the story was not the neat gadgetry that was represented by the "exoskeleton" worn by one of the characters, it was how this shaped this character and effected her life. But Gibson doesn't stop there, he gives us a cast of strong characters and plenty of interaction between them. And this is what really made the story interesting for me. The sf elements are there, but the story has a great deal of universality in its portrayol of real people in situations we can relate to.
I also thought that "Hinterlands" and "The Gernsback Continuum" were very interesting stories. "Hinterlands", like "The Winter Market", tells a real character oriented story, and "The Gernsback Continuum" is unlike any other story I've ever read. All of Gibson's stories are well written, but these stories in particular established his reputation in my mind.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Powerful 10 July 2003
By "excalibur_42" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A lot of people who read Gibson bash his writing because of the superficial nature of his characters. They're missing the point. One of the overarching themes of cyberpunk is the idea that technology, while revolutionizing our world, is also slowly stripping us of many of the things that make us human. Cyberpunk is a dystopia, not a Star Trek style utopia. The people living in the Sprawl, in Gibson's world, are superficial, because that's all that they have. It's professionalism taken to an unhealthy degree, and it mirrors many people that I know. Not everyone in the world has a deep, complex personality. I dare say a significant number of them don't.
That being said, Gibson truly shines as a short story writer. As a fan and practicioner of the short story, the sparseness of plot and space in general is one of the strong points in cyberpunk. The genre is about impact and style, and the shorter the story, the stronger the impact has to be to justify the experience.
Burning Chrome is a book with ten such impacts. The first story, Johnny Mnemonic, probably has the best chance to be known by the general public, and has the hardest reputation to overcome. It's great scifi, albeit far from the best story in the book. As other reviewers have said, it does introduce Molly and gives a great taste of the Sprawl. The killing floor is also one of the best examples of culture in Gibson's world.
The Gernsback Continuum is one of those stories that border on the incredibly bizzare. I didn't care for this story as much as the other (it's probably my least favorite), but ti's still bizzare enough to be entertaining.
Fragments of a Hologram Rose if I remember correctly is one of Gibson's first short stories, and it sets the stage beautifully for his style of writing. Short, sweet, and encapturing a moment in life, it may not have the depth of impact of the sprawl stories, but it's still high quality. Gibson deals with emotion, and the avoiding thereof in a painfully human manner. Namely, the characters avoid it at all costs.
The Belonging Kind is another story, sci fi in it's premise, but not so much in it's execution. Refreshing in how alien (litterally) socially popular people can be.
Hinterlands is my second favorite story in the book. It's what I call "classic" scifi- it's set in space, on a space station, and involves man's exploration of the unknown. But instead of a star trek slant, it plumbs into the desperation of wanting to know, the craving from the tree of knowledge for more. I identified with the desire to Know that which is unknown, even at the cost of your own life. A very strong story.
Red Star, Winter Orbit is another "classic" scifi tale, about a decaying russian space station at the end of an era of war. Probably ranks in my 3 least favorite of the book, but that's like saying that cake is a little dry.
New Rose Hotel is another personal favorite, about corporate espionage and the art of the double cross. This is linked to the sprawl stories, although it's hard to tell (certain companies are involved, and their outcome seems to be reflected and alluded to in the sprawl trilogy). Powerfully narrorated by a man about to die, it's light on the sci fi, but strong on Gibson's style.
The Winter Market is an eerie tale about desire and raw drive. The interesting thing about this story is that a few people, including myself, have written stories before ever reading Gibson that share many of the same ideas and themes of this story.
Dogfight is another one that's different. A story about desires, values, and passions, between a convict with a mental block and the college girl he meets with an equally strong mental block. Dogfight refers to a holographic game that the main character is obsessed with.
Burning Chrome. We finally get to the namesake of this book, and we find Gibson in full stride, in lyrical command of his genre. Like Molly from Neuromancer, everything is right in place for Burning Chrome. His moves are down pat, his style oozes, and the delivery of the mood and atmosphere hit you like a jackhammer. Basic plot? Boy meets girl, boy goes on hacking job for girl so he can retire, girl falls for boy's chum and assistant, girl splits as boy & assistant strike it rich. Simple plot, but oh-so-powerful in it's delivery.
Overall, Burning Chrome is worth the investment. Don't read Gibson to have intriguing, incredibly developed plot and characters, read it for the mood and style of the writing. Each page is like a work of art, carefully crafted to leave an emotion, an impression. In a fictional world where life is fragile, the easiest way to achieve immortality is to leave a lasting impression. This is the goal of all the arcane grammar, the lyrical prose, the point-blank blast of imagry that Gibson throws up. Don't try to analyze the plot, analyze the mood. It drips in each of the Sprawl stories.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Landmark Work of Cyberpunk 3 Nov. 2000
By Michael Chu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Featuring stories by the "father of cyberpunk", William Gibson, as well as collaberations with many other important figures in the genre, BURNING CHROME, is as good a collection of cyberpunk short fiction as can be found (short of Bruce Sterling's MIRRORSHADES, which has been out of print for some time). First and foremost, the first story in the anthology, "Johnny Mnemonic", will, no doubt, garner the most interest. (Readers of Gibson's NEUROMANCER will easily make the correlation between Molly and Johnny.) Gritty and imaginative, "Johnny Mnemonic" is worth the price of admission alone, spinning the story (made into the movie of the same name), of Johnny Mnemonic, a data courier, and his gal Molly Millions. "Burning Chrome" and "Dogfight" are considered to be two of Gibson's best short stories, showing off Gibson's creative powers at their strongest. "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" is a lyrical masterpiece, exquisitely detailed and haunting in delivery. Gibson's work is prophetic and amazing, rounding out his Sprawl series (NEUROMANCER, COUNT ZERO, and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE). Bordering on poetic at times, crystal clear at others, Gibson is truly a versatile author.
All in all, fans of Gibson's other works or fans of cyberpunk in general will find this anthology immensely rewarding.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Cyberpunk is Still Fresh 29 Mar. 2007
By CV Rick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
William Gibson burst onto the scene with slick writing and a dismal view of the future. His protagonists were all flawed and the endings resulted in bittersweet Pyrrhic victories - a world were pain begets pain. Mostly set in the criminal underground or the criminal corporate world at war, he explored the darkness in his future worldview and the darkness within each of us.

What I liked best about this collection is what I like best about all of Gibson's work, the fluid prose. Like liquid poetry injected directly into the consciousness it raises your pulse and quickens the anticipation. He's brilliant at creating a mood, a true master.

The highlight of this anthology was the title story, Burning Chrome. To describe it with words like octane and infused would be to weaken its impact, a pure rush of language that conveys the story of desire: wealth, sex, life. There may be no better story in the genre than Burning Chrome.

Of the other stories, Johnny Mnemonic and Hinterlands stood out as exciting rides of fictional craziness. Hinterlands was half-horror, half cyber, and full out corporate espionage. Johnny Mnemonic foreshadowed Neuromancer with the introduction of Molly and the ill-fated Johnny run cross of the true corporate power in Gibson's stories, the Yakuza.

The rest of the collection is a fine sampling of Gibson's writing. Some better than others.

The following is the contents:

"Johnny Mnemonic"

"The Gernsback Continuum"

"Fragments of a Hologram Rose"

"The Belonging Kind"


"Red Star, Winter Orbit"

"New Rose Hotel"

"The Winter Market"


"Burning Chrome"

- CV Rick
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vivid short stories set in a scary future 20 Oct. 2001
By Eric Oppen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read Gibson in the short stories he sold to Omni, lo these many years ago, and when this collection came out, I was delighted to see those old friends, "Burning Chrome," and "Johnny Mnemonic" in print again. As with all anthologies, the quality of these stories is uneven at best, but when Gibson's good, he's very, very good indeed, and when he's not so good, he's still an author who repays reading.
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