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Schismatrix Plus: Includes Schismatrix and Selected Stories from Crystal [Paperback]

Bruce Sterling
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.64
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Schismatrix Plus: Includes Schismatrix and Selected Stories from Crystal + Snow Crash + Neuromancer
Price For All Three: 21.39

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  • Snow Crash 6.29
  • Neuromancer 5.59

Product details

  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (31 Dec 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441003702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441003709
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


From the pioneer of crucial, cutting-edge science fiction comes the stunning world of the Schismatrix, where Shaper revolutionaries struggle against aristocratic Mechanists for ultimate control of human destiny. Original.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
They shipped Lindsay into exile in the cheapest kind of Mechanist drogue. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A + + 13 Oct 2004
By Russell
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is what SF is for. Books like this justify SF and excuse the torrents of trash. Schismatrix is unashamedly hard. It is about technology, and culture shock, and evolution. It is not literature 'masquerading' as SF but genuine genre in all its glory.
Once again, I am amazed and the level of detail and depth built into what is really a very short book. Sterling makes each choice, each detail count towards the bigger picture - many modern novels build worlds by cudgelling the reader under the weight of facts.
Schismatrix moves in ever accelerating leaps, without losing a sense of continuity and story (the longevity of the major characters helps), the pace of the narrative reflecting the accelerating disintegration of society, culture and eventually humanity.
Part of the story's strength lies in the appeal of the lead character - Abelard Lindsay. He's good without being perfect; smart without being infallible; purposeful with out being all powerful. Schismatrix - for all the technology - takes a fundamentally humane perspective on the future - reflecting the beauty and the tragedy of the individual successes and failures weaving into the large perspective of progress. Nothing lasts for ever - no person, no society, no philosophy - but neither are they pointless.
Schismatrix is breathtaking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing 13 Aug 1999
By A Customer
With most books, you can read them several times and find something new in them each time through. With this book, it's an absolute necessity. The ideas expressed are so numerous, there must be at least two or three lurking on every other page. It would take probably a half dozen readings to really peg them all. The story itself is visionary, immensly complicated, and superbly executed, with a protaganist I couldn't help but admire and root for. This book definately has an incredibly unique flavor. This is one space epic absolutely worth owning.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schismatrix is an old and treasured companion. 11 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Schismatrix would have to be one of my favourite ever novels. I first encountered this intelligent and thought provoking novel as a 15 year old High School student. While I may not have properly appreciated it or fully understood it at the time, I realised that there was a lot happening in those pages and I've constantly revisited it over the years. I love this book for the fact that every time I've read it I've got something new from it and have understood it as a whole just a little bit more. Schismatrix Plus is an enhanced book with the inclusion of the Shaper/Mechanist stories, which I feel add a richness to the main text. A particular favourite is "Sunken Gardens", not least because it has a believable timeframe for a project of such magnitude. However, I dearly love the concept of the failed factions. New technology isn't necessarily adopted, nor does it always work in the manner or for the purposes originally intended. William Gibson wrote, "the street finds its own uses for things" and I would add 'so do politicians'. I love this novel and its attendant stories and I'll continue to return to them as old and comfortably worn companions for years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it 23 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This book is very very good. I understand now why Bruce Sterling is considered to be a co-founder of the Cyberpunk movement. This book reminded me of Alfred Bester's "Tiger! Tiger!". Abelard Lindsay is the most exciting figure I have encountered since Gulliver Foyle. The book develops the schism between the humanities and the mechanics, both of them are leaving mankind behind. I wonder if C. P Snow thought of this when he wrote Two Cultures. Abundance of ideas presented in short, hard efficient prose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best SF novel of the last 20 years. Easily. 28 April 2000
By A Customer
The comments below say it all. It is a superb book; amazingly dense and quite difficult to parse on first reading, but it is truly worth perservering. As the novel progresses, the layers of extrapolation build up in complexity until you almost want Sterling to stop, but instead he just keeps accelerating. The last 50 or so pages are utterly mind-blowing. If there were a six star category, it would deserve it. I have read this book many times since it was first published.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing but compelling 14 July 1997
By A Customer
Not being well-read in the Science Fiction genre, there are quite a few allusions I am sure I missed throughout Sterling's Schismatric. Nevertheless, I found it a compelling book, due in large part to his constructed environments and the philosophy developed and bandied about by the characters. In addition, the characters (Lindsay, most importantly) had personalities which Sterling played with skillfully, giving a spin on the "nature vs. nurture" argument. For example, Lindsay, who is a person who has been structured through mind alteration and genetic breeding, is a personality with cunning charm and an adaptability to cultural and emotional clues in the people he is interacting with. Nevertheless, he has some moral imperative driving him, either through advancement of his own pleasure and security, the fulfillment of the needs he has as the person he has been constructed, or perhaps deep, deep down, past all the layers of biological manipulation, a "human" quest for seeing the "right" thing done. If that seems convoluted, then you are probably seeing a good example of the multiplicity of "future shock" ideas running through this book. Very intriguing.

His writing is great--solid and quite readable even when the ideas are not so easily grasped. The book falls down, though, when he relies on simple descriptions of the characters' clothing or the environments (perhaps thinking of how it might be picked up by a studio and translated to film?). The descriptions seem simplistic and almost petty reflected against the higher aims of the novel. Even if he is using these descriptions as some sort of eveidence towards semiotics in this future world, they still stand out as clunky and pandering to the Trekkies out there.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars For hard SF fans only
No SF writer has suffered more than Bruce Sterling from not being William Gibson. On the basis of this collection of stories and one novel, it's easy to see why. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Fletcher
1.0 out of 5 stars not for me
Bought it because Alastair Reynolds (top sf writer of the decade) recommended it, unfortunately I had to abandon reading it, even as the ideas are bright, it is utterly confusing... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Carl Peremans
4.0 out of 5 stars Post Humanism - the definitive volume
The most remarkable aspect of this fine piece of hard nosed science fiction writing is the fact Sterling manages to create in less than 300 pages a complex, multilayered future... Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2010 by Mr. Timothy W. Dumble
3.0 out of 5 stars Sundog millennium heirs
Sterling has an impressive imagination. He's created a rich, complex, and intriguing universe occupied by a range of so-called `posthumans', chief of whom are the Shapers and... Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2010 by sft
5.0 out of 5 stars Top stuff
Schismatrix and the allied mechanist/shaper stories rank as some of the best SF ever. I have recently re-read Schismatrix for about the fifth time over a period of about 15 years... Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great
Having read the Shaper/Mechanist stories in their paperback anthology form, I was familiar with the worlds amd mechanics of the cycle. Read more
Published on 14 Jun 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of Science Fiction
This epic is so powerful and amazing, it cannot be classed merely with other pieces of science fiction. Read more
Published on 11 Jun 1998
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