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The Ultimate Cyberpunk Mass Market Paperback – 8 May 2004


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Mass Market Paperback, 8 May 2004
£70.35 £0.02
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: ibooks Inc; New edition edition (8 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743486528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743486521
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 3 x 17.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,659,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pat Cadigan won the Arthur C. Clarke Award twice for her novels Synners and Fools. She has also won three Locus Awards-best short story for "Angel," best collection for Patterns, and best novelette for "The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi,", which also won the Hugo Award in the same category; it can be found in Edge of Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Most often identified as one of the original cyberpunk writers-the Guardian called her The Queen of Cyberpunk-her work includes fantasy, horror, young adult, and nonfiction. Born in New York, she grew up in Massachusetts but spent most of her adult life in the Kansas City area, where she worked for ten years at Hallmark Cards, Inc., writing greeting cards, often in perfect iambic pentameter. She now lives in gritty, urban north London with her husband, the Original Chris Fowler, and takes pride in the accomplishments of her son, musician and composer Robert Fenner.

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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Not strictly Cyberpunk, but a good read 19 Jan 2003
By sgtbuk1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Cadigan herself bemoans the "Ultimate" title of this book. But the stories inside are amazingly fresh, especially considering the copyright dates on some of them. I found it interesting to first, read the stories, and then turn to the beginning of the book to check the copyright date. The roots of the Cyberpunk literary movement are all here! I highly recommend it to true cyberfans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
"Not a manifesto" 24 Mar 2011
By J. Jonathan Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a good anthology of an SF subgenre whose death knell has been tolled many times before but never got around to kicking it. And that's a very good thing. There is much to like in this collection that Cadigan has cobbled together. It gathers the pivotal authors of the genre and shows off just how diverse the stories can be. No, not every cyberpunk narrative takes place in a gritty urban setting with characters in black pvc and technology that looks like it fell off a stealth bomber. Here are a few of the highlights:

Alfred Bester, "Fondly Farenheit"--an android and a dialogue between ego and superego? You make the call. A prototype for the genre that would be cyberpunk.

Philip K. Dick, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"--are memories as good as the real thing? This is a great entry by the legendary man of ideas that has none of the action movie tropes of its film version, Total Recall. Sorry Bernard, no Michael Ironside.

Rudy Rucker, "57th Franz Kafka"--a new take on The Metamorphosis. Disturbing and inscrutable, but did you expect anything else from Rucker?

William Gibson, "Burning Chrome"--fine work by the Master, a story of a cyberspace double-cross. Gibson could probably make a tuna salad recipe sound like science fiction.

Greg Bear, "Blood Music"--could be one of the more realistic of the collection. The time for this kind of nano-enhancement is upon us.

Lewis Shriner, "Till Human Voices Wake Us"--for me, this entry strays rather far afield from cyberpunk and enters the realm of biotech. But that's okay, it adds to the diversity of the collection.

John Shirley, "Freezone"--not much of a plot here, just Shirley taking us on a punky meandering through a dystopic future. And I loved it.

William Gibson and Michael Swanwick, "Dogfight"--twisty.

Bruce Sterling, "Green Days in Brunei"--probably my favorite and the most satisfying of the pieces. Strong and endearing characters. A world not too far removed from our own. A nice tale for illustrating the rise of the "developing world."

If I have any overall criticism of the stories, it has to do with style. Except for Gibson and Sterling, none of these writers compose with any thought to description. They just lay everything out there, violating that cardinal rule of literary writing, "show, don't tell." As I've grown sick of that phrase, I'm actually kind of ok with the so-called "transgression." But then I read the work of Gibson and his descriptions and phrasing absolutely blow me away, making the other stories look like amateur hour. Character development is another issue. Except for Bruce Sterling, the authors spend maybe a page on it. With protagonists so thin, it's difficult to cultivate much of an attachment to them, so you better hope the scientific principle that is being explored keeps you hanging on.
Oh and why Neal Stephenson wasn't included is beyond me. Maybe he's never written in the short form before. I don't know.
All in all, Ultimate Cyberpunk makes for fine reading. Plus, you get an 11-page insert of a "lost" comic book version of William Gibson's classic, Neuromancer. I've heard there is a film adaptation on the horizon. Let's hope not. The book is amazing but I just don't think it translates well to other media if this comic is any indication.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent examples of cyberpunk 29 Jun 2004
By Kevin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book's cyberpunk stories from the masters to the newest makes one appreciate such complete books in this high tech genre of science fiction as: "Mona Lisa Overdrive", "Neuromancer", "Cryptonomicon", "Snow Crash", "Cyber Hunter", and many more.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Useful Here 15 Jun 2004
By Jordan Stalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought about titling this review "Nothing New Here," but soon realized that I'd spend too much time defending the word choice. Of course there's nothing new in the book, it's an anthology. What I mean is that there is nothing to be gained from this book that cannot be gained from mirrorshades or any other Cyberpunk fiction collections that were released during the height of the movement in the mid to late 1980s.
My original review of the book mysteriously vanished. Here it is, resubmitted in hopes that it will remain this time.
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Pat Cadigan has developed a respectably lengthy body of work in the science fiction genre. She gained fame through her association with the Cyberpunk literary Movement of the 1980s and early 1990s. Despite her obvious involvement, she writes in her introduction to The Ultimate Cyberpunk that she is simply an "end-user" of the genre. This statement does little other than to nullify her authoritative claim in regard to selecting pieces for the anthology. Another curious observation she makes is that she feels that those who were in the "tribe" of the Cyberpunk Movement (hereafter CM) were of the same generation. Alfred Bester and Cordwainer Smith, whose stories Cadigan selected to appear at the front of the anthology, wrote the vast majority of their work years before the CM was even a vision. In fact, Smith died in 1966, during the height of the "hard SF" era of Heinlein, Asimov and Niven. Cadigan even explains that Bester was a source of inspiration for the 1960s Science Fiction New Wave, which explicitly disables him from being a part of the CM, especially when he, like James Tiptree, Jr. (also included in the anthology) died in 1987, when the CM was at its zenith. I suppose it isn't so far fetched to include Philip K. Dick who was arguably the most important and best known science fiction author, outside of Frank Herbert and Arthur C. Clarke. He was responsible for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982), after all. But Dick died in 1982, never knowing what was to come in his wake. Furthermore, if Rudy Rucker was truly a member of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and John Shirley's generation, why, then has he been referred to as a Grandfather of Cyberpunk, not unlike Dick?
Cadigan perhaps anticipates remarks such as mine, creating an artificial group of defendants, who claim that "Cyberpunk itself is hardly anything new (Cadigan x)." It is here that she justifies her inclusion of Bester and Smith and the other previous era's authors. While this might satisfy some critics, it does not provide a strong enough reason for me. If she wanted to create an anthology of the stories leading up to and directly or indirectly causing the CM, then she should have done that. If she wanted to create a history of the CM, something which, 10 years removed from the end of the literary aspect, she could have done quite easily, she should have done so. She ought not to have tried to do both. She even makes mention of the fact that "there is no point in reprinting most of Mirrorshades," though she reprints both of John Shirley's and Lewis Shiner's pieces.
One selection she makes that I do agree with is Greg Bear's "Blood Music". I felt that the story showcased Bear's Cyberpunk leanings much better than "Petra" did, which was included in Mirrorshades. Sadly, none of the late George Alec Effinger's work makes it into the anthology. Of all the Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk era science fiction I have read, nothing speaks clearer to the aims of the movement as clearly and loudly as Effinger's Marid Audran trilogy. Sadly, Effinger never gained critical or peer acclaim, and some of the most well read science fiction fans wear a puzzled face at the mention of his name.
As with every CM anthology published to date, this book expectantly falls in line with the blatant fanaticism over the work of William Gibson. While Burning Chrome is a decent story, and one of the few actual pieces of Cyberpunk stuff in the collection, I was confused as to why only the second part of the Neuromancer graphic novel was published. The publisher, ibooks, could have probably secured the rights to publishing the other pieces. Instead, they leave those unfamiliar with Gibson's lackluster flagship title scratching their temples, and irritate the veteran fans of the genre by splintering the story.
The ibooks publishing house has made a living out of playing upon the nostalgia-storing areas of the brain, hiring second string authors to finish up manuscripts written by the masters, or to create stories based upon the universes of the science fiction grandmasters. The Ultimate Cyberpunk is no exception. It fails as both a documentation of a literary movement, and as a standard anthology, as the stories are too far apart in their publication dates to have any sense of unification.
There isn't any point in repackaging Mirrorshades, That's undeniably true. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Cadigan tried to do here tried to do, riding the coattails of the Internet and technology boom, while simultaneously creating one more outlet for her own stories and those of her pals, Sterling and Gibson.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Some great tales, but a bad collection 30 April 2005
By John Kwok - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not sure why Pat Cadigan decided to edit yet another short story collection of cyberpunk and proto-cyberpunk. It certainly doesn't quite live up to the excellent literary quality found in the definitive collection "Mirrorshades" edited by Bruce Sterling or in William Gibson's "Burning Chrome" (Cadigan's collection reprints two stories from that volume, most notably the title story itself.). Nor does it try to explain exactly what the cyberpunk movement is or the origins behind it (For that, you should start with Larry McCaffrey's excellent edited volume of essays and short fiction, "Storming the Reality Studio".). But to her credit, she offers excellent fiction from the usual suspects, most notably Gibson, Sterling, Shirley and of course, herself. Notably absent is excellent short fiction from the likes of James Patrick Kelly, Neal Stephenson, Tom Maddox, or excerpts from the late George Alec Effinger's last notable body of work, a cyberpunk saga set in a politically resurgent Islamic Middle East. If you're interested in seeing some familiar examples of short cyberpunk fiction, then buy Cadigan's book. Otherwise, you're better off sticking with Sterling's anthologies and of course, Gibson's "Burning Chrome".
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