on 1 October 2013
Victoria Blake's "Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Revolution and Evolution" is both a history as well as a contemporary exploration of where Cyberpunk exists within speculative fiction. It is a history in the sense that includes such genuine classics as William Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic" and Pat Cadigan's elegant, and lyrical, "Rock On", as well as John Shirley's later, still memorable, "Wolves of the Plateau". It is also a statement as to where the cyberpunkish strain of speculative fiction exists in the present, with relatively new stories from the likes of Daniel H. Wilson ("The Nostalgist"), Cory Doctorow ("When Sysadmins Rule the Earth") and Paul DiFilippo ("Life in the Antropocene"). The most surprising tales included in this collection is a mid 2000s cyberpunk tale written by Jonathan Lethem ("Interview with the Crab" and Kim Stanley Robinson's "Down and Out in the Year 2000" written back in the mid 1980s as a literary critique of cyberpunk's obsession with "the street", that surprisingly, could be seen as one predicting the advent of the Occupy Movement. Overall, the collection's literary collection is uneven in quality, and one that should be noted for not including a brilliant literary stylist like Michael Swanwick, recognized too by many as one of the pioneers of cyberpunk fiction. Those interested in reading a truly memorable cyberpunk short story collection should look instead at Bruce Sterling's "Mirrorshades", merely to see why it was so compelling a literary movement and one whose influence still endures within speculative fiction.
on 1 February 2014
I'm definitely glad I bought it, and it was worth the price, but some of the stories were rather weak (one in particular was pretty dire), and some were not exactly what I would call cyberpunk. On the whole though, it's worth a read.