Burning Chrome Paperback – 27 Nov 1995
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‘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’
‘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’
A collection of masterful short fiction from the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Award-winning author of NEUROMANCER. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
All of the short stories contained are excellent. However, my favorites are all of the three Sprawl ones: JOHNY MNEMONIC, NEW ROSE HOTEL and BURNING CHROME; at par is the Soviet retro (nowadays) HINTERLANDS.
Never before or since have I came upon comparable poetic dreamscapes of futuristic noir dystopia. The images are so concentrated they just burst from the reader's mind to create a detailed alternative reality. And it is not that the Novels are diluted - they are just more of the good stuff!
My advice: read BURNING CHROME *AFTER* the famous trilogy (Neuromancer,Count Zero,Mona Lisa Overdrive. They will help you understand the precursor ideas for the rich atmospheric world that followed.
[Do not watch the NEW ROSE HOTEL movie. Do so for JOHNY MNEMONIC neither. They do no justice to these literature gems].
Four of the most developed stories are the Hinterlands which takes you to a world where humans face first contact and where they are trying to deal with the consequences, Red Star Winter Orbit about the final days of a Russian Space Station, Dogfight about a challenger to a veteran video game fighter and Burning Chrome about hackers taking down a gangland leader.
But for me the best two stories are The Winter Market and New Rose Hotel. New Rose Hotel is about corporate power struggles between different zaibatsu and how they play their cyber games. The Winter Market is about creating a cyber-superstar and her rise and fall, her addictions and her dreams. These are both very powerful stories that take you deep into Gibson's future world.
For anyone who loves Gibson's work these are a must have, but for new reader perhaps it is better to start with the longer books as in the short format it can be hard to understand his descriptions and the images that he uses. They are hard technically if you have never read him before.
The book reviewed here is a collection of ten short stories, including his first published story Fragments of a Hologram Rose from 1977.
Gibson's style has been described as "a combination of low-life and high-tech". This collection shows how perceptive he can be in observing both. Gibson doesn't just use technology as a back-drop or to provide props; he considers the effects that developments in technology might have upon individuals and societies. In Johnny Mnemonic for example a character explains:--
"We're an information economy. They teach you that at school. What they don't tell you is that it's impossible to move, to live, to operate at any level without leaving traces, bits, seemingly meaningless fragments of personal information. Fragments that can be retrieved, amplified."
Gibson describes also the detail of low-life settings. In this collection there are very good descriptions of different types of bars in The Belonging Kind. He paints portraits of different characters, Deke in Dogfight, Lese in The Winter Market, with different colours and shades.
Ultimately, however, he extrapolates from a mass (or media) consciousness of the present. Gibson has interesting things to say but he is not a prophet. The future will not be the same as his stories. The Soviet Union has not dominated space research (as in Red Star, Winter Orbit), in fact it no longer exists. Many future developments will derive not from mass actions or popular consciousness, but from the work of "outsiders". Instead of looking just at what is now considered "central", perhaps he should view what is emerging at the edge....
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