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City Come a Walkin' (Axoplasm Books) Paperback – 14 Dec 2000

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Paperback, 14 Dec 2000
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press Inc; 2 Reissue edition (14 Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568581912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568581910
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,780,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Gibson wrote, "John Shirley was cyberpunk's Patient Zero, first locus of the virus, certifiably virulent." - and if Gibson gives an author his stamp of approval (in such livewired prose!) then sure, lots of us are going to want to read this book. 'City Come a Walkin' is high energy, it's fun to read and holds your attention - but it also falls into pretty much *all* the traps of later cyberpunk. The characters are mere ciphers, the author's trying really hard to be cool (he's writing about nightclubs, a rock singer, and San Francisco as an "amoral superhero"), and it just never quite convinces. Shirley's world remains a little too simple for my tastes, a little crudely drawn and reliant on ultra-noir tropes. But that may or may not matter to you as a reader - I for one was really really excited by the idea of a sentient, embodied city (what a metaphor!) and read 'City Come a Walkin' to see what Shirley could do with that. It's also really interesting to see where cyberpunk started out, and thus to be able to observe its development as a genre. Worth buying if you're a cyberpunk fan, then, and out of curiosity and for Gibson's short but brilliant (hilarious?) foreword. That's three reasons, should be enough!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "City Come A-Walkin' " 4 April 2000
By B. Shirley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For those of you that don't know john shirley, he is the father of Cyberpunk...a master of it. his novel, city come a-walkin', is one of my favorites, telling the story of a club owner who is visited by a representation of a city , in the form of a man. i highly recomend this book for those who are into dark, funny novels...
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The parameters of urban morality 31 Jan. 2001
By Mac Tonnies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Shirley's early novel "City Come A Walkin'" takes us on a surreal (and frequently brutal) jaunt through a near-future San Fransisco where the city's overmind has the ability to manifest as a mirrorshades-wearing techno-shaman with a marked dislike for bad guys. The brilliance and terror behind this straight-forward tale is Shirley's refreshing refusal to cling to genre conceits. "City Come A Walkin'" challenges the nature of identity as well as the parameters of urban morality.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique... 9 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the most unique concept I've come across. The idea of a the city's consciousness manifesting itself is fresh and interesting. It's hard to believe this title is as old as it is. It seems like recently written cyberpunk. Pretty obvious that instead, all other cyberpunk has taken from it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NeoLiberal Nightmare 14 Mar. 2010
By Edith Wharton II - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
City Come a Walkin' should be a neoliberal nightmare. The big banks, run by the mob, have displaced the government in the United States (no other country is mentioned). Digital credit, manipulated by the banks, has superseded money, which is all but banned. The final usurpation of power and the consolidation of a new criminal cartel is being plotted by mob bosses in the major cities of the nation. The corporatized criminals - the Mafioso-bankers - work in clandestine conjunction with culturally right-wing vigilantes, who brutally repress alternative forms of popular expression from pop concerts to prostitution. (Sound familiar?) Cities and their populations have been ravaged by the mob and their fascist conspirators. The venal destruction of the rich historic urban texture of the old is brilliantly contrasted to the enervating banality of the new.

Those who love urban life and who constitute its originality are represented in the novel respectively by Stu Cole, a hard-bitten classic noir individualist and club owner and his star performer Catz Wailen. Both use their particular geniuses to resist the irresistible cultural depredations of the mob. The most memorable character of the novel is, however, City. City is the reified psyche of San Francisco's population, the personification the city's communal angst. It is the city come to life. City, manifesting himself to Cole on a television explains himself: "A TV is a media outlet for the city. A neuron in my brain. The means I use to transfer the image from video to electron-patterns, bring it through the wires and feed it into you TV--it's a form of telekinesis. Manipulating electronics with thought. At night I have the power in every cerebral battery in the city. A brain stores electricity. I can tap in, when they sleep. During the day I have only the power of those who sleep in the day--far fewer, so I am limited. Though I'm bolstered by people watching TV, since that's a form of sleeping. I'm the sum total of the unconscious cognition of every brain in the city. And I'm Rufe Roscoe [the mob's CEO], too--I'm his self-hatred." (58)

The human characters of the novel are moral creatures: the protagonists are moral, the villain is immoral. In contrast, City, like the population from which he draws his life, is amoral. He acts, often savagely and indiscriminately, only in his own interests, in defense of the creative diversity that sustains urban life. Shirley's story is compelling not because of the plot and only partially because of the pace and grittiness of his writing. It is powerful because of its uncanny evocation of the dangers that affect the cities we love to inhabit.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There Goes the Neighborhood 9 Sept. 2008
By Tanstaafl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Literally! What a book. In itself it's not scary - but its implications are terrorizing. William Gibson wrote the Forward in the edition I read - acknowledging Shirley's primary influence on cyberpunk. This is an early book of his, but while some of the writing is rough, the thoughts he puts to paper are powerful.

Other reviews will tell you about the book (the Amazon description is horrible). There are three main characters. The interaction and flow among them is very fascinating. I couldn't wait for the book to end so I could know how Shirley tied up the loose ends; I didn't want the book to end because I was having so much fun.

If you enjoy reflecting on a book after you have read it, then this is a very good catalyst. I heartily recommend it.
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