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Burning Chrome

by William Gibson

ISBN 0060539828 / 9780060539825 / 0-06-053982-8
Publisher Harper Voyager
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

When "Burning Chrome," the title story in William Gibson's first short story collection, appeared, it grabbed readers by the collar and shook them up a bit. Science fiction in the late '70s had grown a little bit stale and, worse, safe. "Burning Chrome" offered a fresh look at a future that was gritty, real, and more than a little dangerous. These stories brought high tech out of antiseptic university laboratories and corporate boardrooms and put it in the streets and alleyways where people found their own uses for it. Sometimes those uses were even legal.

The philosophy of cyberpunk, the movement that Gibson's early books kicked off, is most explicitly stated in "The Gernsbach Continuum," with its rejection of the '30s ideal of a future of flying cars and shining cities. But the real meat of this collection is found in those stories where Gibson involves us with the people who inhabit his world. The technical boy of "Johnny Mnemonic" and the thief-turned-game-player of "Dogfight" (cowritten with Michael Swanwick) would be right at home on the same streets. Most intense and more enigmatic is the recording engineer of "The Winter Market," who is overwhelmingly attracted to and repulsed by the greatest artist he ever worked with. Still, "Burning Chrome," with its tale of vengeance and high-stakes theft, remains the centerpiece of this collection. Read it and you will know why William Gibson became and remains one of the top writers in science fiction. --Greg L. Johnson [via]