Burning Chrome Hardcover – Aug 1 1986
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In his enthusiastic description of the '30s and '40s "moderne" style of industrial design (featured in one of these stories), Gibson might be writing about his own work: "The change was only skin-deep; under the streamlined chrome shell, you'd find the same Victorian mechanism . . . . It was all a stage set, a series of elaborate props for playing at living in the future." That dexterous, shallow artifice has won Gibson awards and fervent fans (especially for his first novel, Neuromancer but beneath it is something old, worn and tired. Thus "Johnny Mnemonic," whose body computer stores secret information, is just a variation of Mr. Memory from The 39 Steps. Gibson's gangsters, corrupt industrialists, young techies and lowlifes eager to belong to any in-group that will have them, are cliches without conviction. This weak collection of 10 short stories seems to have been rushed out to cash in on Gibson's current popularity. Paperback rights to Berkley.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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i put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. Read the first page
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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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].
All in all, fans of Gibson's other works or fans of cyberpunk in general will find this anthology immensely rewarding.
"Johnny Mnemonic", "New Rose Hotel" and "Burning Chrome" are written in the same "Sprawl" setting as many of Gibson's novels. They are sharp and explosive cyberpunk stories that grab your attention and run. "The Gernsback Continuum" and "The Belonging Kind" are trips through what could be present day America with surreal twists. "Red Star, Winter Orbit", written with Bruce Sterling, is the poignant tale of an aging Russian cosmonaut on an equally aging space station. "Hinterlands" is an eerie view of how far humans will go to satisfy the need for progress and exploration. "Fragments of a Hologram Rose", "The Winter Market" and "Dogfight" are powerful studies of emotion, need, and what it means to be human.
Overall, I enjoyed Burning Chrome. Gibson's writing style is fun to read - he can establish mood and atmosphere in a few short sentences. I also like that he uses technology as a means not an end - the focus in the stories is how people interact with each other and technology intstead of showcasing what a cool idea a particular future technology would be. His stories tend to deal with the grittier side of human nature, and are not always comfortable to read, but they make you think.
Most recent customer reviews
This books shows the range of the writer. making it clear he can incorperate technology into various theams and plots from the simple, red star orbit. to the rose continum. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by deth Okay
All of the stories in this brief collection were astounding. Never very involved with hard science, opting more for dark, intense noir shaded by futuristic technology, Gibson... Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by R. Sundquist
Look I know this book has a new cover, well it's had a few, the one I read had a different cover to the old mass market paperback too. Read morePublished on Aug. 31 2003 by Rachael Ekaf
A lot of people who read Gibson bash his writing because of the superficial nature of his characters. They're missing the point. Read morePublished on July 10 2003
I rather enjoyed this collection of stories, although I think Neuromancer is still his best work. I keep rereading it because everytime I see Johnny Mnemonic on TV, I want wipe... Read morePublished on June 12 2003 by P. Callaway
This is the worst collection of short stories ever written. William Gibson invented the word Cyberspace and it seems he is at a rush to use it so he can tell the people who publish... Read morePublished on May 12 2003 by James N Simpson
William Gibson's creative genius shines through in this collection of short stories which hold much more variation and much more bold innovation than most of his novels. Read morePublished on April 30 2003 by Christopher M. Jones