- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (July 29 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060539828
- ISBN-13: 978-0060539825
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 322 g
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #166,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Burning Chrome Paperback – Jul 29 2003
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About the Author
William Gibson’s first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award, and the Nebula Award in 1984. He is credited with having coined the term “cyberspace,” and having envisioned both the Internet and virtual reality before either existed. His other novels include All Tomorrow’s Parties, Idoru, Virtual Light, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and Count Zero. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two children.
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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].
"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.
The Sprawl series, prefacing his first three novels (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) are the clearest standouts in this collection, even though I thought "Johnny Mnemonic" tried to do too much in too little space. "New Rose Hotel" and "Burning Chrome" are absolute classics of cyberpunk, moreso than most books that find their way into the genre.
"The Gernsback Continuum" is uncommonly lighthearted for Gibson, and whether or not you believe Bruce Sterling's comments in the introduction, it's a great story. It's barely science fiction, but since the "cyberpunk" label was invented after Gibson's debut, this isn't surprising.
Gibson's collaboration with John Shirley, "The Belonging Kind", is also incredible. It's interesting to try to figure out each writer's influence. Like the previous story, it's more surreal than scientific.
"Fragments of a Hologram Rose" and "The Winter Market" are fantastic stories that combine complex plots, characters, and romance with vivid near-future settings. These are some of the most powerful statements of the effects of technology on humanity in any field of literature.
All of these are intense stories; the only real problem is there aren't more of them. It saddens me that Gibson slowed down his writing after "Neuromancer" - the sequels never measured up to the original, and his later books were like diluted versions of his earlier work.
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