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"It was hot the night we burned Chrome." With that sentence in the 1982 short story Burning Chrome, author William Gibson helped pioneer cyberpunk. Although Gibson is better known for the 1984 novel Neuromancer, it was his story "Burning Chrome" that coined the term cyberspace, changing how we look at computers and the virtual world. Both Neuromancer and Burning Chrome are among the stories and novels set in Gibson’s “Sprawl,” gritty urban areas that have survived economic collapse and wars and set the tone for other writers to follow.
In this collection of short stories, science fiction takes a left turn. With almost detective/noir styling, Gibson takes us into a computerized near-future world with hologram hobbyists (“Dogfight”), or a near-future world that used to exist (“The Gernsback Continuum”), or a world of secret life-forms that exist alongside of us, hidden (“The Belonging Kind”). Several of these stories are set in the same cyberpunk universe as the groundbreaking novel “Neuromancer” and its sequels. Like those novels, these short stories may seem a little too dense at first read; but understanding comes as they are read together. By the middle of the book, the reader realizes: this is fun stuff.
An interesting mix of stories, but I can't say that I thought any of them to be outstanding. I've never read any of Gibson's work before, and while the stories are interesting, they weren't really my thing.
Many of the stories contained herein are outstanding. I am just not a compilation book person however, I do enjoy short story. Just not in a compilation format. Worth your time -
Canadian author William Gibson started out sci-fi (He coined the term "cyberpunk."), but his more recent novels like "Spook Country" have more in common with the cutting edge paranoid style of DeLillo and Pynchon, while Ballard also feels like a big influence. This collection, introduced by both Gibson and Bruce Sterling, includes some of his earliest writing and features collaborations with John Shirley, Sterling, and Michael Swanwick. "Johnny Mnemoic" would be the basis for a pretty bad Keanu Reeves that, nonetheless, felt like a warm-up for "The Matrix."
William Gibson's collection of short stories found in Burning Chrome is an excellent and thought provoking experience. His densely informative writing style should be read slower than normal so as to savour everything being given to the reader. Burning Chrome itself shows the origins of 'the Matrix', used by the Wachowski brothers in their epic cinematic trilogy. A perfect place to start for those wishing to become familiar with cyberpunk literature. I decided to read this as a lead up to Gibson's Sprawl trilogy which includes the famous Neuromancer. Highly recommended for all fans of science ficition.