Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-09-19
- Reviewer: Staff
The high-tech stories in cyberpunk doyen Sterling’s sixth collection (after 2006’s Visionary in Residence) are actually the less innovative ones. Sterling plays with ideas that readers of technology and science fiction blogs will quickly recognize, such as the decaying suburbs of “White Fungus” and 3D printers transforming the economy in “Kiosk.” The gothic elements are far more intriguing, including the Italian businessman of “Esoteric City,” whose life coach and business advisor is an undead Egyptian, and the craftsman who lives on a biomechanical, world-sized AI in “The Lustration.” The spooky and the futuristic meet successfully in the haunting “Black Swan,” set in an alternate world where Italo Calvino was a physicist and Nicolas Sarkozy is something far scarier than the president of France. Some targets of Sterling’s satire are too obvious, and many characters are little more than authorial mouthpieces, given to pronouncements like “Possessions are over! They are data!” Nonetheless, his highly caffeinated energy is hard to resist. (Jan.)