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    Review of BURNING CHROME by William Gibson (see his website)

    EOS, July 2003 (re-issue)

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Burning Chrome is a collection of ten short stories by cyber-punk innovator William Gibson, three of which are collaborations with other authors. It's an eclectic ride as a whole. There is no overriding theme that ties all of the stories together - they range from cyberpunk to surreal. Gibson's prose can be very poetic and he does an excellent job of setting the mood in each story. Even when his characters aren't very likeable, you can still identify with their emotions.

    "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.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 1/14/04

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