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Deserted Cities of the Heart by Lewis Shiner
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Deserted Cities of the Heart (original 1988; edition 1989)

by Lewis Shiner

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171369,515 (3.48)2
Member:brianeisley
Title:Deserted Cities of the Heart
Authors:Lewis Shiner
Info:Bantam Books (1989), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction

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Deserted Cities of the Heart by Lewis Shiner (1988)

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*note to self. Copy from A.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the end of the world in 2012 based on the Mayan calendar ending it’s last cycle. In Deserted Cities of the Heart, Lewis Shiner was ahead of the game when he wrote in 1988! As the Indians in the book say, the end of the world has to start some place.

Deserted Cities is something like you’d get if you mixed Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan, with Burroughs/Ginsburg’s The Yage Letters, and a bit of Paddy Chayefsky’s Altered States thrown in. Deserted Cities is about rock star Eddie Yates who disappears from public life. With the help on an Indian shaman he discovers a psychedelic mushroom that sends you on a literal trip, it will take you to the past. Your past, or to the ancient Mayan past. Eddie is followed by his brother Thomas Yates who is an anthropologist and Eddie’s ex-wife, Lindsey who try to rescue Eddie from self-destruction. It‘s a story of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, time travel, Mexican revolutionaries, and the Mayan end of days.

Shiner’s early novels have been described as cyberpunk, whose best known adherent is William Gibson. I’m don’t really understand the label in this case. Deserted Cities is a well written pretty traditionally formatted novel. The action cinematically, ramping up the action for a climatic ending.

Deserted Cities is Shiner’s second novel. It was originally published in 1988. Although it uses the political situation in the plot, none of the story or action feels dated. I guess the more politics changes, the more it stays the same. With the talk of the end of the world in 2012 courtesy of the Mayan calendar it’s a good time for a republication of Deserted Cities. If you’ve read a lot of Shiner’s later novels, as I have, it’s interesting to see his subconscious already working with some common elements, a time traveling protagonist whose trips to the past aren’t very healthy for him, disappearing rock stars, Jimi Hendrix, which are precursors of his later works such as Glimpses. In using these elements you can see the evolution of Shiner as a writer. ( )
  JimCherry | Jan 1, 2010 |
Pretty good book ... involves hallucinogenic mushrooms, Mayan religion, etc., w/modern-day (late 1980s) Mexican revolution ... terrible, terrible ending though. ( )
  KromesTomes | Dec 27, 2006 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis Shinerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Annas, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hickson, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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An anthropologist and his alienated brother reunite in a Mexico torn apart by earthquakes and revolution to reenact an ancient Mayan myth of the end of the world in this surrealistic fantasy.

(summary from another edition)

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