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Burning Chrome by William Gibson

Burning Chrome (original 1986; edition 1986)

by William Gibson

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Title:Burning Chrome
Authors:William Gibson
Info:Ace Books (1986), Mass Market Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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Burning Chrome by William Gibson (1986)

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    electronicmemory: Sci-fi stories that play almost on the edge of fantasy with odd abilities, time-line twists, and high-stakes heists.

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English (27)  Romanian (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Hippies have known about these dangerous technologies for a long time, and the state cracks down hard on them, and not entirely without good reason either. The world cannot run (for long anyway) on raves and drugs and loud music, any fool can see that. There is also a false economy in these supposedly 'efficient' economies, because if you run a sustainable event and people attend your event in a car, you can wave goodbye to any benefits you might have yielded from the technology itself. The ubiquity of the car, and all the other rampant wasteful consumerism which often surrounds an event, cripples your efforts right from the off. This thinking is very much in a fledgling stage and has a long way to develop before it could be said to be anything more than purely experimental, but experiment we must. The fact is that, if the idea of travelling long distances in cars and trains was not such a common and necessary element of the process of doing things, then the sheer requirement of fleshing out our world with meaningful and worthwhile experiences to make the drudgery of contributing to the whole process all worthwhile, would be extremely low on impact and high on output.

I'm not kidding when I say we're talking about a euro's worth of gear and a euro's worth of electric to cater to the bulk of the needs of a thousand people, and I would gladly break down the math behind that if necessary. Of course when something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. I mean, clearly everyone has different tastes and needs and requirements in life, and I raise just one very specific example of an absurdity that I'm intimately familiar with. But the same is true across every area of experience you can possibly imagine, and while there are some experiences which are fundamentally wasteful and unsustainable, and I don't believe it could ever be possible (without the sort of post-apocalyptic future predicted by Gibson) to take away people's freedoms to do that, it is on the other hand perfectly practical and reasonable to develop and support alternative experiences that would lead people away from the ones which are wasteful, by simply being: better, cheaper, more enjoyable, more accessible, more deep and rich and diverse a set of experiences, and so on.

We can predict the potential for this with scientific accuracy in much the same way as Gibson has predicted so much of the recent development in the tech world in the same way. Like Gibson’s “Count Zero”, I base what I'm suggesting by observing people's behaviour when exposed to certain forms of technology and experience. That's not to say any of this is inevitable, because it represents such a radical departure away from what there is at present, and there is very little credible work existing in the literature - academic or fiction - to support the idea of a future that moves in that direction.

To make things even harder, there are a good deal of historical incidences of where that way of thinking has failed spectacularly or simple led in a direction that either couldn't work out long term due to its aggressive and hateful attitudes towards the establishment, or due to the aggressive and hateful attitudes of the establishment towards it (and it's usually a case of 'six of one, half a dozen of the other'), like the travellers movement and rave culture of the 80's and early 90's.

The reliance on road vehicles and unwarranted land occupation to sustain the process are the two biggest stumbling blocks to progress, so I devote my thinking to working around that problem. I think it would be more logical to claim that William Gibson back then, imagined future technologies through his work and they have informed and inspired digital inventors and inventions. However, even that would overlook the cycle of technological development. Science informs SF literature and vice-versa. Those claims above, suggest science and SF writing occur within vacuums independent of one another.

SF = Speculative Fiction. ( )
  antao | Sep 21, 2018 |
collection of early short stories that includes his first published story, three stories set in The Sprawl (Johnny Mnemonic, New Rose Hotel, and the brilliant Burning Chrome), and three collaborations (with John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, and Michael Swanwick). reread. still great stuff. Burning Chrome especially is amazing, it's odd that nobody's ever tried to make a movie out of that story. but they're all excellent, including the three collaborations. these stories read as freshly today as they did when they first came out - every last detail sears into the brain and changes the world it describes. and they don't date at all. ( )
  macha | Sep 15, 2018 |
On the final page of the final story – the title story – Gibson envisions a possible future for prostitution.

The customers are torn between needing someone and wanting to be alone at the same time, which has probably always been the name of that particular game, even before we had the neuroelectronics to enable them to have it both ways.

It struck me how much reading books satisfies the same urge: wanting to be alone and needing someone at the same time.

Burning Chrome's 10 stories are populated by Gibson’s usual kind of characters, and deal with Gibson’s usual themes – although I probably shouldn’t make a sweeping statement like that, as I’ve only read two Gibson novels so far: Neuromancer & Virtual Light. Those two reading experiences weren’t fully successful, but reading this collection was, 100%.

The stories were published between 1977 and 1986, and are rather short: about 15 pages each, and not one of them above 30 pages. They fly by like a breeze, snappy, in prose that’s top notch. Here’s Gibson – in the voice of a photographer – on some building:

I shot one in San Jose an hour before the bulldozers arrived and drove right through the structural truth of plaster and lathing and cheap concrete.

That sentence alone should convince you.


Full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Dec 4, 2016 |
Classic collection of short stories. ( )
  richardross79 | Jun 1, 2016 |
What I really loved was not the cyber-punky coolness, but rather the sensory details. Gibson has an incredibly descriptive style. Many years later, I still remember the story about meeting a girl with an exoskeleton at a party. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Gibsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shirley, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swanwick, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arconada, JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berry, RickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonnefoy, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferreira Ramos, JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heinz, ReinhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsh, GaryCover Imagerysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, Jeffrey K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, Jeffrey K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robert, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterling, BrucePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vietor, MarcNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
To Otey Williams Gibson, my mother, and to Mildred Barnitz, her true dear friend and mine, with love.
First words
Johnny Mnemonic: I put the shot gun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiking for: If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude.
The Gernsback Continuum: Mercifully, the whole thing is starting to fade, to become an episode.
Fragments of a hologram rose: That summer Parker had trouble sleeping.
The belonging kid: It might have been in Club Justine, or Jimbo's, or Sad Jack's, or the Rafters; Coretti could never be sure where he'd first seen her.
Hinterlands: When Hiro hit the switch, I was dreaming of Paris, dreaming of wet, dark streets in winter.
... but the street finds its own uses for things.
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Alt Title - TechnopunkSF was publish in English as Burning Chrome.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060539828, Paperback)

Ten brilliant, streetwise, high-resolution stories from the man who coined the word cyberspace. Gibson's vision has become a touchstone in the emerging order of the 21st Century, from the computer-enhanced hustlers of Johnny Mnemonic to the technofetishist blues of Burning Chrome. With their vividly human characters and their remorseless, hot-wired futures, these stories are simultaneously science fiction at its sharpest and instantly recognizable Polaroids of the postmodern condition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Sci-fi short stories.

(summary from another edition)

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