Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Holy Fire (Bantam Spectra Book) by Bruce…

Holy Fire (Bantam Spectra Book) (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Bruce Sterling

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
889149,938 (3.54)10
Title:Holy Fire (Bantam Spectra Book)
Authors:Bruce Sterling
Info:Spectra (1997), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling (1996)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I've kinda always regarded Bruce Sterling as something of a wanna-be William Gibson, and I *do* like Gibson's stuff better - but this is a pretty good cyberpunk book.
Mia Ziemann, a careful, cautious and rather stuffy old woman in a future mainly controlled by the old, signs up for an experimental rejuvenation treatment which not only gives her the appearance of a gorgeous 20-year-old, but causes a radical personality shift as well... soon she's running away from her medical staff, and making her way through a kaleidoscope of radical friends and lovers - the disillusioned, the disenfranchised, artists and hoodlums, anarchists and junkies....

The book manages to both incorporate a host of hilarious details, and meditate seriously on issues of youth vs. age, power vs. the lack thereof, and the nature of true artistic inspiration....
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Mia Ziemann is 93, but looks thirty thanks to advances in medical technology and living life very carefully. The world has survived a prolonged bout of plague and disease, and a significant portion of the global economy is devoted to keeping people alive and healthy for as long as possible, an interval that is growing all the time. After a radical new treatment gives her the appearance of a twenty year old, Mia experiences side effects which appear to give her the mind of a twenty year old, too, and in a sort of fugue state, she ditches the paraphernalia that is carefully monitoring her every move and takes off for Europe. There she encounters a typically Sterlingian cast of drop-outs, thieves, artists, intellectuals, bohemians and radicals. These are the young in a world dominated by the old and the rich. Stifled and coddled by a society made utterly safe but with no way to compete with or replace the dominant gerontocracy, the young foment and plan and strive to make their own stamp on the world.

This is a thoughtful, mature, ultimately moving novel about creating art and rebellion in a society where everything seems wrapped in cotton wool, where the only thing to rebel against is the indifference of those in power and where the people may not be human anymore, and therefore no longer capable of creating art. It's stuffed with big ideas and, unlike a lot of the books that came out of the cyberpunk movement, seems as relevant today as when it was first published. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
As always, I find Sterling to be one of the most prophetic writers of our times. This book describes how man will break through the age barrier, and begin his ascent into immortality. Scary to think, but this will all one day become true in one form or another. A must read for all cyberpunk fans of Sterling. A writer who dares to guess our future just 50 years out. And without surprise-- who turns out to be right! ( )
  sgarnell | Jul 10, 2012 |
Holy Fire is a fascinating story about the social changes caused by readily available rejuvenation technology. By the end of the 21st century it is possible to be active and working well into your second century and rejuvenation techniques are getting better every year, but although bodies can be rejuvenated attitudes can not and the rejuvenated old, known as posthumans, are very different from the truly young. The world is a gerontocracy, with all money and power in the hands of the old, while the disenfranchised young are treated dismissively and patronisingly by the old, almost as if they are pets. The young have all the imagination and inspiration but live in a cash economy, unable to get hold of 'real money' (i.e. investable currency) or make progress in their chosen careers, since the old no longer make room for them by retiring.

Mia found herself in an architect's office. There was a big desk in simulated woodgrain, and painfully gleaming brass lamps, and algorithmic swirls of simulated marble. The chairs were puffy, overstuffed, and swaddingly comfortable. Old people's chairs. They were the kind of chairs that top-flight furniture designers had begun making back in the 2070s, when furniture designers suddenly realized that very old people possessed all the money in the world, and that from now on very old people were going to have all the money until the end of time.

The posthumans are set in their ways and exceedingly cautious with their health, since medical records are available for all to see, and the best upgrades are only available to those who have taken good care of themselves. This is the story of what happens when one of them, 93-year-old Californian medical economist Mia Ziemann undergoes a radical new upgrade technique which seems to make her truly young again. Escaping from medical supervision during her convalescence, she rejects her old life and name, running away to Europe to hide as an illegal within the vivid subcultures of the young.

When Maya saw the raw shots on Novak's notebook screen, she was elated and appalled. Elated because he had made her so lovely. Appalled because Novak's fantasy was so revelatory. He'd made her a bewitching atavism, a subterranean queen of illicit chic for a mob of half-monstrous children. Novak's glamour was a lie that told a truth.

I liked the postcanines, talking dogs with artificially augmented intelligence that can work as anything from bouncers to chat-show hosts, and for some reason the idea of having bean-bag seats on trains and aeroplanes really appealed to me. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 15, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bruce Sterlingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dinyer,EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warburton, HollyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Mia Ziemann needed to know what to wear at a deathbed.
A marriage always seems such a good idea when you're about to commit one.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 055357549X, Paperback)

In an era when life expectancies stretch 100 years or more and adhering to healthy habits is the only way to earn better medical treatments, ancient "post humans" dominate society with their ubiquitous wealth and power. By embracing the safe and secure, 94-year-old Mia Ziemann has lived a long and quiet life. Too quiet, as she comes to realize, for Mia has lost the creative drive and ability to love--the holy fire--of the young. But when a radical new procedure makes Mia young again, she has the chance to break free of society's cloying grasp.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the 21st Century, suffering and illness have been banished as everything from food to education is free, but boredom still plagues mankind. So after undergoing an operation to rejuvenate herself by 75 years, Mia Ziemman travels to Prague to join bohemians seeking meaning in life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
9 avail.
13 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.54)
0.5 2
1 3
2 15
2.5 7
3 45
3.5 18
4 51
4.5 9
5 25

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,798,915 books! | Top bar: Always visible