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Holy Fire

by Bruce Sterling

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0111715,661 (3.44)13
The 21st century is coming to a close, and the medical industrial complex dominates the world economy. It is a world of synthetic memory drugs, benevolent government surveillance, underground anarchists, and talking canine companions. Power is in the hands of conservative senior citizens who have watched their health and capital investments with equal care, gaining access to the latest advancements in life-extension technology. Meanwhile, the young live on the fringes of society, ekeing out a meagre survival on free, government-issued rations and a black market in stolen technological gadgetry from an earlier, less sophisticated age. Mia Ziemann is a 94-year-old medical economist who enjoys all the benefits of her position. But a deathbed visit with a long-ago ex-lover and a chance meeting with a young bohemian dress-designer brings Mia to an awful revelation. She has lived her life with such caution that it has been totally bereft of pleasure and adventure. She has one chance to do it all over. But first she must submit herself to a radical--and painful--experimental procedure which promises to make her young again. The procedure is not without risk and her second chance at life will not come without a price. But first she will have to escape her team of medical keepers. Hitching a ride on a plane to Europe, Mia sets out on a wild intercontinental quest in search of spiritual gratification, erotic revelation, and the thing she missed most of all: the holy fire of the creative experience. She joins a group of outlaw anarchists whose leader may be the man of her dreams...or her undoing.  Worst of all, Mia will have to undergo one last radical procedure that could cost her a second life. In Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling once again creates a unique and provocative future that deals with such timeless topics of the human condition as love, memory, science, politics, and the meaning of death. Poginant, lyrical, humorous, and often shocking, Holy Fire offers a hard unsparing look into a world that could become our own. From the Paperback edition.… (more)
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Just plain bad, from a writer I usually respect and enjoy. Couldn't finish. Not recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Jan 11, 2020 |
Long on ideas, short on story. ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
While Reading:

Struggling to find a character I can connect with. Maybe the dog. The "tech" of the science fiction is .. unique but being made to feel outdated, even by the story's standards. The whole story seems to be linked to an older brain, older generation. Maybe that's why I'm struggling. Will keep attempting for now...

-----

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book. None of the characters grab me... except maybe the dog. And the dog disappears after a couple pages. It is a story about later parts of life and how things happen. It covers someone in their 90s realizing they're old. And wanting change.

Maybe it doesn't set because I'm not nearing that age range or something...

Definitely leaning toward a dud book on this one. A shame, the writing isn't bad, but the story line just isn't catching...

The book moves so slow, that it takes 46 pages to get the first chapter complete and frankly, not much happens until the last four pages. I just can't find the energy to keep reading. Dropping this into the nice try pile and moving to my next book. ( )
  gilroy | Jan 9, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bruce Sterlingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dinyer,EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
隆, 小川Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warburton, HollyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Mia Ziemann needed to know what to wear at a deathbed.
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A marriage always seems such a good idea when you're about to commit one.
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The 21st century is coming to a close, and the medical industrial complex dominates the world economy. It is a world of synthetic memory drugs, benevolent government surveillance, underground anarchists, and talking canine companions. Power is in the hands of conservative senior citizens who have watched their health and capital investments with equal care, gaining access to the latest advancements in life-extension technology. Meanwhile, the young live on the fringes of society, ekeing out a meagre survival on free, government-issued rations and a black market in stolen technological gadgetry from an earlier, less sophisticated age. Mia Ziemann is a 94-year-old medical economist who enjoys all the benefits of her position. But a deathbed visit with a long-ago ex-lover and a chance meeting with a young bohemian dress-designer brings Mia to an awful revelation. She has lived her life with such caution that it has been totally bereft of pleasure and adventure. She has one chance to do it all over. But first she must submit herself to a radical--and painful--experimental procedure which promises to make her young again. The procedure is not without risk and her second chance at life will not come without a price. But first she will have to escape her team of medical keepers. Hitching a ride on a plane to Europe, Mia sets out on a wild intercontinental quest in search of spiritual gratification, erotic revelation, and the thing she missed most of all: the holy fire of the creative experience. She joins a group of outlaw anarchists whose leader may be the man of her dreams...or her undoing.  Worst of all, Mia will have to undergo one last radical procedure that could cost her a second life. In Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling once again creates a unique and provocative future that deals with such timeless topics of the human condition as love, memory, science, politics, and the meaning of death. Poginant, lyrical, humorous, and often shocking, Holy Fire offers a hard unsparing look into a world that could become our own. From the Paperback edition.

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