Reviews

Burning Chrome by William Gibson

andrew_corduroy's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot

3.75

sean86's review

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challenging sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

vayeate's review

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fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

1.0

Right....well....uuughhhh....the most memorable stories were the Burning Chrome itself and Red Star, Winter Orbit. I am not saying there were good, I am saying that I still kind of remember them after finishing the book.
This book is not my cup of cyberpunk.

amberalvarez's review

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challenging medium-paced

2.5

heathcliff_burton's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

mdpenguin's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

This collection was a mixed bag, but the good stories were very good and made it worth reading.

Johnny Mnemonic - 3.5 stars - This was kind of raw and it shows that it was an early work. It's not bad and there are some interesting things in it, but the story and the way it plays out is kind of basic. Probably the only thing that might stick with me from it is the killing floor just because I like the idea of a suspended floor made out of loads of junk strung together and outfitted with pickups and set to work with a drum synthesizer. Things like the human storage and the talking dolphin weren't really that interesting to me in 2024, though I might have been more impressed by it in the 20th century. Molly Millions was interesting, but only because she was already fleshed out a bit for me in Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive.

The Gernsback Continuum – 3 stars – This was more or less a critique of futurist architecture and the culture behind it. It was more interesting than enjoyable and, though the frame story of a photographer hired to photograph it isn't bad, I think that it would work better as a straight-up essay.

Fragments of a Hologram Rose – 2.25 – This was a bunch of ideas kind of thrown together into something barely coherent. It's not that the story didn't make sense, but it didn't manage to make the various elements that it included mesh into something whole. There was just too much involved – e.g. the California secession, indentured servitude, a failed romance, Apparent Sensory Perception devices – but not enough ink devoted to any of them to understand how they impact the protagonist or the world the story takes place in.

The Belonging Kind – 5 stars – I really liked this one. It did a good job of expressing alienation and the desire to belong through a story filled with mystery and intrigue. It could easily have been a horror story were the framing changed a little, but instead it was something a lot more thoughtful and interesting.

Hinterlands – 2.5 stars – Take a story idea form Carl Sagan and twist it into a depressing glimpse at a horror. Not a horror story, mind you, just a story that takes place on the outside of a horror. The idea behind this was really interesting, but the story fell flat for me because I just couldn't care about the characters. They were just too cynical whereas I think that compassion would have done a better job of telling the story.

Red Star, Winter Orbit – 5 stars – I thought that the commentary on government control of frontiers in this was really effective. It was also very interesting that there was no military reason for what was being done to the space station, which is what you normally find in Cold War-era stories from the US featuring characters from the Soviet Union, like this one. I also really liked the characters and the story flowed well. It's my favorite of this collection so far.

New Rose Hotel – 5 stars – This was an excellent piece of noir fiction. The tone was almost a bit much for me at the beginning, but it managed to keep from feeling too forced. The story was really good and the telling better. Early on, I suspected that this was a prequel story for Turner from Count Zero, but it didn't seem to play out that way.

The Winter Market – 4 stars – A mild asshole sees the humanity in another asshole, who happens to be both cruel and pathetic, just before they upload their consciousness into a computer. I shouldn't have liked this since I generally don't like stories about jerks from the perspective of jerks, but there's a humanity to the story that got through to me. I don't think that the science fiction elements add anything to the story beyond offering a way that someone with a very visible physical disability could become a star, but that may be part of what I like about it.

Dogfight – 3.5 stars – This was an effective story of blind, cruel ambition and it's costs. It's hard for me to enjoy reading from the perspective of jerks, though, so I'm giving it an extra half a star because it did what it set out to do but just wasn't for me.

Burning Chrome – 5 stars – This is basically a pilot for the Sprawl trilogy, with some prototypes of the characters and settings, and I think I may actually like it a little more. The description of the matrix and how security and hacking work almost makes up for the silly idea that everything is done through VR interfaces. It's honestly a lot more realistic than most cyberpunk that I've read and I wish that the discussion of it in Neuromancer had been as good. And the human angle was really solid for a short story.

lcush98's review

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adventurous emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

paulmcinnis's review against another edition

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2.0

Not his best work, and that’s OK

kayay's review

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adventurous challenging reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.5

elegantmechanic's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

Technically a DNF before the last, titular story but after how the penultimate story pushed certain trauma buttons for me (physical/sexual assault, mental abuse) I couldn't read the last one. Up to that point I give it 2 overall. A couple of the stories I liked were not what I would consider cyberpunk but cosmic horror. The more cyberpunk the stories were, though, the more overwrought and pretentious the writing which was not for me. It's like a 1.5 star read dragged up to a 2 by the couple of stories I liked. I feel bad because these books were a gift from a dear friend but I'm done with Gibson.