[Home]BruceSterling

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Bruce Sterling is currently heading the ViridianDesignMovement. It's a design movement, designed by Bruce Sterling. They focus on Greenhous Effect related product design. More or less.

He also has a [weblog] (As of 2/23/04, last edited 8/03)

[The Bruce Sterling Online Index] (As of 2/23/04, its moved)

He's also written The HackerCrackdown, which documented the start of the ElectronicFrontierFoundation.

Books

Now that I have read AllTomorrowsParties, I feel like reading more CyberPunk. Since I haven't read any Sterling except for a really bad KevinMitnick related book (which put me off him), I figure now's a good time to start. What Sterling books are worth reading? -- SunirShah (The good ones are worth reading. :-)

My favorite work by BruceSterling is the DistractionBook, ISBN 0-553-57639-9 (alternate, search) which explores politics and social changes in the next 40-50 years. It's mostly politics and "society hacking", but there are several good technological ideas. My favorite idea from the book is "distributed instantiation", where building materials and tools instruct unskilled users in a futuristic kind of BarnRaising. For instance, one attaches locator/speaker tapes to bricks, and then the bricks give audio instructions on where they "want" to be placed. ("I'm a cornerstone. Carry me five steps to your left.")

Sterling has also published several collections of short stories, some of which are more "cyberpunkish" than his novels. I'm currently reading A Good Old-Fashioned Future ISBN 0-553-57642-9 (alternate, search) and enjoying several of the stories. --CliffordAdams

My favorite book of his is Islands In The Net. Of course, as books go, it is the closest to the "There's gonna be a late 90s one day" aspect of CloseExtrapolation that to me is the hallmark of CyberPunk and related 80s ScienceFiction, and that aspect is quite dated. -- DaveJacoby

I propose "Schismatrix Plus : Includes Schismatrix and Selected Stories from Crystal Express". My first book by Bruce Sterling. I was very impressed at the time: Technology and/vs Biology. Interesting ideas from the book include: Cockroaches are useful in space, the decay of buildings in space, the danger of the bacteria in your intestins, the slow degeneration of humans into computers with age, dangers of genetic engineering, and -- above all: The protagonists continue to struggle, to live, to evolve. Boring ideas from the book include: Big alien queens, earth is totally destroyed by nuclear war or something like that. -- AlexSchroeder

The core idea, IMHO, of Schismatrix (I read it back when you needed Crystal Express to read the other Schismatrix stories) was that, in contrast to American lives, which according to philosophers, always have one act, lives in the future will have 7 or 8, and with life-expanding technology of the Shapers and Mechanists you will live far past your usefulness.

The interesting idea about the aliens is that, in his interpretation, the introduction of regular relations with extraterrestrial life does not become TheSingularity. Life goes on after first contact.

Another one which I don't really recommend is "Heavy Weather". Interesting ideas include problems with resistant bacteria, self-encrypting software requiring periodic licensing fees. Boring ideas: People try to ride the eye of storms in search for thrills. -- AlexSchroeder

There's more interesting stuff than that in there. An interesting thing to me was how laptops became powerful enough to hold the entire catalog of the LibraryOfCongress?, and then the LibraryOfCongress? became digitized, and so a number of people dived in, searching for conspiracy, and pretty much never came out.

I've been a fan since 1987 or so when I first picked up "Schmismatrix", which is definitely the best of his books. I think up to "Heavy Weather" is worth reading to various degrees. His later novels are borderline crap, mostly ideas from his older books explored in more detail without the same panache. "Schismatrix" is really good but a bit slow at the beginning, "Islands of the Net" was good though I suspect it's dated poorly since I last read it. "Heavy Weather" was good but it took me a little while to warm to ("Twister" shamelessly ripped off parts of it), and the first half of "The Artifical Kid" was awesome until it delved off into boring weirdness. "Involution Ocean" was his first book and my second favorite though it doesn't have anything spectacular to say, mostly it's just a dark and moody story about a bunch of alien druggies :). --AdamShand

I just read "Zeitgeist" and loved it. No SciFi at all, just pop biz, Turkish Mafia and a few funky esoteric moments. But some of the dialogs are hilarious. -- AlexSchroeder


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