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Burning Chrome (Sprawl 0)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  26,701 Ratings  ·  493 Reviews
Best-known for his seminal sf novel Neuromancer, William Gibson is actually best when writing short fiction. Tautly-written and suspenseful, Burning Chrome collects 10 of his best short stories with a preface from Bruce Sterling, now available for the first time in trade paperback. These brilliant, high-resolution stories show Gibson's characters and intensely-realized wor ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Harper Voyager (first published July 1982)
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Neuromancer by William GibsonSnow Crash by Neal StephensonThe Diamond Age by Neal StephensonDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickAltered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Best of Cyberpunk
9th out of 221 books — 913 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
235th out of 5,480 books — 18,285 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Is it okay, do you think, to say I find William Gibson's cycle of short stories, Burning Chrome, to be a work of profound beauty? Probably not, but I'm going to say it anyway: Burning Chrome is beautiful.

But how can it be? How can something like the Sprawl, Gibson's pollution choked mega-city, and our shared technological-future-nightmare be beautiful? My description suggests it can't, yet I find much beauty in Gibson's future.

There's something magnificent about monomolecular wires and Razorgir
Ben Babcock
We are very spoiled, and very privileged, to live now in the twenty-first century. We look back on works of science fiction from the 1950s, 1960s, and onward that reference the 1990s or 2000s as "the future" and make grandiose predictions: we'll have flying cars! a eugenics war! robot apocalypse! It's interesting to note that such extrapolation, while often falling very short of the mark, tends to be conservative when it describes the technological platforms through which we acquire these flying ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
I think this is the collection where I finally understood the cyberpunk of William Gibson despite having read four of his novels.

For me he is all about the mileau, the crafting of the dystopian world that his stories exist in and his characters evolve from is his primary skill, everything that comes evolves from there. Not to doubt his acknowedged talent as an ideas man.

I was particularly impressed with New Rose Hotel, his style of narration called to mind Chris Markers La Jetee and Wong Kar-Wai
Sep 17, 2014 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
russian matrix

A set of 10 short stories: early Gibson cyberpunk and sic-fi that anticipate both his SPRAWL and BLUE ANT series. All the Gibson tropes are there just waiting to bud and bloom. Gibson's cyberpunk, dark and messy near-future; his obsession with technology, music, clothing; his uncanny ability to describe and name the bleeding edge where culture and technology blend; his noirish tribalism; his satire; his slick style; his curvy asians. The book is an uneven group of stories that approximate a pimp
’Quemando Cromo’ (Burning Chrome, 1986) contiene los primeros relatos de William Gibson, el aclamado autor de ‘Neuromante’, que dio lugar a todo un subgénero, el cyberpunk (pequeña definición de cyberpunk: normalmente transcurre en un futuro cercano, distópico, dominado por megacorporaciones, donde se aúnan personajes marginales con alta tecnología, en un ambiente cercano al género negro, todo ello bajo una estética que recuerda a ‘Blade Runner’).

Hacía tiempo que no leía a Gibson, y ha sido todo
Ian Grayejoy
Wired West

"Burning Chrome" is a fascinating collection of stories that chart the origin of the Sprawl Trilogy. You can watch William Gibson building the world of the Sprawl ("of cities and smoke"), cyberspace and the characters who would later be explored in the three novels.

Equally importantly, you can observe him developing a unique style of writing suited to this world.

It's data- and sensory-rich, almost exhausting in its detail, which is revealed without information dumps or definitions. It
Executive Summary: An anthology of 10 short stories mostly related to or set in Mr. Gibson's Sprawl world. I enjoyed some, but not all of the stories. Only worth picking up if you really like the Sprawl books in my opinion.

Audio book: 10 stories. 10 different narrators. None of them stand out one way or another. Nobody was excellent and nobody was terrible. A few did occasional voices or accents, but none of them struck as particularly memorable.

Full Review
Neuromancer is one of those books th
Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann

This is the fist time I have read anything by William Gibson and I have to say since I have already purchased each book in the Sprawl Trilogy I am really excited to read some more by him, especially Neuromancer; being next on the William Gibson list!

"Source Code" *****
"Johnny Mnemonic" *****
"The Gernsback Continuum" *****
"Fragments of a Hologram Rose" ***
"The Belonging Kind," with John Shirley *****
"Hinterlands" ****
"Red Star, Winter Orbit," with Bruce Sterling *****
"New Rose Hotel" ****
This was... a very different read than I expected, but I liked it. I already knew that Gibson's a writer who really divides readers, and even though I generally prefer the New Wave/cyberpunk school of science-fiction over the genre's "golden age" (for reasons related to writing style rather than political ideology might I add) there were still several surprises.

One thing that struck me very much was how unlike the cyberpunk stereotypes the stories found in "Burning Chrome" actually are. Less tha
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The stories in this volume pre-date Neuromancer by date of composition, but were published slightly after as a set. I had no idea that Molly in Neuromancer was also Molly Millions in Johnny Mnemonic (I also didn't know William Gibson wrote that story! Time to watch the movie....)

Burning Chrome is the most significant story in this volume, because it contains most of the ideas and atmosphere that would later become Neuromancer - the cybercowboy, ICE, and the idea of viruses.

The other stories con
Oct 25, 2007 Monk rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Cyberpunk Enthusiasts, Manga Readers
I remember heading out to get this book after reading Neuromancer, solely on the strength of one story, Johnny Mnemonic (don't waste your time watching the movie - it's awful). While there's a lot of good work in the book, Johnny Mnemonic is really the show stopper, the tale of a 'mnemonic courrier' who can store data in wetware implants in his skull, and never know a scrap about what he's carrying. Whhatever it is he has in his head, the Yakuza wants it bad, and they're willing to send their be ...more
Sarah Sammis
Oct 16, 2007 Sarah Sammis rated it it was ok
Shelves: released
In 2005 my husband and I rented Johnny Mnemonic; it was one of the stupidest films we had ever seen. Curious to see if it was a problem with the translation to film or the source material, I decided to get a copy of the book: Burning Chrome, the first story being "Johnny Mnemonic." Having now suffered through the entire collection of stories, I can say that both the filmmakers and the author can share the blame equally.

I know that there are many fans of William Gibson's books but he doesn't do m
Oct 07, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
One of the best finds ever.

The movie trailer for Johnny Mnemonic was running at the time and I dug the concept. Wired said the movie was based on a short story from Burning Chrome. I remember deciding between the screenplay and the Johnny Mnemonic story combo book or the short story collection. I'm so glad I picked the collection. Johnny Mnemonic is an amazing story and the rest of the collection is strong too.

The 13 pages of Johnny Mnemonic rock my world every time I read it. Gibson creates a w
Is Gibson’s cinematic, dense, noir infused Sci/Fi best in small doses? Since this is his only collection, we have to guess. But if you want a quick welcome to his world, here it is. Vat grown assassins, criminal underground trafficking in information, razor girls, heroin addicted militarized dolphins; and that’s just the first story. There is also hints of a Gibson that could have been, with the perfect Waldrop meets Borges of “The Gernsback Continuum” and “The Belonging Kind” co-written with Jo ...more
Catherine Siemann
Apr 14, 2016 Catherine Siemann rated it it was amazing
Some of these stories are not very interesting to me.

The female characters in them are mostly femme fatales or otherwise objects of desire.

And despite all this, some of the stories just sear themselves into the imagination. I last read this collection probably 20 years ago, but on rereading, stories like "Winter Light," "Burning Chrome," "Johnny Mnemonic" (so much better than the Keanu Reeves movie!), and the oft-anthologized "The Gernsback Continuum" have completely stood the test of time.
Natasha Castillo
No conocía el "cyberpunk", me llamo la atención en una feria de libro, buscando algo nuevo, me encontré algo bueno y entretenido, cualquiera se puede llevar una sorpresa de lo ingenioso que pueden ser estos relatos y las curiosas imágenes que se destacan en palabras que parecen descritas de una película de ciencia ficción pura.
Feb 26, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Probably worth a "4.5" just on the originality of a couple of the included stories.

I read this a while back, so details of dates. etc. are less than perfect.
I may have had a difficult moment or two in one or another of Gibson's novels, but by and large he is a spectacular writer, a newer, "New Wave" SF author who has succeeded in extending and redefining the genre.

If you have little taste for novels, this short story collection is excellent and I heartily recommend it. You can read all the spoil
Nov 27, 2015 Conor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction
This is some of the best short fiction that I've read in a long time. It's exciting, the characters are compelling, and you get everything you expect out of Gibson's novels without his sometimes plodding plot development.

I can't imagine a better way to start reading cyberpunk than this collection, and I recommend it to anyone who likes reading of any kind.

If anything, the content is more on point than it was when it was written:

"Somewhere beneath us, Jones would be circling the tank, feeling th
I can hardly think of a better introduction to Gibson's world and what he is all about. I really loved most of these bleak, sad stories, specially Hinterlands and Dogfight (the ones I didn't love I still liked). Gibson's future seems almost a reality now and his fiction has aged well enough for one to relate to his stories and to fear his predictions of the future.

I look forward to reading Neuromancer and I'm really glad I took up Burning chrome first.
Ed [Redacted]
Mar 05, 2013 Ed [Redacted] rated it really liked it
Re-read. I liked this volume, but not as much as I did many moons ago when I first read it. After the passage of many years, Gibson's stories seemed less revolutionary than they did before. Not because the WERE less revolutionary, but because the world and literature has changed in the intervening time. All-in-all, still a worthy collection of historical cyberpunk stories.
Feb 27, 2014 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cyberpunk is a genre that can date very quickly. It says something about Gibson's work, here in this collection, and elsewhere in the Sprawl series, that it still feels fresh and relevant, even though the technology itself has dated.

To pick some highlights, I think my favourite story in the collection is one of the low-key ones: The Gernsback Continuum. The protagonist in this story keeps having flashes of a world that never existed: the future projected by the golden age science fiction of the
Mar 31, 2011 Brooke rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2011
A mixed bag, as early-short-story collections often are, and it took me a while to get through the first few - I kept picking up other things to read in the meantime. However, it's worth reading for "Hinterlands" alone, which was totally fascinating and creepy and left me dying to know more. "The Winter Market" was a close second.
Aug 30, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyberpunk
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.
Blaise Pascal
Jan 10, 2015 Blaise Pascal rated it really liked it
The second story in this collection is "The Gernsback Continuum", in which the narrator is hired to take photographs of the last remaining bits of architecture from the 30's which point to the future imagined by the stories of the day -- rockets, and gleaming steel, and Utopian megalopolises. A future which never was. Hugo Gernsback, for readers not familiar, was a very influential pulp magazine editor of the time, who basically invented science fiction as a genre. He lent his name to the Hugo A ...more
Es 5/5 en relatos como "Johnny Mnemónico", "El continuo de Gernsback", " Combate aéreo" y "Quemando Cromo".
Eric Douglas
Nov 16, 2014 Eric Douglas rated it really liked it
Mostly went through this anthology the other day for the story "Johnny Mnemonic", which inspired the highly campy yet guiltily enjoyable Keanu Reeves cyberpunk flick of the same name, and also because it takes place in the same universe as "Neuromancer", for which I'm beginning to feel the yearly urge to read through again. Many things strike me as I read about Johnny, the so very technical boy, Case, the deck cowboy on a devil's mission, and of course Molly Millions (I named my cat after her wh ...more
Joseph Harris
Jun 06, 2012 Joseph Harris rated it really liked it
Shelves: Review

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 c


This is a short story collection by William Gibson, the father of cyberpunk, most famous for his seminal novel Neuromancer. To read Gibson is to realize just how completely every other work in the genre has cribbed from him, right down to the slang he invented.

Not all of Gibson's work is up to the standard of Neuromancer. I'm happy to say that this one is. Burning Chrome collects ten short stories of varying lengths. I would prefer not to describe the stories; I believe a critical part of
Nov 15, 2008 Loren rated it it was amazing
Adapted from

If the novel is a sojourn in a foreign land, short stories are trips to the municipal park. Much of their provinciality is a function of length. Long-form fiction has the space to luxuriate in detail, dwelling on tertiary characters, describing each bit of their surroundings and spawning hydra-headed plots that wriggle every which way. But while the novel remains the champion of the marketplace, it can seem downright clumsy when compared with the elegance of a w
Kat  Hooper
Feb 15, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

William Gibson is one of those authors whose style is so distinct that it’s immediately recognizable. Anyone who’s read one of his novels could pick up another and, without looking at the cover, probably identify it as Gibson’s merely by reading the first page. His popularity indicates that legions of readers love his neon-infused plastic sheeting-coated visionary style, but as evidenced by reviews of his novels at Amazon and other places, many readers jus
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William Gibson's short fiction-- 3 25 Apr 17, 2012 04:04PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor
More about William Gibson...

Other Books in the Series

Sprawl (3 books)
  • Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1)
  • Count Zero (Sprawl, #2)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (Sprawl, #3)

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“Hell of a world we live in, huh? (...) But it could be worse, huh?"
"That's right," I said, "or even worse, it could be perfect.”
“If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins make us seem harmless.” 14 likes
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