Anna's Reviews > Holy Fire

Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling
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Oct 14, 08

Recommended for: people looking for smart sci fi premises and details (but not characters)
Read in October, 2008

Long on ideas, short on narrative. Sterling should be tapped to think up settings and backgrounds on a sci-fi tv series, or an ambitious futuristic film. Case in point: in Holy Fire, he projects the story past decades of plagues to imagine a medical-industrial complex run by "gerontocrats." A fine, not implausible notion. But Sterling's real strength is to extrapolate from this general premise, having Indonesia become the richest, healthiest nation in the world after the plague years (as an island nation, it was immune to the devastation). The final stroke of imaginative genius is that Indonesia then purchased Indianapolis from the poverty-striken United States, and used it for no-risk architectural experimentation. This small detail is more interesting than 100 pages of Mia/Maya's search for the "holy fire" of youthful creativity--ostensibly the novel's central plot.
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