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Islas en la red

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  4,883 ratings  ·  129 reviews
In the high-tech twenty-first century, a family of "corporate associates" descends into an underworld of data pirates and bootleg biogenetics to discover the identity of new-order terrorists. ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 472 pages
Published 1990 by Ed. Destino (first published June 1st 1988)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,883 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
I grew up knowing that this was supposed to be a great cyberpunk novel right in the heart of the genre as it was a few years after Neuromancer, and I did eventually get around to reading his novel with William Gibson, The Difference Engine, which was pretty much a steampunk novel.

Other than that, I kept berating myself that I'd never gone back and read what should have been a staple of the genre.

So what did I think?

He was well ahead of the curve when it came to predicting the future, pretty much
Dec 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Okay, we don't have personal watch-phones. We have personal phone-watches instead. Big deal.

The trajectory of this book, the whiff of cynicism, menace, strangeness, and internationalism -- it's basic arguments about the future of power, all of them are still relevant and still have the power to explain parts of the world.

You can hear Sterling's prose learning from the textural techniques of William Gibson, and benefitting from them, but the raw intellectual content of this book outst
People seemed to miss the boat on this one. Badly in need of a reissue, ditch the atrocious cover and update the text a little bit and this would be cutting edge or at least comfortably contemporary. Like Brunner or Moorcock’s Cornelius stories(and peer/co-conspirator Gibson) this takes a sci-fi lens to contemporary culture and stretches into plausible shapes. Sterling pretty much nails it(yes he gets some wrong but not enough to discredit the rest), with Globalism, the rise of the third world i ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This is a pretty highly regarded sf book, althou I am not entirely sure why. I like Sterling's editing (he edited the fine anthology "Mirrorshades") but am not a big fan of his writing. He exemplifies both the strong and weak points of the genre. My main complaint is one that I have about other SF novels: the ideas are engaging, the future world he posits is thought-provoking, but the characters are shallow, and there is very little real insight or feeling. SF too often ignores good prose and ch ...more
Patrick DiJusto
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Damn you Bruce Sterling! You reminded me of the potential of the net, and how we have squandered it.

For those of use who were on the internets in the late 1980s (like Bruce, and me), this book perfectly captures the hopes that we had for the new technological future. Well, Bruce was always a much more cynical bastard than the rest of us, so we had the Utopian ideals, and he saw how human beings would fuck them up.

Except, he didn't. Bruce fell for the optimism, juust a little bit, in that he thou
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cyberpunks, social theorists, terrorist fiction fans
Reading Islands in the Net now, it may take a minute to figure out why it's a cyberpunk classic. There is very little VR, and what is there is not described in detail. Most of the book is off the grid (but then again, much of Neuromancer is, too). The heroine isn't a hack, programmer, or counterculture sympathizer, in fact, she's a corporate worker.

But read further in and you'll see that it's about the essential cyberpunk issues. Corporations consolidating power and those who don't get any. The
James Dunphy
I was craving a science fiction read outside of my usual realm of authors. I picked up Islands in the Net for a few reasons;
1) It's an early cyberpunk novel (I love me some cyberpunk)
2) It's by Bruce Sterling (and I have only been exposed to William Gibson primarily)
3) It was $2.00 at my favorite local book store
Picking this thing up, wow, holy crap. You would think this book was written maybe a few years ago if it weren't for the dated frizzy tangle of 80's hair on the front cover. To think tha
J.G. Keely
Has not aged as well as Gibson's work. I'm not certain what's more jarring, Sterling's enthusiasm for both nanotech and fax machines, or Star Trek's matter/energy conversion but inability to heal a spine. ...more
Storyline: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 3/5

Islands in the Net puts one in the unusual, albeit not unheard of, position of an accidental, distant spectator. It is full of spectacles: a roller coaster with its crests and troughs, strings of colored lights, random and bizarre embellishments. There’s a veritable carnival going on in this cyberpunk political thriller, but somehow the planner forgot to include an on-ramp for access. One reads along as the presumably exciting events happe
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seminal work helping to establish the cyberpunk genre, this dystopian sci-fi story has one foot in a near-future (2023-25) from today (2018) where nation state power has receded and transnationals have filled the vacuum, and yet the work has the other foot firmly stuck in the mindset of the Cold War.

Sterling has misread the future, in his world data pirates are the biggest threat to privacy, stealing data and selling it to corporations who can profit from it; a sad inversion to today's reality
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyberpunk, digital
I had this book on my Cyberpunk reading list for quite a while. As I have started reading, it reminded me some of the ideas of the "Cryptonomicon "by Neal Stephenson with its Data havens and financial concepts. As it went on I was hoping to see some first eye action as in "Koko takes a vacation" by Kieran Shea, but unfortunately our protagonist her peers wander through the plot and manage to barely tilt the balance in their favor by sheer luck rather than design. I am not saying it does not fit ...more
Found this in a give away box in Massachusetts & it kept me company during a light reading time. Very prescient at times, very very dated in many other ways, but mostly enjoyably so.
Christian Molenaar
For all the predictions Sterling makes about the future the most eerily prescient is post-millennials in 2020 hitting synthetic THC and calling anyone who lived through the Cold War a boomer
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a fun read if you were/are a fan of late 80s classic cyberpunk. This is one I wished I had read back when it first came out but was still fun and maintained some of the prescient vision that makes good near-future sci fi. The main character is a rising star in her corporation tasked with mediating a dispute between rival data havens. When things go wrong she finds herself traveling the world as her corporation's representative. As is true of all good science fiction, the various situatio ...more
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyberpunk, book-2015
If you read this book, say, right now, just bear in mind it was written 25 years ago. Of course the actual world is not what Sterling described then but you gotta admit that what seemed pure fantasy in 1989 tends to be way more credible now.
Apart from that, this is a great book, with a real clever geopolitical plot (as opposed to Gibson's techie/social stories, of which I am a huge fan, mind you) with an awesome strong female lead character.
If you wanna know what cyberpunk is, there are 2 books
Jeffrey Hart
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The theme here is how island developing nations might choose to become homes for illegal and quasi-legal information technologies and services, hence the title. The story deals with a particular type of dystopia that accurately mirrors the real world of island nations like Nauru, home of long-distance telephone scams, and Romanian PayPal scam artists operating out the the London suburbs. A similar theme is developed in Neal Stephenson's Economicon. ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like other reviewers here (and I'm pleased to see there are many of them), Islands surprised me by turning out to be a very different book from what I had been expecting it to be in the twenty plus years it's been sitting on my shelf. The atrocious cover on the old paperback edition seems even worse now in retrospect. Far from a book taking place in a dated vision of cyberspace, this is a globetrotting, political, techno-thriller with a relevance to today that borders on astonishing.

Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started out thinking this book would be a two-star read, or maybe even as poor as a one-star (but probably not). I did not particularly like the protagonist. In fact, while there was a gradual increase of my appreciation for the protagonist, it was slow, and apart from a section close to the end I never really got above the level of not caring too much about her. During that short part, where she lost herself more fully in the ethos and personal factors of a pseudo-opposing group and took a pr ...more
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so 1988. I mean, not really: it's set in 2023, focusing on the global/political/economic impact of the internet, denuclearization after the Cold War, the rise of businesses as powerful as nations, the crime conglomerates that sell private data, and the dangers of ignoring parts of the world while developing others. So in some ways, it's very modern--but always with that fun, knowing smile you get when you realize someone predicted a lot of things right and a is still part of their t ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely the best cyberpunk book I've ever read: Vurt trilogy by Jeff Noon & "Tea from an empty cup" by Pat Cadigan, William Gibson's trilogies or some works of Philip K. Dick (say "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" or "A scanner darkly") just didn't have the right (or expected if you will) accents, that's why none of those immersed me much. Noon's or Cadigan's vision of cyberpunk was too heavily focused on psychedelic virtual worlds while Dick's novels were rather dystopian than a ...more
Benjamin Kahn
Jul 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I thought this was a terrible book. Maybe I'm just not a big cyberpunk fan - I've read Neuromancer twice and neither time did it really stay with me - but I thought this was just a plotless, chain of events that really went nowhere, with a protagonist that it was hard to feel any real interest in. It started out fine - Laura and her husband run a hotel for a giant corporation. Then they go down to Grenada, which started fine and then partway through that section of the book I was thinking "why a ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Managed to finish it by sheer power of will of not wanting to leave another book in the middle.
Something about the writing is just clumsy, cumbersome and falls flat - words are just plastered there, but they are not what people would say or think. They don't flow or immerse, Especially in the beginning some sentences I had to go over a couple of times just to make sure the words are right and make sense, because it didn't feel like that at all. It just feels tedious and boring and uninspiring.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Schismatrix was really good, and I had this one sitting in my shelf for almost as long.
If I was surprised Schismatrix was not very cyberpunk, I should have been even more shocked this cornerstone of the genre is not more cyber...on a superficial level. I have read cyberpunk is style over substance, and this is what this book offers. Lots of style. To the modern reader, the speed at which the net moves might look archaic. Video-recorders? Prerecorded messages sent during the night at valley price
Travis McCutcheon
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sterling's Islands in the Net is a sociopolitical exploration of our near-future. It demonstrates clairvoyant predictions about 21st century politics and technology. Global communications are conducted over The Net in a novel written before Tim Berners-Lee even invented the World Wide Web. Multinational corporations wield more power than governments. Financial institutions become data havens employing mad doctors, pirates and insurgent rebels. Drones, autonomous cars, watchphones and videoglasse ...more
Nihal Vrana
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First 250 or so pages, it didn't catch me. I love Sterling as a writer and I was writing of this one as a weak one. His books always start slow, but this one felt like a long-winded travelogue without much interest. The delusional nature of nearly all characters was irking. And, then it takes this crazy turn, which I didn't like in the beginning at all either, and then runs to someplace dark and crazy. And suddenly I found myself turning the pages at a mad level, completely engorged. All the wea ...more
The most accurate portrayal of modern day technology, specifically the internet, that I have ever read from a book published in the 80s. There's no depiction of the Net as an approximation of a physical space, it's much more like the real world internet, a tool of mass, rapid communication.

At first, there's an odd sense that this book could have been published just recently, but the geopolitics extrapolated straight from the Cold War make it show its age a bit.

I hadn't read a cyberpunk book fr
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is definitely an 80's book full of 80's concerns, and some of the tech forecasting feels a little off (and would likely be a bit mystifying to readers who didn't live through the 80's and 90's).

For all that though, Sterling must have a touch of prescience for how close he came on a lot of topics, including the effects of globalism. He couldn't foresee the advances in telecommunications, or the slow degradation of democracy (rather than the expansion of it to include economics, as in the boo
Brown Robin
You'd be hard-pressed to find a science fiction novel more engaged in the struggles of its day than this one. This involves a global tour provided by the corporate/NGO/social justice activist lead characters. Consider it a guide to doing good within the capitalist framework of globalized markets and society.

It doesn't completely work, but it is utterly plausible, and though it is now dated, Sterling's orphaned future definitely feels familiar. I think he missed only on the details; in the main,
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book predicts a lot (data havens, digital currency, smart watches) with a forgettable plot.

I'm sure I read this in the 90s, but barely remember any of it. A great description I read elsewhere is "cyberpunk from the corporate side", and that seems a good fit. Sterling spends a lot of pages describing various near-future tech, though this tech often fails to advance the plot in any way. Just over half way through it becomes a suspenseful thriller, and finishes with observations on government.
Jeff Standard
Enjoyed it as another facet of Sterling's dystopian, 'high-tech low-life' universe. As a standalone, the book is just okay. The overall plot line is classic Sterling. Small, mysterious events and a trail of gunsmoke lead to a larger, more insidious scheme. The world is all concrete slabs, crude autonomous vehicles, and warring politicos. It was great to see the "faceless corporates" of the Sprawl series in a more humanized light. Being in their homes, boardrooms, and missions of diplomatic espio ...more
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Bruce Sterling is an author, journalist, critic and a contributing editor of Wired magazine. Best known for his ten science fiction novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews, design criticism, opinion columns and introductions to books by authors ranging from Ernst Jünger to Jules Verne. His non-fiction works include The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (1992 ...more

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87 likes · 19 comments
“The rhythm built up, high resonant notes from the buzzing xylophone, the off-scale dipping warble of the flute, the eerie, strangely primeval bass of the synthesizer.
The others punctuated the music with claps and sudden piercing shrieks from behind their veils. Suddenly one began to sing in Tamashek.
"He sings about his synthesizer," Gresham murmured.
"What does he say?"

I humbly adore the acts of the Most High,
Who has given to the synthesizer what is better than a soul.
So that, when it plays, the men are silent,
And their hands cover their veils to hide their emotions.
The troubles of life were pushing me into the tomb,
But thanks to the synthesizer,
God has given me back my life.”
“Hey, check this cheap-shot fascist shit,” David muttered, just for the record.” 0 likes
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