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Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

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With their hard-edged, street-wise prose, they created frighteningly probable futures of high-tech societies and low-life hustlers. Fans and critics call their world cyberpunk. Here is the definitive "cyberpunk" short fiction collection.

Contents:
The Gernsback Continuum (1981) by William Gibson
Snake-Eyes (1986) by Tom Maddox
Rock On (1984) by Pat Cadigan
Tales of Houdini (1981) by Rudy Rucker
400 Boys (1983) by Marc Laidlaw
Solstice (1985) by James Patrick Kelly
Petra (1982) by Greg Bear
Till Human Voices Wake Us (1984) by Lewis Shiner
Freezone (1985) by John Shirley
Stone Lives (1985) by Paul Di Filippo
Red Star, Winter Orbit (1983) by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
Mozart in Mirrorshades (1984) by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner

239 pages, Paperback

First published December 1, 1986

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About the author

Bruce Sterling

352 books1,060 followers
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), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2003) and Shaping Things (2005).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 178 reviews
Profile Image for Evan.
125 reviews35 followers
October 7, 2007
Here the mediocre and the barely readable rub shoulders with pop genius.

The lesser cyberpunks come across like caffeinated 1950s squares desperately trying to sound like the beatniks they've heard so much about. Want some holodrugs to go with your cyberslang, daddy-o!!?

The greats have a singular ease of style and taste for the bizarre that gives you a whiff of the 80s, but the colors are still bright after twenty years.

Flawed, but essential.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,854 reviews1,046 followers
January 3, 2014
Initial reaction: Probably 3.5 stars. There are some really interesting and good stories in the mix included here, and only a few that didn't really strike me all that well, whether it was the fact some of them were random and not necessarily what I would term cyberpunk, or that some of them seemed a little dated. I did appreciate Sterling's introduction on Cyberpunk as a genre overall, and I thought it was a good collection overall. Some of the authors I'm very familiar with their work, while others were new to me.

Full review:

As a genre, I really enjoy reading cyberpunk stories, and I'm proud to say that I was born in the same generation that this particular subgenre was created within the sci-fi community. Granted, there are many stories I consider in the vein of cyberpunk that I've been exposed to in my time. From William Gibson's "Neuromancer" (which I plan to do a re-read and review shortly) to the movie "Blade Runner", which is based on Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." Even to anime series like the "Ghost in the Shell" franchise, "Akira," and "Bubblegum Crisis"/"AD Police"/"Parasite Dolls" (because the latter three are set in the same universe, technically speaking). Or if you want to talk about gaming, I could name a ton of recent and old games that fall under "cyberpunk." Anyone remember the PC/Phillips CD-i game "Burn:Cycle"? No? Maybe I'm the only one who's old enough to remember that game. (The soundtrack to that, alongside another PC game I used to play called "Megarace" are among a few I would name that were ahead of their time, and aged surprisingly well.)

So, in pursuing various literature on cyberpunk, I came across the "Mirrorshades" collection of 12 contributions by various up and coming (at the time) cyberpunk writers. The compilation was done by Bruce Sterling, who not only contributes a rather defining Preface on the Cyberpunk genre and how it was interpreted at the time, but he also contributes to the collection as well.

I'm just going to give a brief summary of all the stories and my reactions to them in the following. It took me a little while to comb through this collection, but for what it was worth - I enjoyed the collective whole. Many of these authors are familiar to me (Gibson, Sterling, Shiner, and Shirley), but quite a few are first time reads for me. So I'll have some new authors to look up their bibliography stemming from this collection.

Starting with William Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" - this was written in 1981, I believe, before Gibson published "Neuromancer." I'll admit I was taken by the writing in this one, and the story was a reflective piece of a traveling photographer who "ensured he was paid" going on a roadtrip for a project. He has visions of projected futures transposed over things he observes. It's supposed to be a criticism of what sci-fi had been portrayed in previous ventures, and I saw the distinction. It was an interesting narrative to read in and of itself. I think to start off the collection as far as shaping it, it was good, but it wasn't the strongest effort I've read from Gibson. Overall score: 3/5 stars.

The second story "Snake Eyes" by Tom Maddox, was a new author and story for me, the story written in 1986. I loved this tale of a man who believes his brain is hijacked after coming home from war in Thailand. He's actually on the mark with the revelation, considering his insatiable appetite and odd behaviors.

Basically his brain gets hijacked by a reptile, or rather reptilian tendencies. o____O He refers to his out of control habits as being taken over by "the snake."

The narrator's voice is really strong and intimate. Well paced plotting, and it held my attention through the whole ride. One of my favorite stories in the collection. Overall score: 4/5 stars.

"Rock On", the third story, was written by Pat Cadigan in 1984 (my birth year, FTW). Yeah, I...didn't really care for this so much. It has two of my favorite topics blended together: cyberpunk and music, showcasing a 40-year-old woman (Gina) who has "sinned" with her explorations in rock-and-roll and caught in a realm she wants to escape from, but I felt oddly disconnected with it. (No pun intended.) Gina's voice is decent, sharp and dark, but the story meandered a bit more than I would've liked. I kinda want to read more from Cadigan to get a feel for her style though. Overall score: 2/5 stars.

"Tales of Houdini" by Rudy Rucker was a new author and story for me. It was...weird. I couldn't really see how this was cyberpunk at all. In sum, it's basically Houdini getting abducted several times and escaping, and putting his mother's fears to rest when she's worried about him. I guess I would rank this on the same scale - maybe lower than the previous story. If I had the choice, Cadigan's stylistic appealed a bit more; Rucker just didn't capture the setting of the anthology all that well to me in retrospect. Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

"400 Boys" by Marc Laidlaw captured the whole "youth in rebellion" thematic that I tend to associate with some parts of cyberpunk, so I definitely saw the aim in this account of a young group protagonists who have to face off against...well...400 Giant boys. I kind of pictured the 400 Boys being like the Boomers from the Bubblegum Crisis series, which...does not mean good things for the boys facing off against them. Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

"Solstice" by James Patrick Kelly was another strong entry, about a drug developer and technically his female clone and Stonehinge referencing. I was surprisingly drawn in throughout the tale and it's among the best that the collection offered in retrospect. Overall score: 4.5/5 stars

"Petra" by Greg Bear didn't really grab me as much as I wanted, but I did like it for what it offered. I just didn't think it was very cyberpunkish. Gothic type story where it deals with stone statues and flesh children, including a Stone Christ statue in the mix. It was okay, but somehow an outlier for the collection. Overall score: 2/5 stars.

"Til Human Voices Wake Us" by Lewis Shiner was another interesting offering from the collection - not directly evocative of cyberpunk images, but themes are certainly dark - story of a man's relationship and transgression with a mermaid - doesn't quite go the way he planned. Overall score: 3/5 stars

"Freezone" by John Shirley's an interesting story from the collection - a mixture of a downtrodden U.S with a rock music structuring. I definitely liked the imagery and mood of it. Overall score: 3.5/5 stars.

"Stone Lives" by Paul Di Fillipo and "Red Star, Winter Orbit" by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson were both stories I enjoyed, but probably not as much as other in the collection. The first dealt with a man who had his eyes stolen by organ theves and struggling within the urban jungle he lived in until a chance opportunity gets him back on his feet. The level of detail in this story was very good, and I'd probably rate it 4/5 stars. "Red Star, Winter Orbit" didn't really strike me as cyberpunk, but it was a good story - basically showing a Soviet man who walked on Mars, but even as he's aging, he ends up leading a resistance against the military. I'd probably rate it 3/5 stars.

"Mozart in Mirrorshades" by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner closes out the collection with a really interesting tangle of historical figures. From Mozart to Thomas Jefferson among others, it was an interesting characterization. I don't know if I'd call it cyberpunk, but it did make an interesting piece for speculative fiction and social commentary. 3.5/5 stars.

It was worth the time taken to read, and certainly enlightening. Some of the authors in the collection are new to me (in that I haven't read them before), but I'd certainly seek out more of their work, as well as the ones I know, from this collection.

Overall score: 3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Rob.
Author 2 books364 followers
August 29, 2007
A battered copy lives in my nightstand at all times. Between novels, I always come back to this, flipping through the pages until a word catches my eye. Such a diversity of talent, mixed together quite well here.

Rated Individually:
• "The Gernsback Continuum" (William Gibson) ★★★★★
• "Snake-Eyes" (Tom Maddox) ★★★★
• "Rock On" (Pat Cadigan) ★★★★
• "Tales of Houdini" (Rudy Rucker) ★★★★★
• "400 Boys" (Marc Laidlaw) ★★★★★
• "Solstice" (James Patrick Kelly) ★★★★
• "Petra" (Greg Bear) ★★★★★
• "Till Human Voices Wake Us" (Lewis Shiner) ★★★★
• "Freezone" (John Shirley) ★★★
• "Stone Lives" (Paul Di Filippo) ★★★★
• "Red Star, Winter Orbit" (Bruce Sterling & William Gibson) ★★★★
• "Mozart in Mirrorshades" (Bruce Sterling & Lewis Shiner) ★★★★
Profile Image for Liam O'Leary.
467 reviews113 followers
December 11, 2020
Featured in my Cyberpunk 2077 reading list video
This review is a mess I refuse to fix — you probably should read someone else's.

This review is not intended to be accessible or readable, it's a detailed resource for myself. If the detailed notes box was bigger I would've put it all in there on private, but GoodReads limits that to 500 characters for no good reason...







Context
Among straight guys under 30, the release of Cyberpunk 2077 in the next few days is perhaps the most anticipated video game release since like 2015 (TLOU2 never happened). It's a cultural revival of sorts, and so it was important for me to read this.

Book
So this is where the definition of cyberpunk was made, Bruce Sterling rounded up a bunch of writers to make short stories for this collection. It's a really mixed bag with some real steaming turds in it, but if you can get past the stories talking about vomit, semen and aggressive sex you can probably get to the end of the book and this review.

Alt names for cyberpunk: Radical Hard SF, The Outlaw Technologists, The Eighties Wave, The Neuromantics and the Mirrorshades Group.

The original definition of cyberpunk:
Sex drugs & Rock n roll > Hex drugs & mind control

A combination of four genres: new wave SF (Ballard), hard tradition SF (Heinlein), visionaries (Dick), and technophiles (Pynchon). Thrown into eighties anarchist punk rock. Monochrome clothing (I think, the binary of electronics). Mirrorglasses, to hide the crazed hostility of drug fiends (I think against paranoid to the control of megacorporations, metaphors of a totalitarian state). London and Tokyo synth prog rock making them locations, although the Bronx shows up on occasion (usually solely in William Gibson's stories). Against the anti-science counterculture of the 60s, the 80s was proscience — and now that I think of it, the noughties were anti-science and we're coming back into proscience in the new 2020s. Cyberpunk is prodecentralization for fluidity — it's libertarian, anarchist and tribal/primal at its core. From Leary saying personal PCs are the LSD of the 80s, limitless potential so that 'the street finds its uses for things'

Despite this, I could heavily criticize this body of work as representing cyberpunk. Or perhaps, I just dislike the roots of cyberpunk. But I dispute the second option, because Philip K Dick died 6 years before this and his body of work is a better and more thoughtful depiction of cyberpunk. Nothing wrong there. I was hoping this would reach forward but it dials back before Dick (with the exception of Gibson and Di Fillipo, both who clearly stand out as pushing the ball forward). But yes, most of these stories are aesthetic, without movement. Half the short story is about what people are fucking wearing. Like, does it matter? Does it not expose the vanity of these writers trying to write in the most intellectually dense but psychologically vapid and unwise way about the soul in a tyrannical future? You think clothes matter in a world where computers are morphing with life? This is a sign of the bigger problem. This cyberpunk is about as much substance as the lubricant this smut reads like, energy and lust with no perspective or goal or vision or humanity or general care. I wish cyberpunk writers could employ writing styles that clearly show what they are talking about, or thinking about, or lay out the environment in a way that an author might, so that you can really clearly see it. But it's always just barebones and makes you work for it in a way that I can't believe is minimalism, or them intentionally trying to get you to work, but rather them trying to get away with as vague an impression as they can muster. Everyone is a greaser, every woman is violated, every corporation is evil. It's just kind of stupid? It typifies the trope of a nerdy military scientist who can build computers to rule the world but doesn't know what to do with that power, like Vonnegut's view of Oppenheimer in Cat's Cradle. Why does everyone only take amphetamines or bennies, why is sex only everyone's motivation? Are we going to continue to glorify amphetamines after the rolling credits of A Scanner, Darkly? Maybe that's the dystopian slant, but it's too flat and is trying too hard to be cool while at the same time trying to be free. Just like the least liked kids in school who thought they were cool, the dumb and weak contrarians. And sure, the home computer hadn't hit but there could be more thought behind all of this, the Snake-Eyes story does it best. What does all of this mean for the mind and happiness — what is the path the world is moving towards?

And beyond that, all that said a lot has changed since then both in the CYBER and PUNK domains. The sex, drugs, and music aren't the same. I think the sex scene in reality is so much more diverse and complex now that these futurist dystopias seem anachronistic. Stimulants haven't been that cool after the later life drug-induced psychosis of the Beat Generation. The hallucinogen has moved away from the lab and the rave scene towards organic entheogens and tribal practices. Rock music died since 2005 but might be revived soon, but ambient and electronic subgenres like vaporwave are now the mood of cyberpunk. As for the cyber/neuro side, neuroprosthetics and electrode implantations are actually a reality now for amputees and people with Parkinson's, and on the biopunk side there are currently neuroscience techniques being prototyped that are more scifi than things in this book.

I also don't think Sterling's definition is the right definition — at least for today's readers. To me, cyberpunk is a combination of film noir plot (Chandler), with anarchist agenda (Orwell), and transgressive male violence (Palahniuk). Cyberpunk is a dystopia against the power struggle by technology for individual freedom and societal control, cyberpunk narratives involve the threat of violent hostility by men against an corrupt authoritarian society and renegotiating the balance of freedom. The social, moral and sexual decay in cyberpunk narratives are a forewarning of the abuse of power through technology. It's weird that nothing, anywhere, is ever said about how heterocentric the cyberpunk scene is. If anything I've always thought LGBT scene would be more relevant to cyberpunk, as cyberpunk calls for individual freedom for bodily rights, and society more actively imposes on the rights and propriety of what is done outside of non-heterosexual relationships.

There's another reason this book is a bit of a crappy introduction to cyberpunk though. A lot of the stories don't match the criteria Bruce Sterling puts forth in the introduction—and those that don't are TERRIBLE.

12 Stories below.
4 of them are cyberpunk, they have 4*s.
1 of them is cyber only (Shiner)
2 of them are punk only (Laidlaw and Shirley)
4 of them are questionably punk only (Haddigan, Rucker, collaborations)
1 of them is certainly not cyberpunk in any way (Bear)

4* -The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson (dietpill hallucinations)
4* -Snake-Eyes by Tom Maddox (Snakebrain)
0* -Rock on by Pat Haddigan (Senseless sexual assault outside of a fish and chips shop)
1* -Tales of Houdini by Rudy Rucker
2* -400 boys by Mark Laidlaw (Streetgang fight, with new weapons)
4*- Solstice by James Patrick Kelly (Stonehenge Free Festival trip, weird but decent)
2* - Petra by Greg Bear (closer to Romeo & Juliet than cyberpunk, totally irrelevant)
2* - Till Human Voices Wake Us by Lewis Shiner (modification without rebellion, cyber only)
3* - Freezone by John Shirley (rock story, grossest lines I've ever read)
4* - Stone Lives by Paul Di Filippo (best potential film adaptation)
1* - Red Star, Winter Orbit by Sterling and Gibson (ruined by Sterling's political allusions)
2* - Mozart in Mirrorshades by Sterling and Shiner (ruined by Sterling's political allusions)

In summary: the preface is the best part and I've summarized it above, only 4 of the 12 stories here are good, and none of them are better than anything I've read by Philip K Dick so you may as well go sample him. It seems weird they didn't feature him in this, but given he died 6 years before its publication it could've been legal issues and the desire to promote living cyberpunk writers (even if di Filippo is biopunk).


Backstory
Five years ago I was an atheist in London interested in transhumanism finishing a neuroscience masters degree. We'd both just played Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. My friend found electronic schematics for a Galvanic Vestibular Stimulator in an obscure blog post. So we found a hackspace, a small community facility for geeks to build things in the night of the city.

We wired two skin electrodes in parallel to a bidirectional switch that controlled which electrode was active, and a switch to break the circuit. Also, we added plenty of resistors to ensure we weren't frying our brains, and tested it with the burning sensation on our fingers. We drilled this all into a cheap lunchbox to act as a controller.

A galvanic vestibular stimulator is just a budget, weaker version of the device used in transcranial direct current stimulation. By slapping the electrodes on top of the mastoid bone behind the ear, you can make a current strong enough that it indirectly vestibular afferents going to your brain, as they can easily compete and override the fairly weak signals from fluid inside the ear affecting hair bristles. What this means is the side the electrode stimulates makes you feel like falling the other way (left or right relative to where you are facing). The point of all this was to prove experientially that the brain does in fact work with and responds to electrical signals at the level of real-time perception. And the experiment was a success, I made many of my coursemates fall over and brought it to the lab. I've still got my GVS somewhere in my room I think, but the knowledge that it once worked, as a brain-machine interface for balance disturbance, is what matters. Most people were a bit scared to try it but nobody failed in eventually falling against their will. Makes you wonder, what else could be done with technology and the brain... These could be built in the 1980s cheaply by hobbyist and could've in themselves produced a narrative more interesting about the potential for technology on the mind, but hey, when we leave narratives about the future of science to people not curious to explore or investigate science, but rather, to dig it out of flashes from psychedelic experiences, this book is what we end up with!
Profile Image for manuti.
285 reviews64 followers
May 13, 2022
Una lectura largamente postergada. Yo le voy a dar 4 estrellas por hacer media, pero como veis he puntuado cada cuento por lo que si sois muy vagos y os fiáis de mí, podéis leer solo los mejores según mi opinión.
Una pena que esté descatalogado en papel y haya que tirar de viejo con suerte.
Mientras leía he ido actualizando y puntuando cada cuento por separado y lo he recopilado en mi blog: Reseña: Mirrorshades: Una antología ciberpunk.
Actualizo y traigo aquí las reseñas del blog para ahorrar un click a los vagos:
El continuo de Gernsback – William Gibson : 5 estrellas ***** para el primer relato del maestro del ciberpunk. Toda su esencia mezclada con algo onírico.

Ojos de serpiente – Tom Maddox : Otro relato genial de 4 o 5 estrellas ****, al menos para mí que soy fan de este subgénero y que imaginar la historia de un ex militar con el cerebro cableado me ha gustado. (ojo que en The Peripheral de William Gibson hay personaje así).

Rock on – Pat Cadigan : raro y difícil de seguir, con mucha jerga propia que despista pero con un ambiente que me recordó a Vurt y solo por eso le doy 4 estrellas ****.

Los chicos de la calle 400 – Marc Laidlaw : una especie de Mad Max con extraterrestres. No está mal y se lee bien, así que 3 estrellas ***

Solsticio – James Patrick Kelly : una gran historia, muy ciberpunk y bien hilada, con un final que no me queda claro y por ello no le doy más que 4 estrellas **** Ese mundo de droga libre me ha recordado a Cuando falla la gravedad.

Petra – Greg Bear : Esto no es ciberpunk y no debería estar en esta antología, al menos en mi opinión de lector. Además es más fantasía que ciencia-ficción. Así que solo 2 estrellas **.

Hasta que nos despierten voces humanas – Lewis Shiner : me ha gustado esta historia corta. Especialmente al haber buceado me ha resultado escalofriante la forma en la que describe forzar la reserva de aire. Se merece 4 estrellas ****.

Cuentos de Houdini – Rudy Rucker : no sé por qué lo han incluido, ni es cyberpunk, ni ciencia-ficción, ni nada. Lo mismo en una antología steampunk tendría sentido, pero para mí es 1 estrella *.

Zona libre – John Shirley : Ejercicio de estilo ciberpunk. Algo más largo y con intro tipo world-bulding. La historia se queda a medias. Sería un 2 o 3 estrellas y punto ***.

Stone vive – Paul di Filippo : me ha gustado bastante y aunque el final es precipitado, creo que es un perfecto ejemplo de ciberpunk. Para mí una historia de 4 estrellas ****.

Estrella roja, orbita invernal – Bruce Sterling y William Gibson : leí esta historia en Quemando cromo y la he vuelto a disfrutar aún más. 5 estrellas totales *****. El final me pone los pelos de punta. Soy un científico romántico.»

Mozart con gafas de espejo – Bruce Sterling y Lewis Shiner : sorprendente relato a caballo entre el steampunk y el ciberpunk. Con un par de personajes tipo Rick y Morty viajando a universos paralelos y en el tiempo. Una locura de 5 estrellas para mí. 5 estrellas *****
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,023 followers
December 29, 2015
Perhaps looking back at cyberpunk from 2014, it is impossible to fully grasp what the authors at the beginning of that movement were truly about. We have Bruce Sterling's intro of this anthology to help us out, including other names for the movement at the time - Outlaw Technologists, Eighties Wave, Radical Hard SF, and others. Maybe we just needed to call it the Weird at the time, and in each decade assign different authors to that category.

When I read this anthology I struggle to place each story within the parameters of what I would call cyberpunk. Is time traveling and stealing art from Thomas Jefferson cyberpunk or just time travel and alternate reality? Is a future where humans mate with stone statues cyberpunk? Or even a near future where Russia's space program is folding? To me, none of these stories fit, and there are only twelve in the anthology to begin with. Sterling points out that it is a label none of them chose, and I think it was just an attempt to capture people who were experimenting with new ideas and directions in science fiction in the 1980s. This isn't an anthology to read if you are hoping for more stories like William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy. It's just not what it is.

The best story to me was Solstice by James Patrick Kelly, but more for its ideas than how it was written. It combined Stonehenge with custom designer drugs, clones, and cryogenics. I also really liked Red Star, Winter Orbit co-written by Gibson-Sterling but just thought it was a solid regular old science fiction story.

To read the stories online:

The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson

Snake-Eyes by Tom Maddox

(Rock On by Pat Cadigan only available online in German!)

Tales of Houdini by Rudy Rucker

(400 Boys by Marc Laidlaw)

(Solstice by James Patrick Kelly)

(Petra by Greg Bear)

Till Human Voices Wake Us by Lewis Shiner

(Freezone by John Shirley)

(Stone Lives by Paul di Filippo)

Red Star, Winter Orbit by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson

(Mozart in Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner)
Profile Image for D.M. Dutcher .
Author 1 book49 followers
February 16, 2015
Incredibly dated and barely even cyberpunk.

Brief short story collection from the early days of cyberpunk, with some authors that you'd consider it (Gibson, Cadigan, Rucker, Sterling) and some you wouldn't (Greg Bear.) The stories themselves are bad, as many don't even bother with computers or the internet at all, and come across as a weird "rock and roll" version of New Wave SF. The focus on drugs seems naïve in a world where people deal with mood-altering drugs to medicate mental issues on a daily basis; no "drug artists," just HMOs and a lot of tawdriness.

The whole "rock and roll" punk aesthetic feels dated now, as in Cadigan's piece. It feels quaint, because even in the 90s rock was dead, and punk itself as an aesthetic died too. Some of the stories even feel like parodies before parodies: Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum" feels like a bad piece of his "cool hunter" post-cyberpunk days, despite being his first published story. There's the cyberpunk trend of hard, last-name protagonists: Stone, Cage. John Shirley's Freezone is probably the book's best take on cyberpunk, and it's interminable to read.

Probably the best indication of the book's staleness is the title. I don't think anyone now thinks mirrorshades are cool. Mirrorshades now are the domain of the cop, the authority figure who wants to hide his eyes. Mirrorshades are what determines the bad cop from the good cop in The Lego Movie. This book is interesting as a historical piece, and as a documentation of why "movements" in SF tend to not survive beyond the key novels that define them. As a collection of stories around the popular idea of cyberpunk, it fails badly.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,601 reviews414 followers
February 24, 2017
-Cyberpunk en el mayor sentido posible del subgénero literario.-

Género. Relatos.

Lo que nos cuenta. Con nota preliminar de Andoni Alonso e Iñaki Arzoz, y con prólogo de Bruce Sterling, ambos pequeños ensayos de lo que significó (y significa) el movimiento Cyberpunk, recopilación de trabajos cortos que exploran distintas vertientes de esa corriente que trajo ideas frescas a la Ciencia ficción hace algo más de treinta años y que es mucho más extensa que implantes, virtualidad, delincuencia y corporaciones (y eso puede chocar a más de un lector, avisados quedan).

¿Quiere saber más de este libros, sin spoilers? Visite:

http://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com/...
Profile Image for Brian .
413 reviews5 followers
December 27, 2019
Sterling organized this collection to introduce the Cyperpunk genre to the 1980's. In the preface to his own story, he writes: "Something is loose in the 1980's. And we are all in it together."

Each writer displays masterful skill in writing the short story form. They were fun and entertaining, and satisfied my literary hunger for resonance. Others made me wonder where they were taking the story, and reminded me of Hemingway, how he writes a story with a deeper meaning, but you wanted a plot and a solid conflict-crisis-resolution.

A few quotes I appreciate:

In the inside of the back cover - "These are all hot young verbal pilots who think nothing of taking forty-thousand tons of screaming heavy metal prose and throwing it straight at the ground in a forced power dive shedding sparks and literary chaos only to pull up at the last possible instant shy of total grammatical implosion just to see the horrified looks on the pale upturned faces of the civilians as the afterburners cut in" (Micheal Swanwick).

"His tears are the color of an oil rainbow on wet asphalt" (Marc Laidlaw, 400 Boys)

"Makes you susceptible. Receptive to subliminals worked in the design of signs, that gaudy kinetics, those f***ing on-off bulbs- makes you flash on the old computer-thinking models, binomial thinking, on-off, on-off, blink-blink - all those neon tubes, pulling you like the hypnotist's spiral pendant in the old movies" (John Shirley, Freezone).



"Mirrored sunglasses have been a Movement totem since the early days of '82. The reasons for this are not hard to grasp. By hiding the eyes, mirrorshades prevent the forces of normalcy from realizing that one is crazed and possibly dangerous. They are the symbol of the sun-staring visionary, the biker, the rocker, the policeman, and similar outlaws. Mirrorshades- preferably in chrome and matte black, the Movement's totem colors- appeared in story after story, as a kind of literary badge."
- Bruce Sterling
Profile Image for Jesse.
198 reviews
November 29, 2014
A very mixed bag. This probably counts as essential reading for fans of cyberpunk, but only some of the stories qualify, genre-wise. However, the other stories fit in in terms of era. They are more interesting academically, as a glimpse into what else was going on in literary sci fi in the early 80's.

Of special note is that the 2 Gibson stories printed here were also included in Burning Chrome, so if you, like me, initially picked this us as a Gibson completist, you will be a little disappointed. Oh well, my fault, the tiniest amount of research would have prevented that. But this is still absolutely worth reading. The stories are all over the place, but they show fantastic imagination.

As as far as re-reading Gibson goes, it was cool to re-read Red Star, Winter Orbit. There is something trippy about reading a 30-year-old sci fi story, set approximately now, about the Soviet Union... A bizarre and fun time capsule.
Profile Image for Andrew.
138 reviews6 followers
August 26, 2010
Cyberpunk used to mean so much more than crazy future clothes, oppressive corporate regimes, and cybernetic enhancements, but these days the word mostly conjures up Gibsonian dystopias. It's interesting to read a broader range of stories from the time, selected by people who were part of 'the Movement', but it might be even more interesting to read Bruce Sterling talk about himself in the third person when he describes prominent figures of cyberpunk. Amusing!
Profile Image for Shaitarn.
484 reviews33 followers
February 22, 2020
3 and a bit stars rounded down.

This anthology collects together twelve stories from the beginning of the cyberpunk genre in the 1980s. While I’m not well-versed in the genre (a lot of sci-fi leaves me cold), I’ve enjoyed the Gibson novels I read in the past, and a couple of films. I’m not sure I’d class all these stories as cyberpunk as such – some seem more some variation of speculative fiction than anything else (one story has Houdini performing various escape acts of increasing difficulty; what does that have to do with cyberpunk?!); and some of the ‘80s preoccupations are as much of an anachronism as a Pan Am logo in Blade Runner these days (such as the mention of the cold war and the space race) but that aside, I found this an enjoyable anthology.

The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson and Mozart in Mirrorshades by Bruce Stirling & Lewis Shiner were my absolute favourites. I also enjoyed Stone Lives and Freezone. To be honest, the only stories I didn’t like that much were Petra and Rock On, neither of which did anything for me.

All in all, I thought it was a decent collection; probably worth getting if you’re curious about stories written when the cyberpunk genre was getting started, and heavy on the punk..
Profile Image for Oscar.
1,867 reviews474 followers
April 18, 2016
‘Mirrorshades: Una antología cyberpunk’ (Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, 1986), es una recopilación de relatos a cargo de Bruce Sterling, que intenta ser una representación de este subgénero de la ciencia ficción (pequeña definición de cyberpunk: normalmente transcurre en un futuro cercano, distópico, dominado por megacorporaciones, donde se aúnan personajes marginales con alta tecnología, en una ambiente próximo al género negro, todo ello bajo una estética que recuerda a la película ‘Blade Runner’).

virtual

De entre los relatos recogidos en la antología, me quedo únicamente con tres. El resto me han parecido bastante flojos.

-El continuo de Gernsback, de William Gibson. El protagonista es un fotógrafo al que se le encarga un trabajo, hacer fotos de edificios y arquitecturas retrofuturistas, inspiradas en las obras de la ciencia ficción de los años 30 y 40. Hasta aquí todo normal, pero un buen día la realidad de las fotografías empieza a filtrarse en su propia realidad. Gran relato.

-Ojos de serpiente, de Tom Maddox
-Rock On, de Pat Cadigan
-Cuentos de Houdini, de Rudy Rucker
-Los chicos de la calle 400, de Marc Laidlaw
-Solsticio, de James Patrick Kelly

-Petra, de Greg Bear. En un futuro post apocalíptico, cercano a la Edad Media, una catedral gótica esconde a humanos y a seres de carne y piedra. Me ha parecido muy bueno, aunque está más cercano a la fantasía que al cyberpunk.

-Hasta que nos despierten voces humanas, de Lewis Shiner
-Zona libre, de John Shirley
-Stone vive, de Paul di Filippo

-Estrella roja, órbita invernal, de Bruce Sterling y William Gibson. En un futuro donde la Unión Soviética tiene la primacía en el espacio, la estación Kosmogrado pasa por problemas, ya que se ha tomado la decisión de desmantelarla, y sus habitantes deben abandonarla. Pero no todos están dispuesta a dejarla. Muy buen relato.

-Mozart con gafas de espejo, de Bruce Sterling y Lewis Shiner
Profile Image for Enric Herce.
Author 14 books55 followers
December 5, 2017
4,25/5
Para muchos el libro de referencia del movimiento, más incluso que Neuromante. Tanto en el prólogo como en la selección de autores y relatos, Sterling sienta los pilares del ciberpunk.
Me ha parecido muy interesante la variedad en la temática y enfoque de los relatos, mucho más variopinta de lo que uno espera de un subgénero que el tiempo ha terminado encasillando en historias de género negro pobladas por personajes posthumanos de estética manga que pululan por megalópolis superpobladas.
Especialmente revelador resulta el primer relato de la antología, «El continuo de Gernsback» de William Gibson, que sin duda romperá los esquemas a todos aquellos que consideran inseparabales distopía y ciberpunk. En este relato puede comprobarse como, ni en los cimientos del movimiento hubo nunca especial interés por hacer crítica social, ni un mundo perfecto tiene por qué ser siempre deseable para cualquiera.
Profile Image for Libros Prohibidos.
866 reviews350 followers
Read
December 6, 2021
Una antología como Mirrorshades, de 1986, supone considerar su prólogo con la misma importancia que los relatos que presenta. Cuando una antología se convierte en un manifiesto o es tan racionalizada que, de forma irónica, termina por convertirse en la «biblia» de un movimiento, el antologista se mueve en la frontera entre editor y autor.

Reseña completa: https://libros-prohibidos.com/vv-aa-m...
Author 7 books2 followers
January 10, 2018
Patchy. As this is the book that defines the cyberpunk "movement" in a way, it seems churlish to say that some of the stories are more fantasy than cyberpunk, but as the genre is today, that's the case.
Profile Image for Gumbo Ya-ya.
130 reviews
March 16, 2020
In what seems to be becoming a trend for me in anthologised short fiction, Mirrorshades as a collection shines despite many of the individual stories being rather lacklustre. Reading this book more than 30 years after it was published, and having read quite a bit of cyberpunk fiction that was released in those same three decades, has provided an interesting perspective on what cyberpunk was to the people who created it and caused me to seriously rethink my own ideas about what makes something cyberpunk. Certainly the punk in cyberpunk is much more clearly on display here, the movement more clearly linked to the music and culture of its namesake. Also on display here are the preoccupations of the '80s: the Soviet bloc, the threat of nuclear war, a vision of mankind's future in space, and probably others that I didn't pick up on. Mirrorshades really highlights the '80s-ness of cyberpunk, making the raft of later works that aped Gibson's sprawl aesthetic and, in so doing, twisted the popular perception of what cyberpunk was, seem like a new genre, tied to cyberpunk, inheriting its legacy, but not actually part of it. Similarly, many of the stories included in this anthology don't seem to me to fit into the cyberpunk pigeonhole, largely due to an aesthetic mismatch. There is a link, certainly, in the tone, the voice of the writing, a more conversational, street-level prose, but the settings often fail to squeeze into my existing idea of cyberpunk. Sterling's summary of what he calls, rather grandiosely, the Movement can probably be taken as authoritative in its time and accepting that it comes from within. History seems to have chosen to define cyberpunk rather differently in retrospect to what its early proponents thought of their own creation. And I think I can accept and be happy with the mild dissonance that is introduced by this definitional schism.
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Bruce Sterling, Preface: ★★★☆☆

Probably the best introduction to a collection that I have thus read. Sterling does a great job of stressing the key elements of cyberpunk and discussing the manner in which this (then nascent) movement coalesced. He briefly predicts its demise as the authors who made it diverge. He does repeat himself a little, but it comes across as appropriate reinforcement of his ideas, rather than harping.
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William Gibson, The Gernsback Continuum: ★★★☆☆

This story has pleasing depth that belies its length and the seeming simplicity of its central conceit. Gibson condenses to a pithy and often humorous jaunt what could have been an incredibly lengthy essay on the changing nature of the future and the shifting societal attitudes to scientific and technological advancement. There are several amusing comments on industrial design and the notion of "photographing something that isn't there" adds an extra philosophical layer to the story, leaving the reader with the feeling that they've just read multiple tales in the same text, always a welcome thing. The whole thing is presented in Gibson's brilliantly conversational, character-infused prose.

On reading this story, which I read before any of the others in this anthology, I didn't feel like it actually belonged to the cyberpunk genre, though having read the whole anthology now and gone through something of a shift in my understanding of what cyberpunk is --or at least was-- I can totally get behind it.
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Tom Maddox, Snake-Eyes: ★★☆☆☆

This is one of those short stories that feels like a sketch for a much longer work. This could have been a tight, tense, claustrophobic techno-thriller. At this length, though, none of the characters have time to develop up to a believability threshold, the action is too linear, and there is no real sense of peril, as one hasn't had time to become attached to any of the characters.
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Pat Cadigan, Rock On: ★★☆☆☆

This story is a bit style over substance for me. The style is definitely there, definitely great, but in a story of this length, it was sometimes counter-productive, obscuring the content of the tale, acting as a barrier to understanding. Again, this would have been better as a longer story, with more time allowed for the style to become familiar to the reader.
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Rudy Rucker, Tales of Houdini: ★☆☆☆☆

I am baffled as to how this story is cyberpunk, let alone any subgenre of science fiction. It's just... odd. I guess, in the context of the other stories in this anthology it does seem to have that same kind of street-wise voice. The language is good, it definitely smacks of the '80s/early '90s, but this one didn't really connect with me.
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Marc Laidlaw, 400 Boys: ★★☆☆☆

This story, which a very particularly '80s post-apocalyptic vibe to it, immediately made me think of work by Jeff Noon, Michael Marshall Smith, and Jeff VanderMeer. It's weird fiction. It also seemed like it needed to be longer to really pack a punch. The ideas behind it, the characters within it, were not suited to the brevity of the story; nothing had time to develop sufficiently.
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James Patrick Kelly, Solstice: ★★★★☆
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Greg Bear, Petra: ★★★☆☆
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Lewis Shiner, Till Human Voices Wake Us: ★★☆☆☆

I really liked the idea behind this story, and the setting. The tone was beautifully haunting. It just didn't quite come together. It was rushed and the rushing compromised the character development, hamstringing the work in the process as this is a very character-focused piece.
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John Shirley, Freezone: ★★☆☆☆

This story is composed of three parts: an uncompelling infodump and two scenes, both of which ripple with style and energy, neither of which quite makes a tale in its own right. The three are stitched together into some Frankenstein's monster of a tale and it just doesn't work. Either of the scenes --a rocker's last concert in a rapidly changing entertainment landscape and a neon-drenched chase scene-- or both, could have been happily expanded into individual tales with a tightness that comes with a well-written short work. As it is, this story is flabby and unsatisfying.
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Paul di Filippo, Stone Lives: ★★★☆☆

I would have labelled this story as a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy tale personally, or just plain fantasy. Taken alone, I would question it being labelled as cyberpunk; taken as a part of this anthology, especially next to several other stories that don't fit my pre-existing boundary set for cyberpunk, it serves to further illustrate how broad and open the subgenre was in its nascent phase, how narrow a sliver of it has retained the label thirty years later. The style of prose, the voice, definitely fits with the other stories here, evern as the setting and tone departs markedly, and this voice seems to be the thing that emerges in this anthology as the critical focus of cyberpunk.

Stone Lives has strong character building and weaves a fun tale. The world building and treatment of themes are not as strong but by no means weak. A solid story that suits its length.
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Bruce Sterling & William Gibson, Red Star, Winter Orbit: ★★★★☆

This is a great piece of short fiction, nailing character, plot, and world-building with efficiency that would make Checkov proud. The space station setting is a well-realised hard-scifi, near future piece of tech. The politics are a perhaps a bit dated now and may well have been rather ham-fisted even in the '80s but it works in service of the story. One could imagine this as a brilliant entry in a collection of vignettes that painted a whole world, a future that never was; definitely a story that left me wanting more even as it felt in itself complete and well-contained.
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Bruce Sterling & Lewis Shiner, Mozart in Mirrorshades: ★★★☆☆

The central conceit of this story --splitting off a fork timeline-- is one that I've read several treatments of recently, two by William Gibson, and all of them have been so different in tone. Though, like many of the short stories I read, this felt like it could have happily been longer, unlike most it did not actually suffer for its length, managing to put everything necessary onto the page, getting in and out like a story-telling corporate ninja, high on amphetamine, spewing a verbal diarrhea of pithy witticisms... Definitely on the more tongue-in-cheek side of the cyberpunk spectrum.

640 reviews
January 13, 2018
I am not a big fan of short stories. That said, there were some decent entries (Solstice by James Patrick Kelly and Freezone by John Shirley among them). There were also some I didn't care for. One was co-authored by William Gibson who is actually my favorite cyber-punk author. In a few places the stories were getting dated. Nor surprising since they were all written over 30 years ago. If you are a big fan of 80's SF it might be worth reading.
Profile Image for Nicholas Avedon.
Author 6 books128 followers
February 7, 2017
Bastante irregular. Algunos relatos son malos y no entiendo que hacen en una compilación ciberpunk y otros bastante buenos, el que más destaca es el de "Zona libre" de Shirley, por su prosa y su innovación. Escribí una crítica mas completa en mi blog sobre este relato: https://www.nicholasavedon.com/zona-l...
Profile Image for Ian Casey.
394 reviews14 followers
January 18, 2018
Other than Dangerous Visions, is there a more lauded and groundbreaking multi-author anthology in science fiction than Mirrorshades? Indeed, it's tempting here to review the context of the book moreso than the book itself, so forgive me such digressions.

To a reader over three decades on the text is, frankly, a little patchy. As might be expected, it's quite varied in tone and style, from the whimsical to the overwrought. Some of it's outside of what one immediately thinks of as cyberpunk post-Neuromancer. Most of it definitely has that 'punk' feel for both good and ill, the core of which is the experimental, un-refined DIY ethic. It's full of youthful vigor, social commentary, environmental concerns, drugs, body modification, high-tech in low places, alternative sub-cultures and a whole lot of anger.

Some visions of the future get a lot right, as with John Shirley's take on 2017 (revised to 2037 in later versions of his novel Eclipse) in his story 'Freezone'. Unfortunately this accuracy is conveyed via some awfully clumsy info-dumping. Others are further off the mark, but then accurate prediction is rarely the point of speculative fiction. They're here to explore ideas, some of which now seem quaint while are only increasing in relevance.

On a more superficial level, I found all the stories more or less entertaining.

'Petra' by Greg Bear didn't thrill me greatly, yet I admire it for its imaginative weirdness that so defies my expectations of cyberpunk.

'Solstice' by James Patrick Kelly threw around some potentially incongruous ideas about Stonehenge, druidism, hippies, designer drugs and genetic engineering, yet achieved the most compelling characterisation and exploration of the human condition to be found in this anthology.

'Snake Eyes' by James Maddox considered the military applications of extreme technological mind-and-body alteration and its effects upon the humanity of a person. In that respect it serves to highlight the overlap between cyberpunk and traditional military sci-fi which was to grow over the years.

'Stone Lives' by Paul di Fillipo was for me another highlight. It was a tad unpolished, as may be expected from an inexperienced writer (regardless of punk ethos), but as with Kelly's tale it succeeded at emphasising the human element in a dystopian technological corporatist future. It had a sense of parable to it which was strengthened by the twist ending (possibly a forseeable one, but I was too engrossed in each page to predict it).

Other stories such as '400 Boys' by Marc Laidlaw and 'Rock On' by Pat Cadigan read to me as early 'textbook' examples of the cyberpunk aesthetic and didn't resonate with me beyond the evocatively colourful language and world-building.

Bruce Sterling's brainchild born in 1986 was admittedly not quite the colossal undertaking of Harlan Ellison's in 1967, obviously due to length but more pertinently due to most of the material having already appeared (then-recently) in print.

Nonetheless, he was able to forge a cultural landmark by gathering together the bastard offspring of post-modern literature and bleeding-edge sci-fi and put a label to a subgenre that maintains its appeal over three decades later. At my time of writing, for example, Netflix's Altered Carbon series is about to launch, Amazon have announced their own series adapting Snow Crash, a Neuromancer film adaptation which may or may not eventuate has had Tim Miller attached to direct, and Blade Runner 2049 is arriving on home media.

Does giving a name to a movement help to shape and unify it, or merely shine a light of classification (dubious in its necessity) on something that was already there? Regardless, Bruce Bethke and Gardner Dozois (and maybe some others) gave cyberpunk its name. It was arguably Sterling, however, who gave it its rallying-flag.

p.s. I am privileged to own a near-perfect condition first edition hardcover copy (the red one, from Arbor House) and it's a prized possession. Privileged, that is, by virtue of having paid a substantial sum, but then what is privilege if not having that option?

p.p.s. Unfortunately, there is as yet no ebook version of the anthology. However, most of the stories are legitimately available online such as through author's websites, or in other ebooks. Two stories appear in Gibson's 'Burning Chrome' collection. John Shirley's is extracted and slightly edited from chapters 6 to 9 of his novel 'Eclipse'. Pat Cadigan's turns up in the hybrid fiction/non-fiction anthology 'Storming the Reality Studio'. Using means such as 'Send to Kindle', it is possible to get versions from a website into an e-reader or app, also.
Profile Image for Jesús Redondo Menéndez.
33 reviews8 followers
June 30, 2012

Una breve reflexión sobre las antologías:
Por lo general nunca he tenido una buena predisposición hacia ellas, a no ser que fueran del mismo autor, ya que siempre me he quedado insatisfecho por lo breves de los relatos... y siempre he acabado disfrutando mucho de ellas.
Es cierto que hay piezas que no terminan de llenarte, pero si la selección está bien hecha, suelen ser las menos, y a cambio tienes un ramillete muy amplio de ejercicios narrativos que seguramente no conocías. Eso es lo que me ha vuelto pasar con esta antología que, quitando a Gibson, no conocía a nadie y me he llevado muy gratas sorpresas, que me llevarán a buscar más de esos autores...

Una breve reflexión sobre ESTA antología:
La breve presentación de cada autor en el contexto del género (el cyberpunk) me parece genial, pues te da un poco de perspectiva de lo que puedes esperar de él, no vas "a ciegas". Me ha resultado muy útil, pues como dije anteriormente, casi no conocía a ninguno de los autores.
La selección de los relatos me parece muy acertada, pues cubre un abanico amplísimo de opciones dentro del cyberpunk y la ciencia ficción: la mezcla de lo cibernético con lo biológico, viaje en el tiempo, las drogas como medio de ampliación de los límites perceptivos, etc.
También me ha gustado que el background de los autores fuera también tan variopinto: desde el archiconocido Gibson (autor de Neuromante o Conde Cero, entre otras), de enorme influencia en el género cyberpunk, sobre todo en la estética, pasando por los polifacéticos Pat Cadigan o John Shirley (ambos músicos), que mezclan el rock con la ciencia ficción, hasta la desoladora narrativa de Lewis Shiner, que aprovecha su rico bagaje cultural para plantearnos relatos fronterizos entre la fantasía, el horror y la ciencia ficción...

Mis relatos favoritos:
-Ojos de serpiente, de Tom Maddox, por la rica recreación de los estados mentales del protagonista al coquetear con las drogas psicotrópicas y sus alteraciones neutrales.
-Petra, de Greg Bear, por montar un mundo de fantasía creíble en un cosmos muy reducido, apoyándose en figuras de la antropología religiosa conocidas por todo el mundo, y aprovecharla para ensayar varios de los prejuicios morales en ese nuevo escenario de una forma bastante original.
-Zona Libre de John Shirley, por su excelente ambientación de lo que una novela cyberpunk requiere, junto con toda una estética rockera y las contradicciones que envuelven la vida de una estrella venida a menos.
-Stove vive, de Pau di Filippo, por el misterio con el que es introducido el personaje principal dentro de un mundo lleno de contrastes, escondiendo perfectamente su característica principal, aunque siempre la hemos tenido delante. Soberbio.

¿La recomendaría?
Sin ninguna duda. No es una obra de actualidad, está claro, pues se encuadra en los 80's/90's, que ya han quedado lejos, pero sí es una obra que remueve todos los ingredientes del cóctel que fue el cyberpunk y te ofrece la posibilidad de retomar el género y releer ideas que han sido de gran influencia en la ciencia ficción posterior.

Profile Image for Jack Grimes.
14 reviews
August 14, 2022
Weirdly the most striking stuff in here is the least cyberpunk. Every story has its own cool hooks and ideas, but the ones I remember the best are about the weird gargoyle guy and Harry Houdini. Altogether a great collection.
Profile Image for Max.
1,144 reviews7 followers
August 23, 2017
This anthology got off to a pretty disappointing start, but fortunately I stuck with it because by the end there were some pretty good stories. Gibson's The Gernsback Continuum isn't really cyberpunk, but it is a significant observation on the difference between the 50s vision of the future and that in the 80s. What I find amusing is that somebody could easily write a Gibson Continuum story now highlighting the differences between the 80s future and ours. As demonstrated by a number of the stories here, perhaps the most disappointing difference to me is the confidence these authors had in the continuance of space travel. While generally the space stations mentioned here are either for the extremely wealthy or just a small number of government agents, they're still in much better shape than our own space program. I found Tales of Houdini to be immensely disappointing because it has absolutely nothing at all to do with cyberpunk. Rock On and Solstice were both a bit of a let down plotwise, but I love the ideas of human synthesizers and drug artists. 400 Boys and Petra are both fairly weird, almost fantasy stories. Petra was fun for being somewhat like Mage the Ascension, exploring the concept of consensual reality and what happens when shaping the world is left in the hands of humanity rather than God. I've read Freezone before, in an anthology of sci-fi and fantasy rock stories, and I enjoyed it just as much this time; only this time I've finally ordered a copy of Eclipse so I can find out what happens next. Snake-Eyes and Till Human Voices Wake us were both neat stories about humans becoming something more, or maybe less, than human. The las three stories, Stone Lives, Red Star, Winter Orbit, and Mozart in Mirrorshades were all a lot of fun and I really wish there was more to them. Red Star, Winter Orbit was a nice exploration of a future MIR and what happens when the funding runs out, but unlike the real MIR, an astronaut gets stranded. Stone Lives is a sort of rags-to-riches cyberpunk story, which makes it a fair bit different than the typical "I'm poor and life is awful" cyberpunk narrative. I'd love to see whether Stone manages to make life better, or if like so many other cyberpunk captains of industry he continues to screw over the planet. Mozart in Mirrorshades is a gonzo time travel romp about Mozart becoming a rock musician, and I'd love to see what happens to him when he gets back to the main timeline. All in all, there are a few bad stories, as will happen with an anthology, but mostly it's good stuff, and makes me interested in reading more cyberpunk. I just wish this was in print so I could more easily get other people to check it out - and that whoever had had it at the library before me hadn't left obnoxious comments written on the pages.
Profile Image for Adelas.
186 reviews11 followers
December 17, 2020
I think I'm just not a cyberpunk fan, or at least not this old-school cyberpunk. The stream-of-consciousness presentation is the worst part, to me, but the content isn't a lot better.

So many of these authors think it's cool to throw random jargon, names, etc, without any reason to do so, as if making up words is worldbuilding. They all seem to be excited about drugs, particularly hallucinogens. A lot of the stories are misogynist, male-gazing slobberingly at the naked chicks they condescend to add for something to keep up your interest (or erection) between scenes. The technology, instead of being casual, familiar to the characters who have supposedly had it available their whole lives, is usually very bombastically presented as something to be impressed by (hint: in most cases it's unrealistic in a laughable way, or something we've already surpassed in real life).

I think there were two stories in here that I actually enjoyed (the music one, and the elevated blind guy one), although they could have benefited from cleanups as mentioned above. I think the authors sometimes had interesting ideas, but I really can't see myself looking up any of them in the hopes that they changed their style.

to quote a random redditor:
I see elements of cyberpunk in a lot of different scifi - the Belters in The Expanse, the Ultras of Revelation Space. I think transhumanism is sort of an evolved form of cyberpunk.

Has cyberpunk become just an aesthetic? Even if it has been, I want more of just that.

And I don't need any more of whatever Mirrorshades was.
Profile Image for Jana..
52 reviews5 followers
August 8, 2018
look, did i read all the stories? no
will i do so someday? mAYBE (h a, sure)
do i care? nah



honestly . . . the best part of this anthology is the foreword.
– it's a really cool, if vaguely outdated (look, fawning over the punkness of home photocopiers just did not age well man) and fanboy-y, essay about scifi and society and the genre of cyberpunk, and it makes the rest of the collection look really sad in comparison.
the real plot twist is how the quality of the foreword suggests the man who compiled these stories knows his shit and isnt a complete idiot, and then the stories are varying levels of torture to get through.
there are some pretty neat ones in there, i admit, but then there's also the convoluted, the way-too-long-for-the-short-story-format, the "how many women can we objectify in under 2 pages",
the gargoyles?
i feel like either i just got more and more disillusioned by my newest wave of "i wanna read more classic scifi!!!" enthusiasm or the stories actually got progressively worse the farther you got into the book, like the author realised too late there weren't enough good stories to fill the book he promised his publisher and he pulled a really frantic all nighter scraping together Everything he could find.


heres to hoping cyberpunk 2077 will bore me less~
Profile Image for Standndie.
101 reviews
July 11, 2018
Слегка разочаровывающая антология, да.

От книги с таким названием ожидаешь киберпанка, что логично. А нетушки, не дождетесь.

Вся беда, что антология, составленная Стерлингом, знакомит нас не с киберпанком, но знакомит с авторами - киберпанками, друзьями Стерлинга. Но я-то рассчитывал на хорошие рассказы в жанре киберпанк, да и не я один, думаю. Да, киберпанка тут нет, ну да ладно. Зато есть киберпанки, авторы, благодаря которым жанр развился в то, чем он стал. И вот я склонен отнести весь этот набор рассказов к эдакой предыстории жанра, пусть будет так, в этом я себя уже убедил.

Антология всё равно более-менее хороша, если не считать нескольких никакущих рассказов - "Пока людские голоса не разбудили нас" Шайнера (самый отвратительный и никчемный, можно даже сказать), "Рокенроллим" Кэдиган, "Истории Гудини" Рюкера, ну и "Красная звезда, зимняя орбита" самого Гибсона и Стерлинга. Ну это имхо, конечно, как же без этого.

На этом фоне я могу выделить 2-3 самых шикарный, самых запоминающихся рассказов - это конечно же "Солнцестояние", "Камень", "Кремень жив". Вот эта троица очень и очень сильно выделяется. Они шикарны, и пожалуй, только из-за них можно оставить книгу на полке.
1,554 reviews5 followers
July 21, 2022
Fairly hit-and-miss collection which showcases some interesting writers but is very invested in the idea of cyberpunk as a cohesive movement - but if these stories are meant to be representative of it, this is compelling evidence that the "movement" is no such thing. Full review: https://fakegeekboy.wordpress.com/200...
Profile Image for El Zuco .
38 reviews6 followers
January 10, 2013
Just started the book but already love it... why haven't I been reading cyberpunk my whole life? The excellent first short story by Gibson, "Gernsback Continuum," narrates the story of a contract photographer hired to document the vestiges of 1930's US futurism, but also somehow manages to function as an abbreviated history of US modernism in the twentieth century and a commentary on the history of science fiction whose negativity suggests a cyberpunk vision in confronting the present (early 1980's)... great ish!... The second story is good so far, we'll see how the rest of it goes...

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Profile Image for Ninja Pigeon.
30 reviews
October 18, 2015


Contains many of my favorite examples of cyberpunk fiction. From Mozart in Mirrorshades, to the WW1 flight combat sim done in 3D Virtual Reality, this anthology is a collection of many amazing writers and their stories. All of them have stuck with me for the last 15+ years and influenced many of my own writing, and movie decisions. A must read for any beginner to the sci-fi and specifically cyberpunk genre. Also of note - my iPad doesn't try to correct the word "cyberpunk". Kudos to Gibson and Sterling for that I'm sure.
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