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Heavy Weather

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,742 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Bruce Sterling, one of the founding fathers of the cyberpunk genre, now presents a novel of vivid imagination and invention that proves his talent for creating brilliant speculative fiction is sharper than ever.

Forty years from now, Earth's climate has been drastically changed by the greenhouse effect. Tornadoes of almost unimaginable force roam the open spaces of Texas. A
Paperback, 310 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1994)
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,742 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Doc Kinne
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Heavy Weather is Twister in book form - pure and simple.

In some ways the parallels are amazing. The book and the movie came out within two years of each other (can't remember which came first. Both works depict a storm chasing group in the midwest whose lead protagonist is trying to prove a theory. Both even depict...flying cows!

Sterling is one of the best known "cyberpunk" authors, but its important to realize that this book is not cyberpunk in any real sense. It is more "post-apocalyptic" in
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is by far my favorite Sterling book. Unlike his earlier Mechist-Shaper story cycle, this book still seems all-too-possible. Plus, I want that Jumping Jeep with the Smart Wheels. How awesome was THAT thing?! Daaaamn.

At times the clunky prose intrudes, as do some of the obvious "As you know Bob" moments, but overall this is solid stuff, and still feels like it could happen.
Jerry Hanlon
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read Heavy Weather back when it came out in the 90's about Category 5 tornados long b4 it was popular to conceive of dust bowel like extreme weather droughts in the SW part of the US caused by Climate Change. Sterling is from that part of the country.

I don't know the severity of the May 2013 tornado in Oklahoma, maybe a C4-5 and 2 miles wide somewhat like the unbelievable size of hurricane Sandy.

Bruce Sterling's book was my fictional intro to the future of AGW. His descriptions of coming extre
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fun Bruce Sterling novel about post-apocalyptic group of dubious scientists chasing tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma, in search of the ultimate tornado that would be so big that it would be permanent and open a vortex into space. Somewhat of a sci-fi comedy as well.
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, sci-fi
Heavy Weather looks like an adaptation of the movie Twister on the surface: giant tornadoes, obsessed scientists, even that one scene with the flying cow, but it's actually a smart dark mirror that seriously asks and answers the question "What would it be like to live through the worst of anthropocentric climate change?"

In the year 2031, Alex Unger is dying in a private Mexican hospital when his sister Janey breaks him out and takes him for one last fling chasing tornadoes in blasted West Texas,
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Given the extreme weather conditions we have experienced in 2012, this novel from one of the creators of cyberpunk, feels almost ripped from the headlines. And yet, it was published 18 years ago. This is a book about extreme climate change and the the meteorology of North American plains. Weatherpunk? The basic set-up is a band of tornado chasers who operate in 2031 West Texas, a land of declining economics, declining civil order, and declining human survivability. At one point, I did some resea ...more
Third reading of Heavy Weather. I love the descriptions of the tornado chases, they give a visceral thrill to a weather-geek like me (just wish there had been more discussion/description of the F6 tornado and just more about the weather full stop). The political fallout of climate change induced "Heavy weather" are well explored, and considering this book was written in 1993, some of the tech and environmental stuff predicted by Sterling for 2030 are looking pretty likely.

The downside of the bo
Chris Raiin
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good novel. I'm not a fan of long-chapter books, but it kept up a good pace nevertheless. I'm impressed with the small bit of near-future Earth Bruce Sterling presents, especially the "heavy weather" the Storm Troupe chases. Everything seemed very real...and frightening. I enjoyed the culture of the Storm Troupe, not because I'd want to live it, but because I felt like I understood why THEY would choose to live it. The end was a bit weird in terms of how some of the characters came to their re ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
review of
Bruce Sterling's Heavy Weather
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 24, 2017

[See the full review here: ]

I keep picking on Cyberpunk writing in much the same way I pick on Surrealist writing. At the same time that I like it in theory I'm annoyed by it in praxis. What was the last cyberpunk novel I read & reviewed? Weeellll, that depends on how one defines Cyberpunk, obviously. Is Cyberpunk any story in wch societally fringe & rebellio
Apr 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm somewhat torn over Bruce Sterling. Most of his books that I have read are from the late Eighties/early Nineties. The reader is usually introduced to a group of characters with an occupation that is out of the norm, in this case storm chasers/"weather hackers". I always find this aspect of the story very intriguing, with the technical details of the occupation being brought to the forefront to show the ways that these folks might view life differently than the rest of us. It's the endings tha ...more
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: science fiction, apocalyptic
This is a cautionary near-future sci-fi story of the impact of global warming on weather patterns. We are already seeing the beginning of increased storms, tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis (or Heavy Weather).

In 2030, the time period of the story, the majority of the U.S. government's budget goes toward disaster relief. Thousands are homeless, the U.S. economy has collapsed, entire geographic areas are abandoned, and some wildlife species die off while others grow out of control.

The story fol
Feb 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Actual rating is 2.5.

I liked this book at first.
It looked like a book about The Adventure of semi-professionals' & science enthusiasts' group. Everyday life at camp against half-ruined world, usual people, usual desires. Calm-to-extreme routine and F-6 storm somewhere in future.
It felt somehow new - smooth plot, not so outstanding characters, no hard intrigue, but every aspect was well-balanced creating a pleasant picture.
Then the F-6 came. And it still clicked with everything else. What di
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
More character-oriented than my taste. Not sure if character-oriented readers will feel character development is deep enough.
A near-future tale with climate change (and resulting social changes) give a background for a group of tornado chasers / data collectors - and the seriously ill brother of a member of the group. The increased "heavy weather" seems scientifically founded, but I'm not so sure about the basis for the super-storm the tornado chasers are anticipating. When that focus of the boo
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Good premise, but the author tries way too hard to be edgy and high tech. His overstretch technical lingo left me feeling annoyed more than impressed more often than not. Beware the story that aims to preach its post-human excess "this is what Global Warming will do to us" message before it attempts to develop solid characters or plot lines. If you want to scare people with this type of material, write non-fiction. Reality is terrifying enough without embellishment.
Kathy Sebesta
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
The characters are interesting and you want to know about them. In terms of plot, everything up to the climax was interesting and well-crafted, albeit majorly depressing. The climax was ok, the stuff that followed was stupid and nonsense. Spoiler alert: The last thing a book like this needs is a "They lived happily ever after" ending. What a rip.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all cyberpunk fans of Sterling. I loved all the technology he envisioned in this book. Somehow, someway, every scene in this book will probably take place. If you want to know how our future turns out, read Sterling. It's a must.
Janet Guss Darwich
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Scary as hell, and prescient as ever!
Andrea Pappas
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
For some reason I just like this one. Characters are nuts and are in search of the (literally) perfect storm: the F5 tornado.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
Maybe a lot closer to a 3, but sex scenes in books are boring enough as it is, and I'm pretty sure adding an anti-condom homily did nothing to improve the situation.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sterling was hip to our climate change disaster way before it was widely acknowledged.
Fraser Simons
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cyberpunk
More reviews over at my blog:

"I just can't believe that civilization is going to get off the hook that easy. 'The end of civilization'—what end? What civilization, for that matter?...the kind of trouble we got, they aren't allowed to have any end."

It's the year 2031 in Heavy Weather, and perhaps unsurprisingly, things haven't gotten better. Global economies have crashed. Governments hardly function. Currency, communication, and borders have rapidly changed due to the massi
Alex Ross
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the atmosphere, it was really immersive for me and easy to visualize. The kind of cyberpunk I was hoping for. I have to confess, I was a bit struggling at first to understand the motivation of the characters, although it gets clearer later - way later.
I would have enjoyed it much more, but the climax and the ending killed it for me. Introducing a whole bunch of new characters in the climax only to do a brain dump on you about what is really going on, after which these characters disap
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anders Risager
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actually really liked it
Brian Gaston
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Alas, another 3.5 book. Despite being topical these days, I didn't find the book gripping enough for a 4.
R.M. Loveland
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A must-read for people with an interest in climate change SF. Has some weird gender stuff going on that feels out of place now, but hey, it was the 90's. The weather science stuff is fascinating.
Kelly W.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book for a graduate seminar on ecocriticism in later American fiction, and it was probably the only post-19th century lit class I enjoyed in my college career because we read a bunch of science fiction. This book is mainly centered (unsurprisingly) on weather, so if you're a fan of sci fi that deals with environmental collapse, you'll have a good time reading Heavy Weather. My main issues with the novel, however, deal mainly with narrative.

Things I Liked

1. Cyberpunk Genre: I have to
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was alright. I read it because it sounded to me like it would involve people hacking weather and controlling it with technology. That would have been way better than what the book really was about. It was just about people who took readings on bad weather, and the term hack was used instead of something like "do with a particular skill" rather than the usual use of hack that involves altering something existing to do something different, most often with software. That definition that I ...more
Mike Gowan
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is an action adventure set in a west Texas and Oklahoma in the not too distant, but dystopic future. The action consists of chasing and recording the biggest tornado ever. The adventure is that it's very risky and the characters are built to be complicated enough to miss them if they get killed.

The story came out 20 years ago and this past year it seems as though weather is getting heavy. Though not quite as heavy as the book.
I just finished reading it on the day that Atlanta was brought
Oct 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling starts out rather interesting but flounders for the first oh 100 pages or so, gain's a bit of momentum, and then fizzles out.

Like I say it is very interesting subject matter - the problem is that the writer seems unable to really set a tone that draws the reader in. The characters seem almost emotionally divorced from their actions despite some of them proclaiming intense drive an passion. The story has no "atmosphere" which is interesting given what it's about.

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Michael Bruce Sterling is an American science fiction author, best known for his novels and his seminal work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which helped define the cyberpunk genre.
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