D.M. Dutcher 's Reviews > Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling
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did not like it
bookshelves: short-stories

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.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 16, 2015 – Shelved
February 16, 2015 – Shelved as: short-stories
February 16, 2015 – Finished Reading

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Will McGee You seem to criticizing this book for being published in 1988.


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