Burning Chrome

{4/5} “When Rikki showed up, he needed one in the worst way. He was fading fast, and smart money was already whispering that the edge was off his game. He needed that one big score, and soon, because he didn’t know any other kind of life, and all his clocks were set for hustler’s time, calibrated in risk and adrenaline and that supernal dawn calm that comes when every move’s proved right and a sweet lump of someone else’s credit clicks into your own account.”

Burning Chrome by William Gibson is a collection of short stories published in 1986. Three of the stories were co-written with other authors.

“Burning Chrome” — Bobby and Jack are hackers, using any software and hardware tricks they can employ to steal from their marks. Bobby gets it in his head to steal from Chrome, a rich and powerful woman — they will have to take everything from her, otherwise she’ll get them back. But is Bobby up to the challenge? Even Jack isn’t sure. But he’s along for the ride — whatever happens happens.

This is the most interesting story that’s about Gibson’s vision of cyberspace — and the word “cyberspace” was coined by Gibson in this story.

“Red Star, Winter Orbit” (with Bruce Sterling) — Colonel Korolev has been in space for so long that he can no longer return to Earth. But aboard the space station Kosmograd he has both military and civilian visitors who stay for a time. Now the Soviet leaders have decided to recall everyone but him, ostensibly because of some black market activities. What can he do to stop this from happening? Go on strike.

This is an alternate history / future where the Soviets have more power and a bigger presence in space — you don’t know what’s going to happen.

I felt like I didn’t understand everything that was in a couple of the stories. It’s not one of my favourite collections ever, but these stories are worth reading.

There was a movie version of┬áthe story “Johnny Mnemonic” (1995’s Johnny Mnemonic with Keanu Reaves) but it’s not very good.

I’ve read two other books by Gibson. Neuromancer is an interesting book to discuss but didn’t really grab me as a novel. Pattern Recognition was a more enjoyable read.

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 15th, 2012 at 1:33 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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