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Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

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Curved partitions in trans-lucent foam, glowing with the soft lights placed behind them, marked a central area, then undulated away, forming a corridor that led into darkness. But the rest of it was relentlessly tacky: ephemeral stuff extruded by the collective American subconscious of the Thirties, tending mostly to survive along depressing strips lined with dusty motels, mattress wholesalers, and small used-car lots.

In retrospect, I see her walking in beside Cohen under a floating neon sign that flashes THIS WAY LIES MADNESS in huge sans-serif capitals. All across the continent, daily, people who were more normal than I’d ever aspired to be saw giant birds, Bigfeet, flying oil refineries; they kept Kihn busy and solvent.The majority of pages are undamaged with some creasing or tearing, and pencil underlining of text, but this is minimal. Literary tags carry an odd kind of double obnoxiousness: those with a label feel pigeonholed; those without feel neglected. When she asks him about a leather bikini in an issue of Vogue, he pats her on the rear and tells her that she is with him now and can get what she wants. The careless technophilia of those days belongs to a vanished, sluggish era, when authority still had a comfortable margin of control. Cohen had sent me some books on Thirties design, more photos of streamlined buildings, and a list of Dialta Downes’s fifty favorite examples of the style in California.

I rushed into the nearest newstand and gathered up as much as I could find on the petroleum crisis and the nuclear energy hazard. You can see this in Gibson’s 1982 short story Burning Chrome, which makes the connection between cyberpunk and chromium through the image in its title of liquid chrome. Greenberg, editors of the short story collection The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century, felt that it was of sufficient merit to include it in the anthology, which contained only 13 short stories.

I nodded, fishing in my jeans for change, anxious to find a park bench where I could submerge myself in hard evidence of the human near-dystopia we live in.

More than a fashion item, cyberpunk sunglasses are like prosthetics with further uses than making one look good. He also gets political in ways that I like in my SF–of course, Ken MacLeod’s “Fall Revolution” is one of my favorite series of relatively recent vintage, so make of that what you will. Eighties tech sticks to the skin, responds to the touch: the personal computer, the Sony Walkman, the portable telephone, the soft contact lens.

I didn’t rate all the stories, but I did think it was doing something more interesting than the Niven and Asimov that formed much of my then sf diet. Good 1st ed 1986 Paladin paperback, noticeable page tanning and patches of foxing and spotting to lower edge of first pages, occasional underlining in pencil, some corner creasing wear mainly to front cover, tight and unmarked, secure binding. All these contactee stories, for instance, are framed in a kind of sci-fi imagery that permeates our culture.

While the 1995 movie adaptation of Gibson’s story, Johnny Mnemonic, featured Molly renamed as Jane, and with no visual augmentations, the Wachowski Brothers brought her back to the trilogy that kept cyberpunk alive and kicking for the next century. For them, the techniques of classical "hard SF" — extrapolation, technological literacy—are not just literary tools but an aid to daily life. Their allegiance to Eighties culture has marked them as a group — as a new movement in science fiction.Hoped it wouldn’t happen again, but it did, and this time I went to Walter Reed and said, ‘Hey folks, I’m having these episodes. Mirrorshades—preferably in chrome and matte black, the Movement's totem colors — appeared in story after story, as a kind of literary badge. Rice becomes angry and shouts at Mozart that he can not use people like that, and that Realtime will punish him when they find out what he did. Explora la mayor tienda de eBooks del mundo y empieza a leer hoy mismo en la Web, en tu tablet, en tu teléfono o en tu dispositivo electrónico de lectura.

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