Burning Chrome by William Gibson

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After reading Neuromancer, I was really interested in this world that William Gibson created. After a little research I found that many the idea for Nueromancer came from a few short stories that he had written before. Then I found that all of these short stories were collected in a book called Burning Chrome. I felt I had to check this out just to see what else Gibson had in his repituar.

Because I already did a writer’s bio on Gibson I am not going to do another one for this review. I am going to use the same on i used previously for my Neuromancer review.

William Gibson is a speculative sifi writer from South Carolina. Currently he has dual citizenship between Canada and the US, which came about in the 1970 as a draft dodger during the Vietnam War. His awards and accolades are almost too numerous to speak of. He has won every major sifi award for Neuromancer, which is part of a series called the Sprawl Trilogy. His stories are revolutionary for a variety of reasons mainly because he wrote about something similar to the internet well before it took off in the 1990’s. He is also responsible for the creation of a what is known as “high tech, low life” but is better known as Cyberpunk. That’s right this guy created a whole new genre from this trilogy, along with coining the phrase “Cyberspace.” He has also written numerous short stories which I think he used some of the same characters in this novel. Many journalist have said that he is perhaps the most important sifi writer in the last twenty years or so, I certainly would not disagree with that. This will not be the last book of his that I read.IMG_2282

At least I was true to my statement, Neuromancer was not the last book of his that I read.

As I mentioned above this is a collection of Gibson’s short stories. The collection includes some of the first stories that he ever wrote, which is Fragments of a Hologram Rose. There are 10 stories in the book and only a few I did not care for. My favorites are Johnny Mnemonic, The Belonging Kid, Hinterlands, The Winter Market, Dogfight, and Burning Chrome. My least favorite in the collection was Red Star, Winter Orbit, I felt that story was rather strange and I just could not get into it. Regardless the six others I mentioned I think my favorites of those are, honestly it is hard to pick just one, they are all good. The really cool thing is they are all different in what they offer from a sifi aspect as well.

I very  much enjoyed this collection. Of the few short story collections that I have read this is certainly my favorite. What I think I like most is the worlds that Gibson creates, they are so dark and gritty, so vivid while reading. Even though nothing like anything he writes about exists, I feel that I have been there before. That is certainly something amazing that only a master of their trade can do with their writing. I also like the characters that he introduces especially in Johnny Mnemonic and Burning Chrome, as they are not heroes, rather anti-heroes, and honestly closer to villains and at the very least criminals. Yet, even though you know this to be true they do not seem like criminals or the bad guys. Because of the worlds they live in they are just normal people trying to get by.

One thing this is did not find out till I had already finished Neuromancer was that the story Burning Chrome was somewhat of a prequel to the story as well as Johnny Mnemonic. More so Burning Chrome as this story explains in more detail a lot of the tech and what not that takes place in Neuromancer. In JM, there are a few characters that get introduced in this story that are also in Neuromancer, which is really cool. I honestly wish I had read BC before I read Nueromancer. I think I would have enjoyed it that much more and not have been lost at times when some of the tech was being discussed. Before reading this book I had no idea Gibson was the writer of this story. I remember way back when the movie came out. I think I saw like a few minutes of it and thought it looked really cool, but for some reason never finished watching it years later.

Again after doing a little research I did not realize how many movies were made based on Gibson’s stories. Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel are two that made it to the silver screen. The Gernsback Continuum was also adapted into a short film made for TV with the title Tomorrow Calling. That is pretty impressive that two short stories can be adapted into full length films.

One thing I found a little strange about this collection was that according to Wikipedia they are all sequels to one another. The books order is not the correct reading order, and should be as follows : Fragments of a Hologram Rose, Johnny Mnemonic, The Gernsback Continuum, Hinterlands, New Rose Hotel, The Belonging Kid, Burning Chrome, Red Star Winter Orbit, The Winter Market, Dogfight. Now that I have read this book I am not really sure how these all flow together. I can see where some would follow the others, but I really don’t see how some of these follow one another. Perhaps one day I may reread them and see if it has any effect on how I view the book or the stories overall.

I liked this collection and highly recommend it. I dare say that I enjoyed this more than Neuromancer, mainly for the reason of you get to see that world from the beginning in Burning Chrome. Looking back, I feel that in Neurmancer you are kind of thrown into the story midway through. Still, there are plenty of other great stories that have nothing to do with the Sprawl Trilogy, or at least I have a difficult time understanding how they are related and took them as standalone stories. Either way there are some great stories in this book. If you are a Gibson fan, you have to check out this short story collection, it is a great read.

Manik

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