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Burning Chrome

by William Gibson

As critically important as William Gibson's novels are to the literature of cyberpunk (and beyond), "Burning Chrome," the definitive collection of Gibson's early short fiction, remains the best way to go to get the concentrated essence of his prose. Gibson's intensely detailed renderings of cyberspace, where distinctions between in-screened worlds and real time-space worlds are blurred and where human/machine hybrid life forms abound, display an uncannily original and affecting style.

(P. Leggiere)



Burning Chrome
William Gibson
Ace, 1986

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Towers and fields ranged in the colorless non-space of the simulation matrix, the electronic consensus-hallucination that facilitates the handling and exchange of massive quantities of data. Legitimate programmers never see the walls of ice they work behind, the walls of shadow that screen their operations from others, from industrial- espionage artists and hustlers like Bobby Quine.

Bodiless, we swerve into Chrome's castle of ice. And we're fast, fast. It feels like we're surfing the crest of the invading program, hanging ten feet above the seething glitch systems as they mutate. We're sentient patches of oil swept along and down corridors of shadow.

Somewhere we have bodies, very far away, in a crowded loft roofed with steel and glass. Somewhere we have microseconds, maybe time left to pull out.

Parker crouched in the roadside New Mexico brush at midnight, watching a tank burn on the highway. Flame lit the broken white line he had followed from Tucson. The explosion had been visible two miles away, a white sheet of heat lightning that had turned the pale branches of a bare tree against the night sky into a photographic negative of themselves; carbon branches against magnesium sky.


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