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Eclipse Corona

by John Shirley

In tandem, the novels of the Eclipse trilogy (of which "Eclipse Corona" is the final installment) provide the most dramatic example yet of a cyberpunk- fueled political sensibility in action. The saga of the New Resistance's wars of trans-national liberation against the high-tech retro-Nazi Second Alliance is driven by a ferociously libertarian popular spirit.

Shirley's rebel guerrillas are colorfully rendered as post-industrial Wobblies, connoisseurs of subversive technologies. The global corporate/"private sector" secret police/Big Science power structure, against which the NR battle, is portrayed for us quite as vividly as militant naturalists represented the industrial "Octopus" of monopoly capitalists a century ago.

"Eclipse Corona" shouldn't be perceived as merely a booted-up version of a socialist "strike" novel, however. Cy-punk freelance hacker subversion of communications media (Burroughs' strategy of "Storming the Reality Studio") does indeed replace the General Strike as a heroic dissident political motif. But there are other subtly challenging visions at work in the novel as well, most notably the relationship between politics and media. Shirley shrewdly assays the implications and social ecologies of impending information networks, both liberatory and totalitarian.

(P. Leggiere)



Eclipse Corona
John Shirley
Popular, 1990

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Jerome mentally reeling with disorientation, seeing the others as a network of distorted self-images, caricatures of grotesque ambitions. Beyond them he glimpsed another realm through a break in the psychic clouds: the Plateau, the whispering plane of brain chips linked on forbidden frequencies, an electronic haven for doing deals unseen by cops; a Plateau prowled only by the exquisitely ruthless; a vista of enormous challenges and inconceivable risks and always the potential for getting lost, for madness. A place roamed by the wolves of wetware.

He'd only done it once before. It was illegal, and he was secretly glad it was illegal because it scared him. "They're holding the Plateau back, " his brain chip wholesaler had told him, "because they're scared of what worldwide electronic telepathy might bring down on them. Like, everyone will collate information, use it to see through the bastards' game, throw the assbites out of office."

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