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Burning Chrome Paperback – July 29, 2003

99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Ten brilliant, streetwise, high-resolution stories from the man who coined the word cyberspace. Gibson's vision has become a touchstone in the emerging order of the 21st Century, from the computer-enhanced hustlers of Johnny Mnemonic to the technofetishist blues of Burning Chrome. With their vividly human characters and their remorseless, hot-wired futures, these stories are simultaneously science fiction at its sharpest and instantly recognizable Polaroids of the postmodern condition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In his enthusiastic description of the '30s and '40s "moderne" style of industrial design (featured in one of these stories), Gibson might be writing about his own work: "The change was only skin-deep; under the streamlined chrome shell, you'd find the same Victorian mechanism . . . . It was all a stage set, a series of elaborate props for playing at living in the future." That dexterous, shallow artifice has won Gibson awards and fervent fans (especially for his first novel, Neuromancer but beneath it is something old, worn and tired. Thus "Johnny Mnemonic," whose body computer stores secret information, is just a variation of Mr. Memory from The 39 Steps. Gibson's gangsters, corrupt industrialists, young techies and lowlifes eager to belong to any in-group that will have them, are cliches without conviction. This weak collection of 10 short stories seems to have been rushed out to cash in on Gibson's current popularity. Paperback rights to Berkley.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060539828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060539825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Gibson was born in the United States in 1948. In 1972 he moved to Vancouver, Canada, after four years spent in Toronto. He is married with two children.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 28, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think William Gibson is probably the best pure *writer* that I have read for years. I don't think, on the other hand, that his fiction is the best that SF has produced--but his deliverance of the stories is his strong point. His prose has been polished to the point that it sparkles and contains more than a good deal of poetry. Not only is his language poetic, but also are his images, especially his depiction of cyberspace with all its colorful towers of data.
As far as Gibson's fiction is concerned it is always interesting, often relevant, and on occasion cathartic. Most of his stories seem to take on the same sort of tone, that stemming from the "hard-boiled" tradition. Stories like "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Burning Chrome" best exemplify this particular brand of story. But Gibson also pulls a few surprizes out of his hat and delivers stories that are highly experimental and center around character study rather than high-tempo, action-packed adventure stories. "The Winter Market" in particular struck me as especially brilliant. His focus in the story was not the neat gadgetry that was represented by the "exoskeleton" worn by one of the characters, it was how this shaped this character and effected her life. But Gibson doesn't stop there, he gives us a cast of strong characters and plenty of interaction between them. And this is what really made the story interesting for me. The sf elements are there, but the story has a great deal of universality in its portrayol of real people in situations we can relate to.
I also thought that "Hinterlands" and "The Gernsback Continuum" were very interesting stories.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A lot of people who read Gibson bash his writing because of the superficial nature of his characters. They're missing the point. One of the overarching themes of cyberpunk is the idea that technology, while revolutionizing our world, is also slowly stripping us of many of the things that make us human. Cyberpunk is a dystopia, not a Star Trek style utopia. The people living in the Sprawl, in Gibson's world, are superficial, because that's all that they have. It's professionalism taken to an unhealthy degree, and it mirrors many people that I know. Not everyone in the world has a deep, complex personality. I dare say a significant number of them don't.
That being said, Gibson truly shines as a short story writer. As a fan and practicioner of the short story, the sparseness of plot and space in general is one of the strong points in cyberpunk. The genre is about impact and style, and the shorter the story, the stronger the impact has to be to justify the experience.
Burning Chrome is a book with ten such impacts. The first story, Johnny Mnemonic, probably has the best chance to be known by the general public, and has the hardest reputation to overcome. It's great scifi, albeit far from the best story in the book. As other reviewers have said, it does introduce Molly and gives a great taste of the Sprawl. The killing floor is also one of the best examples of culture in Gibson's world.
The Gernsback Continuum is one of those stories that border on the incredibly bizzare. I didn't care for this story as much as the other (it's probably my least favorite), but ti's still bizzare enough to be entertaining.
Fragments of a Hologram Rose if I remember correctly is one of Gibson's first short stories, and it sets the stage beautifully for his style of writing.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chu on November 2, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Featuring stories by the "father of cyberpunk", William Gibson, as well as collaberations with many other important figures in the genre, BURNING CHROME, is as good a collection of cyberpunk short fiction as can be found (short of Bruce Sterling's MIRRORSHADES, which has been out of print for some time). First and foremost, the first story in the anthology, "Johnny Mnemonic", will, no doubt, garner the most interest. (Readers of Gibson's NEUROMANCER will easily make the correlation between Molly and Johnny.) Gritty and imaginative, "Johnny Mnemonic" is worth the price of admission alone, spinning the story (made into the movie of the same name), of Johnny Mnemonic, a data courier, and his gal Molly Millions. "Burning Chrome" and "Dogfight" are considered to be two of Gibson's best short stories, showing off Gibson's creative powers at their strongest. "Fragments of a Hologram Rose" is a lyrical masterpiece, exquisitely detailed and haunting in delivery. Gibson's work is prophetic and amazing, rounding out his Sprawl series (NEUROMANCER, COUNT ZERO, and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE). Bordering on poetic at times, crystal clear at others, Gibson is truly a versatile author.
All in all, fans of Gibson's other works or fans of cyberpunk in general will find this anthology immensely rewarding.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By CV Rick on March 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
William Gibson burst onto the scene with slick writing and a dismal view of the future. His protagonists were all flawed and the endings resulted in bittersweet Pyrrhic victories - a world were pain begets pain. Mostly set in the criminal underground or the criminal corporate world at war, he explored the darkness in his future worldview and the darkness within each of us.

What I liked best about this collection is what I like best about all of Gibson's work, the fluid prose. Like liquid poetry injected directly into the consciousness it raises your pulse and quickens the anticipation. He's brilliant at creating a mood, a true master.

The highlight of this anthology was the title story, Burning Chrome. To describe it with words like octane and infused would be to weaken its impact, a pure rush of language that conveys the story of desire: wealth, sex, life. There may be no better story in the genre than Burning Chrome.

Of the other stories, Johnny Mnemonic and Hinterlands stood out as exciting rides of fictional craziness. Hinterlands was half-horror, half cyber, and full out corporate espionage. Johnny Mnemonic foreshadowed Neuromancer with the introduction of Molly and the ill-fated Johnny run cross of the true corporate power in Gibson's stories, the Yakuza.

The rest of the collection is a fine sampling of Gibson's writing. Some better than others.

The following is the contents:

"Johnny Mnemonic"

"The Gernsback Continuum"

"Fragments of a Hologram Rose"

"The Belonging Kind"


"Red Star, Winter Orbit"

"New Rose Hotel"

"The Winter Market"


"Burning Chrome"

- CV Rick
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