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Crystal Express Hardcover – July, 1989

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sterling ( Islands in the Net ) is one of the very best young science fiction writers, and one of the foremost exponents of cyberpunk (he edited Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology ). His first collection brings together a dozen of his evocative, inventive, beautifully written stories. "Spook" tells of a future intelligence agent who is subjected to an operation that removes the psychologically limiting Veil implanted in his head, and then finds freedom untenable because it brings realization of all the suffering he has caused. "The Little Magic Shop" is a whimsical story about life-extending elixir, with a twist. Five of the stories are from the Shaper/Mechanist series, set in a future in which the two races war for the universe's resources. "Swarm" tells of a Shaper who craftily gathers some genetic material from the alien Swarm race with the intent of creating a slave population, but whose plans backfire spectacularly when his understanding of the Swarm proves less advanced than his technology.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Five stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe of Schismatrix (LJ 6/15/85) highlight this collection of 12 sf and fantasy tales (some previously uncollected) by the author of Islands in the Net (LJ 6/15/88). Whether delineating the baroque politics of starfaring humanity ("Cicada Queen") or chronicling a computer-age white knight's adventures in a primitive, antitechnological country ("Green Days in Brunei"), Sterling's ability to zero in on the human element remains undiminished.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Arkham House Pub; 1st edition (July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870541587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870541582
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,505,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Divided into three sections; Shaper/Mechanist, Science-Fiction
and Fantasy, Crystal Express provides a series of vignettes
for the reader. Sterling's Shaper/Mechanist saga follows the
developments of the two parties through war, peace and nervous
antebellum. Starting with a story called the Swarm, the allegories
are firmly underway; justifications for Caananite slavery in the
name of science destroyed by sheer humanity (or entymology).
Through a series of characters neurotic about their own societies,
the Mechanists and Shapers represent the human need for
perfection - with the reptillian Investors acting almost as Greek
Chorus - and yet despite their advances we are still filled with
horror. Sterling is offering a grim caveat that we need to retain
our humanity, no matter what devices become viable to us. The
last Shaper/Mechanist, Twenty Evocations, is in itself a series
of short stories, encompassing the life of a Shaper and yet with
the twist of each sinking deeper to what we conceive to be our
souls. So much for the Shaper/Mechanists, then. What of the
rest of the book? Amongst them are the romance and beauty
of Green Days in Brunei; evocative and rich, though the storyline
somewhat askewed; the twist at the end also questions our
beliefs of what is beautiful and what should be pursued, and
Spook, a delightful thriller-macabre, is essentially Heart of
Darkness with an unexpected twist, and a few nods to the
inhumanity of medical technology.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jadepearl VINE VOICE on August 8, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While waiting at a train station I was loaned this book by a friend and soon found myself interested in the stories. _Crystal Express_ is a wonderful introduction to the work of Bruce Sterling and I found it good enough to actually convince me to try and reread _Schismatrix Plus_. If you are a fan of the Shaper/Mechanist storyline then you should buy _Schismatrix Plus_ and leave this one behind.
Sterling is actually good in the short story genre whereas, some of his novels may drag a bit and be a bit scanty in character development the stories in this collection hpowever, are quite good in pacing and development.
One of the best moments was reading "Flowers of Edo" while on a train to Nara. The story of Japan's embrace of modern technology and the destruction of its past had a great resonance for me after seeing the hyper buzz of Tokyo. I felt that Sterling also showed more hope and charm of his romantic nature with "Green Days in Brunei".
The most daring work within a standard narrative format were all the Shaper/Mechanist stories. The other stories were interesting in ideas and themes, but nothing outside the scope of regular science fiction or fantasy themes found elsewhere.
Before slapping heavier works on your plate such as, _Global Head_ or _Disctraction_ pick up this book of his early work when he was learning his craft and was willing to dare a little bit more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Gödde on February 10, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first time I read this I was blown away. These stories are chock full of ideas, and at the same time contain some of the most weirdly beautiful moments I've ever read in SF. The impact hasn't really lessened with any of the half-dozen re-reads in the time since. Highly recommended to any fan of intelligent SF (not space opera).
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By average on February 27, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A good collection of stories, the highlights of which are, in general, the various Shaper/Mechanist tales and Spook. It is the fantasy inclusions that are weaker and let the overall rating down a bit. Basically you can call this one a 4.25, but not quite, so gets a 4 rating overall.

Crystal Express : SPIDER ROSE - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : CICADA QUEEN - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : SUNKEN GARDENS - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : TWENTY EVOCATIONS - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : GREEN DAYS IN BRUNEI - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : SPOOK - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE SUBLIME - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : TELLIAMED - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : THE LITTLE MAGIC SHOP - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : FLOWERS OF EDO - Bruce Sterling
Crystal Express : DINNER IN AUDOGHAST - Bruce Sterling

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Regal terraforming judgement.

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Shaper/Mechanist list.

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Prophetic annoyance.

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