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A Song Called Youth Paperback – April 10, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Prime Books (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607013304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607013303
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Shirley won the Bram Stoker Award for his story collection Black Butterflies, and is the author of numerous novels, including the best-seller DEMONS, the cyberpunk classics CITY COME A-WALKIN', ECLIPSE, and BLACK GLASS, and the urban fantasy novel BLEAK HISTORY.

He is also a screenwriter, having written for television and movies; he was co-screenwriter of THE CROW. He has been several Year's Best anthologies including Prime Books' THE YEAR'S BEST DARK FANTASY AND HORROR anthology, and his nwest story collection is IN EXTREMIS: THE MOST EXTREME SHORT STORIES OF JOHN SHIRLEY. His novel BIOSHOCK: RAPTURE telling the story of the creation and undoing of Rapture, from the hit videogame BIOSHOCK is out from TOR books; his Halo novel, HALO: BROKEN CIRCLE is coming out from Pocket Books.

His most recent novels are DOYLE AFTER DEATH, a dark fantasy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the afterlife, and WYATT IN WICHITA, a historical novel about the young Wyatt Earp.

He is also a lyricist, having written lyrics for 18 songs recorded by the Blue Oyster Cult (especially on their albums Heaven Forbidden and Curse of the Hidden Mirror), and his own recordings.

John Shirley has written only one nonfiction book, GURDJIEFF: AN INTRODUCTION TO HIS LIFE AND IDEAS, published by Penguin/Jeremy Tarcher.

Other John Shirley story collections include BLACK BUTTERFLIES, IN EXTREMIS, and LIVING SHADOWS.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Scott Puckett on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra and Eclipse Corona around the time of their publication, I was happy to see this omnibus edition ... until I opened it and started reading.

I must be clear that this review is ONLY for this particular edition - if you can find copies of the original, unrevised books, I absolutely encourage you to read them. They are science fiction masterpieces and essential to any understanding of cyberpunk/avant-pop literature.

However, this edition, perhaps in an attempt to seem less anachronistic, updates ideas and terms. It contains references to Facebook and online RPGs and other sites and tech trends that will likely seem archaic only a few years from now and almost certainly won't last until the time the book is set (to wit, backdate this edition to 2005 and substitute Facebook with MySpace - how well would that hold up?). It's jarring, particularly for people who read the original printings.

To the best of my knowledge, William Gibson never went back and updated Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive or any other books. As far as I know, the same holds true for Bruce Sterling, Richard Kadrey, Rudy Rucker, Michael Swanwick, Lew Shiner, Pat Cadigan and others.

I think I only disagree with other reviewers in that I consider reading the Eclipse trilogy to be essential for students or fans of cyberpunk (and not merely highly recommended or suggested), but this edition and the revisions in it weakens the criticism of Shirley's original work and reduces its impact.

I wanted to fall in love with this work all over again, but having read this edition, I'm sharing the knowledge I wish I'd had when I purchased it.

If you're interested in this book, find the original editions. They're better in nearly every respect. And please do seek them out. It's a great work, an important work in SF, and this edition does not do it justice.
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Format: Paperback
What was cyberpunk? Compelling near future high tech science fiction tales replete with characters hooked up to the internet, getting their minds stimulated via drugs or some kind of biotechnology (such as computer chip brain-interfaces), and most likely, all three. Engrossing tales about those revolting against "the system" ("The Man" or "The Woman") enriched by an almost paranoid dystopian vision of the near future, written by science fiction writers who were - and in many instances, still are - among the finest literary stylists ever to work in this genre, worthy of comparison with mainstream Anglo-American fiction's greatest literary talents: William Gibson (who coined the term "cyberspace"), Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, Pat Cadigan, and Michael Swanwick. However, none of these great writers epitomized science fiction's most important literary movement since the 1960's New Wave like John Shirley did; none of them lived the very lives which John Shirley depicted vividly for many of his cyberpunk protagonists; none of them wrote and performed punk rock songs; none took drugs to the extent that he did; in other words, none acted like a real-life rebellious cyberpunk protagonist.

William Gibson's "Cyberspace" (or "Sprawl") trilogy ("Neuromancer", "Count Zero", "Mona Lisa Overdrive"), may have succeeded in introducing literary audiences to an internet-dominated near future, but it pales in comparison with John Shirley's "A Song Called Youth" trilogy ("Eclipse", "Eclipse Penumbra", "Eclipse Corona") for offering a frighteningly realistic, dystopian vision of the near future; a vision that now, more than ever, seems all too probable in its "kaleidoscopic mix of politics, pop and paranoia", to quote Sterling in his glowing assessment of Shirley's trailblazing epic cyberpunk trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Duckter Yezno on December 2, 2012
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I want to keep this brief and offer absolutely no spoilers, but if you're a fan of New Wave and Cyberpunk and haven't yet read the omnibus edition of the Eclipse Trilogy called A Song Called Youth, you should immediately queue it up. I feel it's one of the first great dystopian works of our new century, on par with the great works of Orwell, Huxley, Burgess et al. Though he isn't as concerned with language like Orwell, he is as concerned with the sources of power as any dystopian writer, and he accurately identifies the implications of our current socioeconomic system. One of the first cyberpunk writers (arguably the first - he wrote Transmaniacon in '73), his future is set not too far from now. It's a thinly veiled criticism of what ails us as a race. This isn't hard SF, but it should appeal to most SF fans. There are prescient examples of future tech, including micro fauna drones. He also addresses climate change, neoliberal capitalism, government and corporate collusion and the pockets of resistance who do battle with them. Absolutely a must read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arne Jonny Bakkevold on September 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Song Called Youth trilogy is perhaps one of the seminal works of cyberpunk. It is, perhaps, one of the bleakest dystopias that movement produced. It is also very graphic in its depictions of sex and violence so keep that in mind before you purchase. I recommend this trilogy wholeheartedly.
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