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The Artificial Kid (Context (San Francisco).) Paperback – August, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Context (San Francisco).
  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Hardwired (August 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188886916X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888869163
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,510,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The entertainment industry rules on the planet Reverie, a world founded by Moses Moses as an experiment in corporately controlled equality. Instead, the experiment has caused Reverie to mutate into a landscape of decadence and class separation. Miles above the surface, the ultra-wealthy live in orbital homes, watching the surface citizens' home-produced videos of sex and extreme violence. The title character of The Artificial Kid, Arti, is the most popular of the Combat Artists. These futuristic mirrors of professional wrestlers or American Gladiators confront each other in superhero-esque battles (although the Combat Artists' contests are real) within a complex system of honor, ritual, and conduct. Arti has reached the height of his fame--equally loved by his fans and friends and despised by his competitors. However, he is not entirely who he seems to be, and when the planetary founder mysteriously returns, The Artificial Kid finds himself embroiled in a battle for power that's not ready for prime time. Bruce Sterling, best known for his nonfiction work, The Hacker Crackdown, and the classic cyberthriller, Islands in the Net, presents a seminal, vivid, and turbulent future in The Artificial Kid. The Artificial Kid is a work of satirical social commentary with the breakneck pace of a Hong Kong action film.

More About the Author

Bruce Sterling, author, journalist, editor, and critic,
was born in 1954. Best known for his ten science fiction
novels, he also writes short stories, book reviews,
design criticism, opinion columns, and introductions
for books ranging from Ernst Juenger to Jules Verne.
His nonfiction works include THE HACKER CRACKDOWN:
LAW AND DISORDER ON THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER (1992),
TOMORROW NOW: ENVISIONING THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS (2003),
and SHAPING THINGS (2005).

He is a contributing editor of WIRED magazine
and writes a weblog. During 2005,
he was the "Visionary in Residence" at Art Center
College of Design in Pasadena. In 2008 he
was the Guest Curator for the Share Festival
of Digital Art and Culture in Torino, Italy,
and the Visionary in Residence at the Sandberg
Instituut in Amsterdam. In 2011 he returned to
Art Center as "Visionary in Residence" to run
a special project on Augmented Reality.

He has appeared in ABC's Nightline, BBC's The Late Show,
CBC's Morningside, on MTV and TechTV, and in Time,
Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times,
Fortune, Nature, I.D., Metropolis, Technology Review,
Der Spiegel, La Stampa, La Repubblica, and many other venues.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By jzero@onramp.net on October 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
I found this book in the library, of all places, back when I was in junior high school in 1982. Crouched between all that hoary Silverberg and Simak that I didn't want to read, it said "Psssst!". I haven't been the same since. The Kid jumped out and smacked me across the forehead with his lush, tweaked-out postpunk setting and sweeping, interconnected plot. A little bit of old-world pangalacticism, a little futuristic DIY chopsocky, a bunch of toungues in cheeks, and loads of high-tech wetware polymers and lurching biomasses, from before wetware polymers and lurching biomasses were cool. And all the while, Sterling's trademark core of optimism shines through.
It's taken the world about ten years to catch up to this baby, and it's about damn time. If you don't know Bruce Sterling, this is a fine place to start. Now, where's my Smuff?
John Zero (jzero@onramp.net), Dallas, Texas
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
With "The Artifical Kid", a young Bruce Sterling demonstrated his excellence in writing comedic novels, to which he would return much later, in full force, in novels like "Holy Fire" and "The Zenith Angle", among others. While his second novel isn't nearly as polished as his later classic "Schisimatrix", it does explore in embroyonic form, some of the same issues of identity and what it means to be human, that he did quite remarkably well in his mid 1980s work. I couldn't help but laugh as I worked my way through the pages of Sterling's early novel, observing that it's nearly as funny as some of Harlan Ellison's best satirical short fiction. For anyone who wishes to understand Sterling's development as a leading member of the cyberpunk literary movement, then this early novel of his is required reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sean Burke on May 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is such a strange, imaginative, interesting novel -- it's sad that it was out of print for ages, and then Wired Books brought it back, only to let it fall back out of print! Anyone who likes Bruce Sterling's other stuff should go to abebooks.com and try to find a used copy of this!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josh-D. S. (Xaminmo) Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a complete geek and avid reader of hard sci-fi. I like Neuromancer from William Gibson, Snow Crash and Diamond Age from Neal Stephenson, and Diaspora and just about everything else from Greg Egan.

But I can't recommend "Artificial Kid" by Bruce Sterling. The ideas behind the story are good. His descriptions are visibly good, but it reads neither like a good story, nor like a tech manual.

The problem isn't isolated to this book either. "Difference Engine" also reads slowly. I can't even pinpoint exactly what it is, other than Bruce Sterling's writings are VERY slow to read and hard to stay focussed on the story. It's almost as if the acting is poor. Dialog, inner and outer, just seems adolescent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Chubb on October 6, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book which got me hooked on Bruce Sterling. A less poundingly gritty world than Gibson's and more playful as a result. It brings together aspects of fame and change - and the adolescent desire to seek one while shunning the other - in an enjoyable combination. The focus is still the action which let me read (and re-read) it for the escapist element.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was actually Sterling's second novel. Involution Ocean was the first. Most people forget Involution Ocean because it was not cyberpunk. The Artificial Kid is okay, but weak for Sterling. His later works were much more imaginative. The Sterling completist must get this one. For others it is a good read but don't expect a classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
Sterling's The Artificial Kid works best as an adventure story with intense action, whose closest relatives would be Japanese anime pictures. He also tries to make this a novel of ideas (longevity, personality worship, identity politics), but they remain largely undeveloped. Nevertheless, its an entertaining book.
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By Blue Tyson on September 24, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A wealthy man indulges in a sociological experiment, but creating his
own personal corporate society. The incredibly wealthy live above the
planet, those not so, on it.

The media is king, and a reality violence show is the main
attraction. This is sport by way of Rollerball and The Running Man, and
the best protagonist of this mayhem is The Artificial Kid.
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