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on April 1, 2011
This is an interesting story about a technology journalist who receives the greatest tipoff in his career, only to be taken into an alternate universe.

It is thought provoking about what events do and do not shape our histories and what alternative histories might exist. The story revolves around the much touted idea of a black swan event, which totally disrupts the sequence of history - or the absence of such events.

The writing is a bit rough in places and at times I had reread sections to establish the flow of events. But this made up for by the imaginative content.

I have one general gripe with alternate universe stories. Why is it that authors propose that alternative universes are going to be populated by genetically identical people, living very different lives? Patterns of probability suggest that if alternate universes existed, the societies may have some general resemblance, but the chances of two people being genetically the same are very, very low. Anyway, there is a little twist in this story which might just redeem the storyline from this problem.
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on May 19, 2014
Nope, no spoilers here, but this short story is worth way more than the two bucks i payed to download it, for it is an existential mind-ogle. Such to the scale that I would like to see it made into a movie, or better yet a full length novel. Sterling still has "it", if you are a fan and haven't read this, do it now. If you are not a fan, but enjoy dystopian post-industrial age cyberthrillers then you will enjoy this and at this price, how can it be wrong.
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on May 8, 2012
The book is about an encounter of a technology blogger with his secret informer. The encounter starts off with a large tip from the informer that could potentially change the path of technology but sharply delves into multiple universes and what makes them so different.

The book is thought provoking in terms of how histories are shaped and how major changes in the course of history might be triggered by events that one might least expect.

However, the plot is flimsy and apart from the philosophical undertone it offers nothing exciting. Do not buy this book if you are looking for a regular cyberpunk plot.
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on October 12, 2011
I am partial to this short story, as it is set very close to my hometown, and because it mentions some alternate realities of Italy, Olivetti and microelectronics which would be almost a dream for me, still wondering about the "whys?" of the fall of the eporediese company in the Eighties.
I really liked the characters and VIPs that happen to be around the focus of the narrator, and the way they relate to their real-world counterparts.
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on June 15, 2012
This is a brief short story which is about essentially nothing and goes nowhere. There is no central point, no conflict occurs, no scenarios are resolved. It is in no fashion 'a cyberpunk story'. I felt cheated for having purchased it. It is a skeletal assemblage of science-fiction buzzwords revolving around nothing. Do not purchase it.

This is incredibly bizarre to me that this story was as bad as it was, as Bruce Sterling is usually really good and this is just god awful.
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on September 13, 2011
Luca is a tech journalist who's getting very valuable information for his career. Although, in order to understand that, he's taken to an alternate world where he knows that ideas can be History outliers that creates divergences and real big changes.

Based on the "Black Swan Theory", Sterling creates an idea of human being and society that feels so close to us and makes us question about "what if..."
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on December 14, 2013
Want to witness a mob style hit? This story is typical out of body cyber punk (at first). People use technology to be where and who they are. Physical beings/avatars live and work in surreal settings. It's possible to piss people off on the cyber punk plain. I did not see it coming...(?). It was like the Russian mob a la 'Training Day'.
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on September 25, 2010
"Black Swan" is yet another story about parallel universes. So the good part of it isn't the weird travel between alternate realities, which has already been (and better) exploited lots of times in SF literature.
The fun and interesting of this novel comes from the divertissement Sterling builds up adding people and historical turning points to the different worlds he writes about. More, Sterling is one of those authors who use fiction to report their sociological thoughts without any need to add any scientific proof to support them.
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on December 19, 2012
Moving threw various alternative realities on ca see how Europe nay look with only slight changes were happening in history. Cyberpunk became reality and as a writing style it is diapering. Nice to have another one.
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on June 3, 2016
I wasn't particularly drawn to this story. It felt a bit too contained for a story about traveling to alternate realities and screwing with the status quo. The characters were also impossible for me to relate to, meaning I had no stake in the end, which I hesitate to even dub a "climax." It comes so fast that there's not even opportunity to get amped up. Just, all of a sudden, the story is over.

I don't think I'd be able to recommend this story, because I don't think I'll remember it past today! This is actually my second listen, and it's still not sticking in my mind that well.

If you still want the story, the StarShipSofa did a free audio production.
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