Ascendancies: The Best of Bruce Sterling Hardcover – September 25, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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Sterling might be criticized for being much into the line of literary mass-production (like Alexander Dumas, although we might enjoy many of such products). Sometimes the author goes off tangent in his rush to produce more, still his talent shows quite often, like a sun prying the clouds of popular books, with his imaginative style: "A sharp perfume arose, like coffee struck by lightning." (Deep Eddy) // "A beam crossed the horizon like the finger of God, smiting everything in its path. The sky and earth were thick with flying creatures, buzzing, tumbling, sculling." (Taklamakan).
As Sterling himself explains he loves neologism (creating new words) whose meaning can be guessed by readers, and it really adds to the exotic magic of the SF setting.
I originally ordered this collection (Kindle edition) to read the awarded long-short story "Taklamakan": Reading it could be a joy for all SF fans despite its inconsistencies in tempo (e.g. slow pace beginning and a fast pace ending) and I think it encapsulates the core of this collection with its up and down merit ... The theme can be found in many contemporary stories ...
(*) Introduction by Karen Joy Fowler
(*) Foreword by Bruce Sterling
Part I: The Sharper/Mechanist Stories
2) Spider Rose
3) Cicada Queen
4) Sunken Gardens
5) Twenty Evocations
Part II: Early Science Fiction and Fantasy
6) Green Days in Brunei
7) Dinner in Audoghast
8) The Compassionate, the Digital
9) Flowers of Edo
10) The Little Magic Shop
11) Our Neural Cherynobyl
12) We See Things Differently
13) Dori Bangs
Part III: The Leggy Starlitz Stories
14) Hollywood Kremlin
15) Are You for 86?
16) The Littlest Jackal
Part IV: The Chattanooga Stories
17) Deep Eddy
18) Bicycle Repairman
Part V: Later Science Fiction and Fantasy
20) The Sword of Damocles
21) Maneki Neko
22) In Paradise
23) The Blemmye's Strategem
I can try to list some of my favourties among favourites, but that would not be very good for you, the prospective reader. These are wonderful stories, and if you feel like reading them, after you have read this incompetent review, my work here would be done. Highly recommended.
As to what is be the best story, this might not be a useful question. Readers' tastes will vary widely enough to make difficult any sort of consensus judgment. My personal favourite would be the Dinner in Audoghast, for its piognant evocation of a lost culture. It also differs strongly from the cyberpunk flavoured tales for which Sterling is renowned.
Top international reviews
Insomma tutto quello che vediamo oggi comparire al nostro orizzonte mediatico e che fatichiamo sempre piu' ad immaginarci dove ci porrtera'. Bruce Sterling sapeva gia' dove andremo a .. "proseguire".
Molto interessante e , se lo leggete su un Kindle potrete trovare subito le numerose parole inusuali inglesi che utilizza nei suoi racconti e piega ai suoi scopi creativi.