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Eclipse (A Song Called Youth - Book One) Paperback – November 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Like many works defining the wild cyberpunk fringe in the 1980s, this depiction of a near-future dystopia, here revised and updated since its 1985 debut, seems almost acceptably mainstream today. But Shirley's spiky prose and edgy attitudes, which lately have cultivated a following among horror readers (Wetbones; Really, Really, Really, Really Weird Stories), still hook the reader's attention. Tapping anxieties about rising global nationalism, Shirley presents a Goya-esque vision of war-torn western Europe, bombed out and unstable in the early years of the 21st century from a resurgence of Russian militarism and the collapse of NATO. The Second Alliance, a government-sanctioned multinational police force, has rushed in to restore order and revealed itself a nightmarish incarnation of every fascist and fundamentalist power fantasy. The only defense against the Alliance's creeping totalitarianism is the New Resistance, a polyglot pick-up team of rebels that includes Rick Rickenharp, a tripping retro guitarist whose artistic and political sensibilities are sinuously intertwined, and John Swenson, a mole whose soul is blackened through his infiltration of the Alliance. Stitched together from vivid swatches of action and intrigue alternating kaleidoscopically between Earth sites and the orbiting FirStep space colony, the novel offers a thrashy punk riff on science fiction's familiar future war scenario and lays a solid foundation for the subsequent volumes of Shirley's "A Song Called Youth" trilogy. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
... beyond cyberpunk. -- William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
A complex, bizarre, and unique vision of the coming century, with a kaleidoscopic mix of politics, pop, and paranoid. -- Bruce Sterling, author of Distraction
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Top customer reviews
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The book's antagonistic force, the Second Alliance, is among the details that are harder to digest. The organization is like an onion, where the layers become more and more villainous the deeper you go. All of it's characteristics are based around religious and racist stereotypes, and occasionally the parallels and origins will make you roll your eyes. Once again though, there is so much to explore that it's still very much worth the read.
The basic premise of the rise of a neo-fascist "security" corporation during the starts of a limited nuclear war between the USA and Russia sets the background for the very believable characters, each with distinct personalities and flaws that come to life from the printed page. Mr. Shirley weaves a complex and intertwined tale of guerilla mercenaries, fading rock stars, and fasicst powermongers that would stand proudly with the great works on science fiction. If not for any other reason, his interpretation of developing cultural trends is at the same time illuminating and frightening.
Having only read the first book*, I am anticipating no less enjoyment from Penumbra and Corona, the second and third works in the series.
I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a complicated read where each page yields a small reward.
* Sometimes I do need to spend a little time reading my college textbooks, too.
Most recent customer reviews
This novel is mostly set on the moon, Luna-1, and while very enjoyable, it wasn't quite as good as Bad Moon...Read more