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Globalhead Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1994

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (October 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553562819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553562811
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,737,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
These stories are from the mid- to late-80s and feel a bit dated. This doesn't bother me because I long ago learned to read SF with a nod to the context of the era in which it is written. There is a high degree of political load in many of the stories too, some of which may seem naive in light of how things turned out in the next decade. Them's the breaks for those who write stuff in imaginary futures (or presents). Sterling's works here are usually set in the near future, as in next week-ish.

I didn't understand some of the more highly metaphorical content. I'll re-read to see if I can "get it" but often if I miss the point the first go-around someone has to bash me over he head with it before I see it on re-reading. Doesn't matter usually, as a story can be entertaining without full comprehension of the message hiding in the skirting boards. It only gets in the way when things get seriously weird, which they do in one story in particular. You may see it coming a mile away and wonder how I could be so dense.

I did not find the writing as poor or stylistically difficult as some reviewers are saying. Indeed, I found the prose flowed freely, as I'd expect from an accomplished author - all the more surprising since Sterling was supposed to be making his name and finding his voice with these stories.

Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Globalhead" is a collection of Sterling's short stories from the late '80s and early '90s. Unlike a number of his novels, it's not so near-future as to make itself a nostalgia item 5-10 years after publication, once the timeframe has become alternate history just after it was cyberpunk-ish dystopia-lite.

What's most amazing about these stories is just how incredibly prescient they are of the world we live in 25 years later. Where the politicians really have become more like rockstars, and the rockstars morphed into NGO activists. The breadth of alternate realities and topics is nothing short of amazing, kind of like a more modern and differently dark "The Illustrated Man".
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A few stories did not grab me emotionally but on the whole I was very impressed. The scope of these stories is breathtaking. Sterling is seemingly able to write about anything well. He is definitely more than just a cyberpunk writer. This guy is truly original.

Here are the stories (starred favourites):
*1. Our Neural Chernobyl (very cyberpunk)
*2. Storming The Cosmos (wonderful exposition of Russian cold war culture intersecting with an alien artifact)
3. The Compassionate, The Digital (AIs and Islam vs the West)
*4. Jim And Irene (transcendant post-apocalyptic meta-physical romance, brilliant, a favourite)
5.The Sword Of Damocles (confounding post-modern tale of... something)
6. The Gulf Wars (More Islamic antics in the Middle East, historic and present)
*7, The Shores Of Bohemia (mind-blowing cyberpunk where all is not what it seems at first)
*8. The Moral Bullet (more post-apocalyptic cyberpunk adventure with a twist)
9. The Unthinkable (another mind-bending take on the Soviets and the West, this time with a supernatural twist)
10. We See Things Differently (Islam of the future vs the West and its music)
*11. Hollywood Kremlin (the incredibly resourceful Leggy Starlitz effortlessly handles the backward Soviet system)
*12. Are You For 86? (Leggy Starlitz has to handle murderous pro-lifers in a strangely twisted America of the near future)
*13. Dori Bangs (a ruminating multiple-reality journalistic piece with a twist, as ever)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This collection of short stories contains some interesting "hits" (Hollywood Kremlin, Storming the Cosmos, We See Things Differently, Are you for 86?) and some disappointing "misses" (The Sword of Damocles).
Sterling is at his best when he is discussing alternative futures close to our own, and he has done his homework in studying two rival cultures that play roles in his alternate universes -- the Muslim world and the world of the old Soviet Union. He creates memorable characters (the international arms dealer/hustler Leggy Starlitz, for instance) and generates a lot of thought-provoking ideas (Will Turing-conscious AI's embrace Islam? Was the Tunguska blast really caused by an alien speacecraft? Will Islam become the dominant superpower -- threatened only by American rock and roill? Will genetically engineered pets capable of human-like thought and speech exist?).
Sterling's prose here is not of the quality of William Gibson's, or indeed, as good as Sterling is in other works, such as Schismatrix, or The Difference Engine. It is a good collection of stories, for the most part, and makes a good companion on a trip to the beach.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first met Bruce back in the `70s, when he was one of the young Texas SF authors who regularly appeared at IguanaCon in Austin, so he's been at this awhile. While he has talent, he's not the best Texas has to offer -- that would be Howard Waldrop and the late Chad Oliver. Unfortunately, Sterling's stories from the 1980s and early `90s, of which there are thirteen in this collection, are heavily politics-dependent, and they don't always wear well ten or fifteen years later. As in "Hollywood Kremlin" and "We See Things Differently," they postulate a Soviet Russia or a Middle East that really haven't changed -- but things have changed, a lot. He also has a habit of launching into stories brimming with neat ideas, stories that would actually make good novels, and then running out of steam (or becoming bored?) and simply stopping instead of ending. This is the case in "The Moral Bullet" (which, in fact, led to his novel, _Holy Fire_ -- sort of) and "The Unthinkable." The best stories in this collection are those that step entirely outside our world, especially "The Shores of Bohemia" and "Are You for 86?," and maybe "Dori Bangs."
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