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Hardwired Paperback – October 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
After his thoughtful, elegant novel Knight Moves, Williams wrenchingly shifts gears for this heavy-metal adventure. It is set with acknowledgement in Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley, when corporate Orbitals control what's left of a postwar America, now balkanized and armed to the teeth. Ex-fighter pilot Cowboy, "hardwired" via skull sockets directly to his lethal electronic hardware, teams up with Sarah, an equally cyborized gun-for-hire, to make a last stab at independence from the rapacious Orbitals. The story, though, is buried under an elaborate techno-punk style of the sort William Gibson popularized in Neuromancer. In both cases, it is a pose, a baroque nostalgia for Hemingway and film noir; it only plays at nihilism, terror and despair. The best effect is Williams's future version of a brain-scrambled vet: a dead buddy of Cowboy's whose scattered bits and pieces of computer memory now constitute a ragged semblance of a man. Such nuggets are hard to find amid the amplified, rock-'n-roll prose.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
''Hardwired is a tough, sleek juggernaut of a story, punctuated by strobe-light movements, coursing to the wail of jets and the twang of steel guitars--glittering, nasty, and noble--and told in a style perfectly suiting its content. It has all my favorite things--blood, love, fire, hate, and a high ideal or two. I wish I'd written this one.'' --Roger Zelazny, Hugo, Locus, and Nebula award-winning author
''Williams' use of language is as explosive and as techno tinged as the world he describes. Reading the book is like taking a jet ride across a futuristic America, with acceleration forcing you back in your seat all the way.'' --Tom Von Malder, writer and arts critic
''Heavy-metal adventure.'' --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Walter Jon William's writing is amazing, and the imagery is astounding. It's an equal of William Gibson's Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It's stood up well to time, and it was extremely enjoyable to reread. (In fact, I've read it twice in the last year, I was so excited to rediscover it.)
I will comment on -- the rating of:
Is there violence
Is there sexual content
----- is really subjective and would depend on the individuals culture, experiences, morals ... I find the questions to be counter productive.
Cut to a completely different cyber-babe in a different part of the country. Her name is Sarah and her hobbies are scowling, ass-kicking, and french-kissing people to death. She can kill people in ways that are actually more gory to read about than to see on film.
One thing leads to another and Mad Max II and Cyber-Babe end up alone, on the run, wanted by the law, and with no other sex partners available for hundreds of miles. Nothing good can last forever, though. Mad Max II goes back to his high lonesome prairie with the steel guitar jukebox and Cyber-Babe goes back to Vice City.
Next there is some character development. And by "character development" I mean that we learn that Mad Max II doesn't drive a tank because he WANTS to. He's just waiting for his matte-black alcohol-fueled epoxide-composite fighter jet to get out of the shop.
Fortunately, the people trying to kill Mad Max II and Cyber-Babe haven't given up yet, and they have death planes, too. So everything steps up a notch, and another notch, until it's time for Luke vs the Death Star. And you know who's going to win that one, but so what, it's still what you want to see.
Except. THIS time. Right after Luke (I mean Cowboy) shoots down the Death Star (I mean the Tempel Shuttle), Darth Vadar gives him the finger and EIGHT MORE DEATH STARS come around the corner.
Bad-ass vehicles. Killer cyber-babe. Mercenary armies with names like "Flash Force" and "Gold Coast Maximum Law". Computer-fu. Tongue-fu. Religious cults. Human-computer personality transfer (beta, with bugs). Space exploration gone wrong. A whole lot of missiles. Sponsored by ModernBody. Check it out.