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Trouble and Her Friends Mass Market Paperback – June 15, 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Scott's talents for creating a future both hauntingly familiar and exotically remote are showcased in this feminist cyberpunk romp. Cerise and Trouble are lesbian lovers who plug into computer networks to steal industrial secrets to sell on the gray market. Both women have been wired with the newest technology, a "brainworm" that enables them to receive sensations when they're plugged in--a development despised by the older, mostly male heterosexual "netwalkers." When Congress passes the Evans-Tindale bill to outlaw the brainworm, life on the net threatens to become more dangerous. Trouble predicts these changes and goes legit. Three years later, Cerise is working for an industrial corporation when someone begins impersonating Trouble on the nets, stealing secrets and leaving viruses behind. To save her own job and to clear her ex-lover's name, Cerise must team up with Trouble again. Their many adventures include a virtual-reality equivalent of a high-noon shootout, but loose plotting weakens the tension surrounding most of their escapades, as problems unexpectedly resolve or are simply dropped. Scott ( Dreamships ; Burning Bright ) seems more interested in using her command of the genre to explore such subjects as the importance of friendship, the strength and intelligence of women, lesbian eroticism and the workings of community.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The passage of restrictive laws governing access to the ever-growing international computer network drives professional "netwalkers" like India Carless (a.k.a. Trouble) and her lover, Cerise, out of the shadows and into the glaring lights of legitimate enterprise-until their illicit pasts emerge to haunt them. The author of Burning Bright (LJ 4/15/93) captures the spirit of new technology in a novel set partly in the next century and partly in the virtual future that is becoming today's reality. Scott's talent as a storyteller continues to grow, as evidenced by her sizzling prose and carefully balanced plotting. A priority purchase for most sf collections.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 379 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (June 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812522133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812522136
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Hubbard on December 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the only novel I have read by Scott, so perhaps my take on her intentions is off, but Trouble struck me as a novel very consciously written to flout the conventions of traditional cyberpunk. As such, Scott creates two very strong female main characters who do much to carry the story which takes place as much online as off. However, the story itself is very weak with an almost transparently thin premise and flimsy supporting characters. The novel is fairly slow paced and seems to contain an inappropriately large amount of detail on very minute points (e.g. characters' clothes are described absolutely exhaustively) while major plot points go totally unaddressed or are just steamrolled over with technobabble. The ending is EXTREMELY disappointing. Many of the story's major points go completely unexplained and most of the characters introduced in the first half of the book are subsequently dropped and never returned to. I picked up this book looking for something with a somewhat different take on cyberpunk, which Trouble does provide, but I ultimately found it to be a very disappointing and frustrating read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Scott has written an interesting, but typical mainstream book. I'm not sure it rates all the accolades it seems to draw. I've been a devotee of cyberpunk, sci-fi, and hard edged writing for along time. Net writing needs to be fast, tight, and with a continuous edge to it. This isn't.
There are some great sections in this book: they're hard, and fast, and flowing, with great potential for visualization. Yet they appear to be bound together with afterthought. It reads as if Scott wrote several strong scenes and then loosely tied them together. I found myself looking ahead of my place on more than one occasion, especially with the repetative net node descriptions, and was able to loose neither plot nor character development.
So I rate this fair. It's a good read but nothing special.
My only other comment is a question. Are we being set up, during the denouement, for the return of Trouble? As a shorter story I hope so.
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By A Customer on March 31, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the not-so-distant future, India Carless, known as Trouble, has left the shadowy world of cyberspace after the American government cracks down on netwalkers like her. A few years later, a new hacker pops up using the name 'Trouble' and begins creating havoc. The original Trouble comes back to clear her name and catch this new upstart, and she reconnects with old friends to do so, including Cerise, the woman she walked out on. Trouble finds a changed cyberworld hiding more dangers than she anticipated. For me the hard sci fi aspects were a bit dry, but Scott compellingly addressed various social issues and created intriguing characters ... that compelled me to continue. And I do agree that it went on too long and the ending is a bit disappointing, but overall I did enjoy the book. I like Melissa Scott's approach, so I'll probably read more by her.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
TROUBLE AND HER FRIENDS by Melissa Scott is a late entry to the cyberpunk genre, that darling of Eighties science fiction that treated us to virtual reality, lowlife hackers, and film noir stylings. Other writers who came before -- William Gibson, Bruce Stirling, Pat Cadigan, and maybe even Greg Bear -- delineated the genre so well that whatever followed, including later works of Gibson himself, felt like rehashes.

That's the first problem with this book, which was published in 1994. By then Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH had pretty much rendered classic cyberpunk obsolete. Scott's book is an entertaining but routine genre exercise. Trouble, the heroine, is a former outlaw hacker (or "cracker") on a mission to clear her name after a young upstart begins using her handle online. Along for the ride is her former lover, Cerise, and the book is sort of a tour of near-future USA -- a little more urban, a little more computer-ridden than it is today, and suffused with the Net. Ms. Scott writes reasonably well, if with a little too much detail than she sometimes needs, and her characters are likable but not very complex.

Here's my biggest problem with this book, and the reason I can only rate it three out of five: Ms. Scott is torn between writing a literate work of idea-driven science fiction about the functioning of a near-future society and the relationship between technology and sexuality, and simply producing an action-oriented sci-fi story. She delivers a wealth of detail and history in the interest of world-building, much like Cherryh, Russ, Le Guin, and other prominent women SF writers have done. At times her prose can be quite dense. But when the climax of the story comes, it's a virtual Wild West showdown between heroines and villain -- which is a bit of a disappointment.
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By A Customer on July 14, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has truly possessed me. I read this book on or about the time I was getting on-line for the first time. I was drawn to the rendering of the computer's concepts into concrete form. I had been told that you could become anything or anybody on the Net. To think of things like firewalls and nodes, interlinks and intralinks. The idea of having to "police" the Net. Then came this book. I now have a visual image of the Net I did not have prior to Trouble. This is a very good read. I could not put it down. I actually have now purchased the entire Melissa Scott catalogue behind this book. This book, Dreamships, The Heaven Trilogy and A Game Beyond are signature books in the genre of cyberpunk. If you have a chance, try and read them all, though they won't be easy to find. It is worth it to try
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