I’ve loved a lot of cyberpunk novels and films in my lifetime, and I know there were earlier innovators than Gibson, but he’s one of the first writers I encountered and there’s something about the voices in his writing (and the characters and pacing) that keep me coming back to him.
I’ve read Burning Chrome before, but I find it a little hard somehow to retain Gibson stories in my mind. I have vague ideas and memories, but most of it escapes me. I blame in part how immersed I become in his worlds and the immediacy and pacing of the plots. Some books if you can remember their minutiae, you weren’t reading them properly, weren’t getting the full experience. It was both fresh and familiar to me.
Burning Chrome is a short story collection ending with the titular story. Some set within continuities of his novels, others a bit more stand-alone, there’s the tech and software focused cyberpunk, all the characters battered and hard around the edges like a desktop case that’s seen more LANs and screwdrivers than is healthy. For those of you may have seen the film Johnny Mnemonic, there’s the short story the film was based on in here. Trust me, read the story. It’s nothing like the film in a lot of the ways that count, and Molly Millions is worth getting to know properly.
What I love most about these short stories in particular is the ease and simple way tech is handled. The exposition is integrated so well you hardly know it’s there (and clumsy thick too-visible expository tricks are what bother me about a lot of genre fiction). They are readable. They flow. I don’t remember the details of the stories half the time, but it’s Gibson’s characters and quotes that I come back to time and time again in my daily life.