Heavy Weather — (1991) Publisher: Bruce Sterling, one of the founding fathers of the cyberpunk genre, now presents a novel of vivid imagination and invention that proves his talent for creating brilliant speculative fiction is sharper than ever. Forty years from now, Earth’s climate has been drastically changed by the greenhouse effect. Tornadoes of almost unimaginable force roam the open spaces of Texas. And on their trail are the Storm Troupers: a ragtag band of computer experts and atmospheric scientists who live to hack heavy weather — to document it and spread the information as far as the digital networks will stretch, using virtual reality to explore the eye of the storm. Although it’s incredibly addictive, this is no game. The Troupers’ computer models suggest that soon an “F-6” will strike — a tornado of an intensity that exceeds any existing scale; a storm so devastating that it may never stop. And they’re going to be there when all hell breaks loose.
Holy Fire — (1996) Publisher: The 21st century is coming to a close, and the medical industrial complex dominates the world economy. It is a world of synthetic memory drugs, benevolent government surveillance, underground anarchists, and talking canine companions. Power is in the hands of conservative senior citizens who have watched their health and capital investments with equal care, gaining access to the latest advancements in life-extension technology. Meanwhile, the young live on the fringes of society, ekeing out a meagre survival on free, government-issued rations and a black market in stolen technological gadgetry from an earlier, less sophisticated age. Mia Ziemann is a 94-year-old medical economist who enjoys all the benefits of her position. But a deathbed visit with a long-ago ex-lover and a chance meeting with a young bohemian dress-designer brings Mia to an awful revelation. She has lived her life with such caution that it has been totally bereft of pleasure and adventure. She has one chance to do it all over. But first she must submit herself to a radical — and painful — experimental procedure which promises to make her young again. The procedure is not without risk and her second chance at life will not come without a price. But first she will have to
escape her team of medical keepers. Hitching a ride on a plane to Europe, Mia sets out on a wild intercontinental quest in search of spiritual gratification, erotic revelation, and the thing she missed most of all: the holy fire of the creative experience. She joins a group of outlaw anarchists whose leader may be the man of her dreams… or her undoing. Worst of all, Mia will have to undergo one last radical procedure that could cost her a second life. In Holy Fire, Bruce Sterling once again creates a unique and provocative future that deals with such timeless topics of the human condition as love, memory, science, politics, and the meaning of death. Poginant, lyrical, humorous, and often shocking, Holy Fire offers a hard unsparing look into a world that could become our own.
Distraction — (1998) Publisher: It’s November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce. The government is broke, the cities are privately owned, and the military is shaking down citizens in the streets. Washington has become a circus and no one knows that better than Oscar Valparaiso. A political spin doctor, Oscar has always made things look good. Now he wants to make a difference. But Oscar has a skeleton in his closet. His only ally: Dr. Greta Penninger, a gifted neurologist at the bleeding edge of the neural revolution. Together they’re out to spread a very dangerous idea whose time has come. And so have their enemies: every technofanatic, government goon, and laptop assassin in America. Oscar and Greta might not survive to change the world, but they’ll put a new spin on it.
Zeitgeist — (2000) Publisher: It’s 1999, and in the Turkish half of Cyprus, the ever-enterprising Leggy Starlitz has alighted — pausing on his mission to storm the Third World with the G-7 girls, the cheapest, phoniest all-girl rock group ever to wear Wonderbras and spandex. His market is staring him in the face: millions of teenagers trapped in a world of mullahs and mosques, all ready to blow their pocket change on G-7’s massive merchandising campaign — and to wildly anticipate music the band will never release. Leggy’s brilliant plan means doing business with some of the world’s most dangerous people. Among these thieves, schemers, and killers, he must act quickly and decisively. Y2K is just around the corner — and the only rule to live by is that the whole scheme stops before the year 2000. But Leggy’s G-7 Zeitgeist is in serious jeopardy, for in Istanbul his former partners are getting restless — and the G-7 girls are beginning to die….
The Zenith Angle — (2004) Publisher: Like his peers William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, bestselling author Bruce Sterling writes cutting-edge speculative fiction firmly rooted in today’s reality. Now in The Zenith Angle, he has created a timely thriller about an information-age security expert caught up in America’s escalating war on terror. Infowar. Cybercombat. Digital security and techno-terror. It’s how nations and networks secretly battle, now and into the future. And for Derek “Van” Vandeveer, pioneering computer wizard, a new cyberwarrior career begins on the fateful date of September 11, 2001. Happily married with a new baby, pulling down mind-blowing money as a VP of research and development for a booming Internet company, Van has been living extralarge. Then the devastating attacks on America change everything. And Van must decide if he’s willing to use the talents that built his perfect world in order to defend it. “It’s our networks versus their death cult,” says the government operative who recruits Van as the key member of an ultraelite federal computer-security team. In a matter of days, Van has traded his cushy life inside the dot-com bubble for the labyrinthine trenches of the Washington intelligence community — where rival agencies must grudgingly abandon decades of distrust and infighting to join forces against chilling new threats. Van’s special genius is needed to make the country’s defense systems hacker-proof. And if he makes headway there, he’ll find himself troubleshooting ultrasecret spy satellites. America’s most powerful and crucial “eye in the sky,” the KH-13 satellite — capable of detecting terrorist hotbeds worldwide with pinpoint accuracy — is perilously close to becoming an orbiting billion-dollar boondoggle, unless Van can debug the glitch that’s knocked it out of commission. Little does he suspect that the problem has nothing at all to do with software… and that what’s really wrong with the KH-13 will force Van to make the unlikely leap from scientist to spy, team up with a ruthlessly resourceful ex–Special Forces commando, and root out an unknown enemy… one with access to an undreamed of weapon of untold destructive power.
The Caryatids — (2009) Publisher: Alongside William Gibson and Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling stands at the forefront of a select group of writers whose pitch-perfect grasp of the cultural and scientific zeitgeist endows their works of speculative near-future fiction with uncanny verisimilitude. To read a novel by Sterling is to receive a dispatch from a time traveler. Now, with The Caryatids, Sterling has written a stunning testament of faith in the power of human intellect, creativity, and spirit to overcome any obstacle – even the obstacles we carry inside ourselves. The world of 2060 is divided into three spheres of influence, each fighting with the others over the resources of fallen nations and an environment degraded almost to the point of no return. There is the Dispensation, centered in Los Angeles, where entertainment and capitalism have fused with the highest of high-tech. There is the Acquis, a Green-centered collective that uses invasive neurological technology to create a networked utopia. And there is China, the sole surviving nation-state, a dinosaur that has prospered only by pitilessly pruning its own population. Products of this monstrous world, the daughters of a monstrous mother, and – according to some – monsters themselves, are the Caryatids: the four surviving female clones of a mad Balkan genius and wanted war criminal now ensconced, safely beyond extradition, on an orbiting space station. Radmila is a Dispensation star determined to forget her past by building a glittering, impregnable future. Vera is an Acquis functionary dedicated to reclaiming their home, the Croatian island of Mljet, from catastrophic pollution. Sonja is a medical specialist in China renowned for selflessly risking herself to help others. And Biserka is a one-woman terrorist network. The four “sisters” are united only by their hatred for their “mother” – and for one another. When evidence surfaces of a coming environmental cataclysm, the Dispensation sends its greatest statesman – or salesman – John Montgomery Montalban, husband of Radmila, and lover of Vera and Sonja, to gather the Caryatids together in an audacious plan to save the world.
Good Night, Moon — (2011) With Rudy Rucker. Publisher: Carlo Morse and Jimmy Ganzer pioneered dream-fabbing, but these days people only want to close their eyes to trashy stuff — not the mention the kids and their fancy imported tech. It’s a good thing Schwartz’s Deli is still the same.
Love Is Strange — (2012) Publisher: They’re futurists in love. They don’t believe in romantic happy endings. Farfalla Corrado is a globetrotting Italian witch, trained in Brazilian voodoo. Farfalla can tell real fortunes, see real ghosts and speak real curses. Farfalla doesn’t just know the future – she can feel in in the dark, twisted depths of her heart. Gavin Tremaine is a high-tech Seattle venture capitalist. He can forecast the future, spot its trends, and invest in its business models. Gavin has a big future ahead of him – unfortunately, Gavin knows what that big future holds for the little people. When their worlds collide, history itself begins to crumble. They already know how this love story is bound to end – and it’s not what the other expects.
Loco — (2012) With Rudy Rucker. Publisher: “The feds aren’t going to fund you anymore. Not when your boss is a self-flattening radioactive pancake.” Desperate times call for desperate inventions.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE TITLES BY BRUCE STERLING.