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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ascendancies by Bruce Sterling

Ascendancies: The Best of Bruce Sterling by Bruce Sterling. Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-59606-113-2

The stories in this collection range in original publication dates from 1982 to the present. Some of them fit into series that Sterling has written, including five “Shaper/Mechanist” stories, three “Leggy Starlitz” tales, and three “Chattanooga Stories,” one of which I had read before in some other collection somewhere (I enjoyed it almost as much the second time around; it's a good story). Then there are even larger segments of the book simply lumped together under the headings “Early Science Fiction and Fantasy,” and “Later Science Fiction and Fantasy.”

Amazingly, there is nothing else by Sterling in my blog, which means, apparently, that I've not read any of his work (except in anthologies) since 2003. I know I read some of his cyberpunk stuff back in the 80's and 90's, but apparently nothing recently. It's the old “too many books, too little time” dilemma.

Because Sterling is definitely worth reading, and there are a lot of good stories in this collection, along with the requisite, albeit in this case, quite restrained, author commentary. While many authors feel compelled to unburden themselves given the excuse of a collection like this, Sterling's comments are confined to a paltry five pages at the beginning of the book. After that, he just lets the stories speak for themselves. And speak, they do! Definitely recommended.

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