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Reviews of Heavy Weather (1994)

Review by Sillywabbit (2003-03-19)
Heavy Weather is a great book and it has a place in my special hall of fame. Many of the books on my overloaded bookshelf wail with envy! Heavy Weather is in the, read it more than once, hall of fame! In fact I have read this book 3 times.

To my mind, Bruce Sterling has always been a better and more interesting writer than the more famous "father" of Cyberpunk, Gibson. This book is well written. The thing that made this book for me was the characters.

I recommend it highly!

Review by mwisse (2003-03-10)
Don't you just love Bruce Sterling? Don't you just love the way in which he can sketch a complete future world with small clues and half understood hints, without ever resorting to infodumps? Don't you just love it that no matter how shitty the worlds are he creates, there's always a streak of optimism in his novels? Don't you love the way in which he tries to overload you with details about those worlds, with neat throwaway ideas, without overwhelming you?

Well, I do. There is, to my mind at least, a distinction in science fiction between pre-eighties and (post-)eighties writers. The first are the magazine writers, coming from the science fiction tradition ultimately established by Hugo Gernsback and John Campbell. They may reject it, or mutate it, but in the background still loom the familiar figures of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein. The second group only started writing after science fiction had finally left adolescence and had matured, in a world immersed in science fiction. Pre cyberpunk versus post cyberpunk.

I grew up on pre cyberpunk sf, found it safe and cosy, then cyberpunk came and blew my brains out. Itmay have been overhyped and it may have been overblown, but it did liberate science fiction just as much as the New Wave did --and Sterling was in the thick of it. Cyberpunk crashed and burned but he klept on writing and getting better. Unlike Gibson, who I always found to be writing the same novel over and over again, he took the tools of cyberpunk and created new worlds with it. The epitome of cyberpunk was also the first post cyberpunk.

Case in point (and *finally* we come to the real review), Heavy Weather. Coincidently released in the same year as another tornado book, John Barnes' Mother of Storms this is the story of the US fucked up by global warming to the point that tornados big enough to have been declared a national emergency 40 years before are now an everyday occurrence. Which suits the socalled Storm Troupe just fine, since they hack heavy weather and they're on the trail of the mythological F6 tornado, never seen yet and thought to be impossible.

Jane Unger is a member, her brother Alex isn't. He is terminally ill, though nobody knows of what. Jane kidnaps him from the Mexican clinic he was slowly dying in into the storm troupe, just in time for the fun to start...

A brilliant novel, but still one of Sterling's minor works. It just amazes me how much raw talent he has.

(Taken from my booklog at http://www.cloggie.org/books/)

Martin Wisse




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