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Reviews of Schismatrix (1985)

Review by sTalking_Goat (2003-12-11)
Schismatrix must rank as one of the most interesting, unentertaining books I've read in
sometime.

I approached this with a of bias of course. I got turned on to Cyberpunk like most through
Neuromancer, but quickly moved on from Gibson to more unconventional (who would have
thought Gibson would become part of a convention) work like Noon's Vurt books. Coming from
Noon's 'vazed and vurted out' world back to Sterling was...jarring.

Sterling manages to paint an incredibly intricate society here, the philosophies and factions of
Shapers and Mechanists, Neo Serotonists and Catyclysts are complex and compelling.

The book however lacks a certain flair that I expected, after having read Gibson and Noon.The
book has no sense of humor, the philosophies are too dense to allow it. It took me about two
weeks to finish the Schismatrix portion. Reading it almost became work, I found myself
scheduling time to finish it.

The book is worth reading if for nothing else, the chapter on Kitsune's Dembowska. A city made
of living flesh. The description made my skin crawl.

Farscape fans should also note the cameo appearance of two characters near the end that are
undoubtdly the inspirations for Pilot and Moya.

Recommended, but not for relaxing reading

Review by Phacops (2003-03-15)
Wow is this novel ever weird -- like an acid trip to the future. It is a great work of surrealist science fiction. It's a big picture of the future of man in space, as we become posthuman, Complete with feuding factions, frontier lawlessness, swashbuckling pirates and more. Lots of ideas, lots of twisted cultures and ideologies. It's a strange, awkward, uneven book, but it still stands out amongst a lot of the other science fiction from around 1985, as very forward thinking and original. In short, despite being a tough pill to swallow, I loved it.




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