Bruce Sterling’s Best Books

Paul R. Potts

Sterling has published several novels since I wrote this review. The Zenith Angle and The Caryatids are good but not the most memorable Sterling. Also, since writing this, I have re-read all of William Gibson’s novels, and I am not so dismissive of his later work, especially his newest novel The Peripheral.

In my opinion these are Bruce Sterling’s best books:

And one final pick:

I have not yet read The Zenith Angle, but it looks promising.

Sterling and William Gibson are often lumped together. I admire Gibson and first read his stories in Omni magazine when I was very young; these stories are collected in Burning Chrome, which is an excellent collection. Gibson is a beautiful prose stylist; I admire his short stories greatly, and Neuromancer is rightly considered a classic, but his recent novels seem to have a sameness to them. In Pattern Recognition Gibson seems to have actually thrown in the towel and stopped attempting to write about the future, writing instead about the present, his point apparently that we are now living in a science fiction story. This seems to me to be Gibson admitting that he is getting old and his foresight has gone blind. Sterling seems to be the real idea man, and while perhaps not the lovely stylist that Gibson is, he is still a very versatile and assured writer, with a touch of manic comedy and a constant sense of the surreal.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
January 20, 2006

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