[BOOKS] ⚡ Islands in the Net ✯ Bruce Sterling – Saudionline.co.uk

Islands in the Net pdf Islands in the Net, ebook Islands in the Net, epub Islands in the Net, doc Islands in the Net, e-pub Islands in the Net, Islands in the Net 64975b7c709 Laura Webster S On The Fast Track To Success A Bright Young Star In A Multinational Conglomerate, She S Living Well In A Post Millennial Age Of Peace, Prosperity, And ProfitIn An Age Of Advanced Technology, Information Is The World S Most Precious Commodity Information Is Power Data Is Locked In Computers And Carefully Rationed Through A Global Communications Network Full Access Is A Privilege Held By FewNow, Laura Webster Is About To Be Plunged Into A Netherworld Of Black Market Data Pirates, New Age Mercenaries, High Tech Voodoo And Murder


10 thoughts on “Islands in the Net

  1. says:

    I grew up knowing that this was supposed to be a great cyberpunk novel right in the heart of the genre as it was a few years after Neuromancer, and I did eventually get around to reading his novel with William Gibson, The Difference Engine, which was pretty much a steampunk novel.Other than that, I kept berating myself that I d never gone back and read what should have been a staple of the genre.So what did I think He was well ahead of the curve when it came to predicting the future, pretty much nailing the EU, data havens and digital currency well back in the mid eighties Back closer to that time, I d probably be glorifying this novel as a predictive masterpiece.Unfortunately, the story isn t strong enough to carry us through what is apparently our new norm.It s great to read this novel from an archeological standpoint, seeing just how much he predicted that had come true, but beyond that it was just okay Topless women and exploding buildings was pretty much the high action points, imho There really could have been some better character exploration and interesting plots That s pretty much the worst I can say about it The tech seemed modern TODAY even though we re 30 years ahead from when it was written.That s impressive as all hell I could even trace a lot of the great elements that Neal Stephenson wrote about in Cryptonomicon a good fifteen years past this book I wanted to applaud But unfortunately, great ideas and a great heritage doesn t always prove to be a timeless classic, and that s a real shame.I could see the outline of something that might have been a timeless classic It s just a shame that it didn t make it.


  2. says:

    Visionary.Okay, we don t have personal watch phones We have personal phone watches instead Big deal The trajectory of this book, the whiff of cynicism, menace, strangeness, and internationalism it s basic arguments about the future of power, all of them are still relevant and still have the power to explain parts of the world You can hear Sterling s prose learning from the textural techniques of William Gibson, and benefitting from them, but the raw intellectual content of this book outstrips any of Gibson s novels Neuromancer is still a better work of literature, but this novel lights up different parts of the brain entirely.Much of the future shock of this novel is softened, not because it has aged poorly, but because it has aged so WELL The rise of terrorism and private warfare around the globe, the ascendancy of a new corporate ethos, the feel of post industrial buildings, the simple fact of dizzying multiculturalism in commerce and media, the antiquated feel of the 20th century, the rise of automation in industry and warfare it s all in this book, written in the late 1980s Remember, this book came out only a year after the Regan administration had ended And it STILL feels cutting edge.And I even love the vintage, schlocky, buxom cyber babe on the cover, even though I can t figure out which character in the book she s supposed to be.


  3. says:

    People seemed to miss the boat on this one Badly in need of a reissue, ditch the atrocious cover and update the text a little bit and this would be cutting edge or at least comfortably contemporary Like Brunner or Moorcock s Cornelius stories and peer co conspirator Gibson this takes a sci fi lens to contemporary culture and stretches into plausible shapes Sterling pretty much nails it yes he gets some wrong but not enough to discredit the rest , with Globalism, the rise of the third world in the wake of U.S redundancy and Soviet collapse, data havens and smuggling, terrorism and counter terrorism a pretty stunning rendition scene , drone aircraft, private armies, and a sort of European union A fully realized three dimensional future with some terrific action, a lot of weird and wild characters, and an air of absurdist comedy Iain M Banks claims to have written an unpublished novel that he described as Catch 22 meets Stand on Zanzibar , which could be a good description of this book, as is Zelazny s description of it as a High Tech Candide Pungent satire and great science fiction, Sterling has produced other books like Distraction and Holy Fire which have great ideas but languid pace, but the ideas and pace are consistent here This along with Shismatrix, The Difference Engine, and some short stories prove Sterling s genius as a fiction writer.


  4. says:

    Damn you Bruce Sterling You reminded me of the potential of the net, and how we have squandered it.For those of use who were on the internets in the late 1980s like Bruce, and me , this book perfectly captures the hopes that we had for the new technological future Well, Bruce was always a much cynical bastard than the rest of us, so we had the Utopian ideals, and he saw how human beings would fuck them up.Except, he didn t Bruce fell for the optimism, juust a little bit, in that he thought that the influence of the internet would be uniformly positive, and the only negative actions that came from it would b the negative actions people perpetrated on the net In the time of the writing of the book, he was t wrong The internet was a paradise, run as a cooperative venture for the benefit of all mankind There was no spam There were no comments There were no paywalls There was no World Wide Web, even There was only the promise of untrammeled communication between people, and who could ever argue against that I realize that this review is a review of the techno optimism of the late 1980s, and not a review of the book per se, but you ll have to take my word for it a review of the techno optimism of the late 1980s IS a review of the book.


  5. says:

    Reading Islands in the Net now, it may take a minute to figure out why it s a cyberpunk classic There is very little VR, and what is there is not described in detail Most of the book is off the grid but then again, much of Neuromancer is, too The heroine isn t a hack, programmer, or counterculture sympathizer, in fact, she s a corporate worker.But read further in and you ll see that it s about the essential cyberpunk issues Corporations consolidating power and those who don t get any The impact of instant world wide communication and what happens to those who aren t included How technology and society change one another and how the morals of those involved matter Whether the masses can threaten a global social order What kind of crimes, if any, can be forgiven for the sake of technical or social genius.The major action of the book is completely relevant today global terrorism and the questions of social and economic breakdown in Africa What is likely, what is preventable, how do they affect the rest of the world, and does anyone have both the power and the will to affect the issues The book is written in Stirling s slightly dry style and the setting changes back and forth in ways that may large sections of the book less interesting to some readers It s worth it and it s far from a slog, but be aware going in that it s best to either do it in one quick read or spread out over many days.The story follows Laura Webster She is a high flyer rising in Rizome Corporation, a multinational megaconglomerate The pun on rhizome is no doubt intentional At the beginning of the book she s starting up a new subsidiary, a Lodge in Galvaston the company uses as a combination retreat, vacation spot, and meeting place for the most discrete business Her architect husband designed the place and now spends a lot of his time playing Worldrun, a sim game of modern politics Like most players he can t master the art of keeping Africa stable.Laura and David and their baby become involved in Rizome business with offshore data pirates, learning the ins and outs of international banking crime Along the way they meet other people sheltering offshore, criminal scientists and artists As her involvement deepens she finds herself stuck between Rizome, the newly recreated Church of Isis, terrorists, rogue states, African nationalists, American nationalists, rival multinationals, and the interests of her own family Terrorist acts threaten the almost one world government, a meltdown of African societies threatens to both her safety and her morals, and the implications of the gulf between Net haves and Net have nots, whether by reason of location, income, or literacy, rises to the world stage.This is one of the few cyberpunk books written from the suit perspective, and it s a pleasure to see genuine idealism alongside power plays in the zaibatsu.


  6. says:

    I was craving a science fiction read outside of my usual realm of authors I picked up Islands in the Net for a few reasons 1 It s an early cyberpunk novel I love me some cyberpunk 2 It s by Bruce Sterling and I have only been exposed to William Gibson primarily 3 It was 2.00 at my favorite local book storePicking this thing up, wow, holy crap You would think this book was written maybe a few years ago if it weren t for the dated frizzy tangle of 80 s hair on the front cover To think that this was written in 1988 is mind blowing considering the content Science fiction then, borderline reality now.The story takes place in the early 2020 s where democratized multinational companies dominate both economic and political spheres Smaller, sometimes third world countries like Granada, Luxemburg, and Singapore have become havens for data storage due often due to loose regulations Our protagonist is a middle aged corporate woman mother wife Laura in charge organizing a gathering representatives from three data haven organizations that have been linked to terrorist, revolutionary groups After an air drone assassinates a key data haven representative, Laura, hey husband, and young baby embark on a third world tour to clean up the now damaged image of the Rizome multinational organization.What happens from there is a crazy ride for Laura through Grenada, Singapore, and Mali Our main protagonist is an early 30 s, married, mother, which was surprisingly fresh in a the typical world of low class meets high tech grimy hackers or sexed out female assassins It s interesting to me in a sci fi subgenre that was all the rage in the mid to late 1980 s that Sterling would go completely against the tropes set before him by the Gibsons of the genre Laura is wife and mother, but she is also a strong, independent woman who wants a career and stands for principals perhaps even above her organization She is a very strong female character which I absolutely loved Although she spends the majority of the novel running from chaotic, terrorist attacked third worlds, she hardly ever seem weak or lost She s a savvy 2020 s woman I can only hope exists a decade from now.Aside from her there are other interesting characters throughout this Laura s husband David is a Mr Mom type Goofy, and non interested in the corporate sphere he works in Sticky Thompson is a face changing terrorist with neurotoxin bacteria in his gut He gives Neuromancer s Hideo a run for his cyberpunk assassin credits And finally, rogue American journalist Johnathan Gresham and his Tuareg nomad rebellion.The world is incredibly detailed with background history that feels organic From the steelwork mazes of Grenada to the crazy metal low tech of the Tuaregs Although the real world has panned out a whole lot differently than this 1988 visage of 2020 s events, they are not so far off that they couldn t have happened Sterling predicted a lot of elements of modern global 21st century globalization the rise of global terrorism as a means of protesting the developed world, assassination via aerial drone, and net enabled watches and glasses although most of us are still waiting on the Google Glasses The net is less of a hallucinatory abstraction of data and information for users to travels through and explore that Gibson s Sprawl Matrix is Instead, Sterling s net is a conglomeration of phone lines, video equipment, and personal communication and messaging Sterling noted the internet as a means of media convergence and interactivity between users It s less prose like and pretty the Gibson s interpretation, but if we look at where the evolution of the internet has taken us today all the way to the current wave of internet enabled wearable devices I would say that Sterling had a his ear to the pulse of what those primitive 80 s networks were slowly becoming.This is a great novel from first page to last It starts off strong and gradually builds Although the old dated 80 s sci fi covers may make the novel appear dated, it is really in need of a fresh coat of paint because it is incredibly modern and forward thinking looking back on it Sterling s cyberpunk dystopia less gritty and street, corporate and sleek He s a unique flavor a computer science fiction than the William Gibsons and Neil Stephensons I ve read in the past This was a great book One I will remember for a while and one I will keep in the back of my head to read again as the years go by A great work of science fiction, a seminal underrated work of the cyberpunk subgenre, and just a fun book 5 stars Easily the best thing I read all summer.


  7. says:

    This is a pretty highly regarded sf book, althou I am not entirely sure why I like Sterling s editing he edited the fine anthology Mirrorshades but am not a big fan of his writing He exemplifies both the strong and weak points of the genre My main complaint is one that I have about other SF novels the ideas are engaging, the future world he posits is thought provoking, but the characters are shallow, and there is very little real insight or feeling SF too often ignores good prose and characterization in favor of kool zap pow action.This book presents an overall vision of the future that is neither utopian nor bleak There were some interesting notions special poisons that make people go insane, little robot assassins and weapons, a one celled protein called scop that people eat Other ideas already seem obsolete the Net as portrayed here has already arrived, super expensive video glasses you can probably get something like it for a reasonable price today , and suitcase enclosed portable computers that are a little bulky in comparison with laptops.The lead character is a tough, aggressive, corporate gal named Laura Webster She works for a corporation called Rizome that has a democratic power structure and is involved with some pirate data havens in Grenada and Singapore She is married to a cardboard cutout named David, who also works for Rizome, and they have a baby She is willing to risk this child s life and abandon it for a long period as she pursue s her and her employer s vague goals in an explosion filled romp across the globe Judging by all the violence and swashbuckling characters, as well as the miraculous ability of the lead character to avoid harm, Islands in the Net seems aimed at the teen market and Hollywood.


  8. says:

    Storyline 1 5Characters 2 5Writing Style 2 5World 3 5 Islands in the Net puts one in the unusual, albeit not unheard of, position of an accidental, distant spectator It is full of spectacles a roller coaster with its crests and troughs, strings of colored lights, random and bizarre embellishments There s a veritable carnival going on in this cyberpunk political thriller, but somehow the planner forgot to include an on ramp for access One reads along as the presumably exciting events happen and the unbelievable occurs It all happens without understanding or feeling Character motivations, ideologies, personal beliefs, the nature of dangers or the rewards for success none of these are explained So, characters wanting something ill defined, to some unspecified degree, make choices from an unknown set of options for unclear reasons What are surely supposed to be exciting things result What they mean, who they affect, why it matters These components are never delivered It is clear that it all means something, affects some, and matters to a degree Beyond that it was guesswork.The exceptional amount of vagueness in the text is all the unfortunate because the book is detailed in some many other areas There s cool technology, a fairly thought out political order, lots of very specific ideologies Coming near but before the end of the Cold War, the book had some interesting thoughts on the trajectory of things to come that, while were wrong, did anticipate some of the geo politics we are left with today The plot takes the reader through the intimate and mundane, the small scale revelation, and the macro level, all on a plotted path that should have heightened the reading experience There was just something fundamentally wrong with the pacing, characterization, description, and grammar The author was principled ruling out narrative exposition in favor demonstrative action That would normally be the right choice The problem for Islands in the Net is that the actions did not clearly demonstrate anything Perhaps it is a function of the time and environment in which it was written Perhaps one needs a common referent maybe the author did not build an on ramp because he assumed we were already at the carnival For whatever reason, the author throws out names of obscure or co mingled political and economic ideologies and assumes the reader knows enough about them that explanation is unnecessary The thoughtfully hinted at world order is struck, and we re supposed to anticipate and draw conclusions based on revelations, but the premises were never clearly laid We get introduced to characters but before we understand who they are, they rush off to do something uncharacteristic I never understood the people, organizations, politics, or technology that the book began with The book was intent on changing those characters, groups, ideas, and inventions I did not understand that process The reward at the end was supposed to be the distance between the result and what it all began with But I couldn t measure the distance between a beginning I could never find and a conclusion that I did not recognize This failed as a story.


  9. says:

    A seminal work helping to establish the cyberpunk genre, this dystopian sci fi story has one foot in a near future 2023 25 from today 2018 where nation state power has receded and transnationals have filled the vacuum, and yet the work has the other foot firmly stuck in the mindset of the Cold War.Sterling has misread the future, in his world data pirates are the biggest threat to privacy, stealing data and selling it to corporations who can profit from it a sad inversion to today s reality where transnational tech giants legally capture and monetize our private data while hackers try to set that data free.In this book Sterling makes some interesting predictions that have recently come true Autonomous electric vehicles Automated attack drones VR and augmented reality glasses Failed African states Climate change and its impact on populations Corporate warfare via mercenary armies Allegiance to corporations over states Media blackouts Mass produced food replacements like Soylent, called Scop The rise of a neoliberal hypercapitalist Singapore The failure of global governance like the UNOther speculative descriptions are shortsighted Continued ubiquity of faxes and hard copy printouts The continuation of the USSRThis book defines the paradigm example of a strong female lead, waaay before the era of strong female leads Laura is the prototype for the strong lean in badass mother, and unfortunately the world Sterling created end up tearing her life apart She stands up and stoically works through it, despite the seemingly bleak pointlessness of the postmodern condition she and the other citizens of this world continue to live through.


  10. says:

    I had this book on my Cyberpunk reading list for quite a while As I have started reading, it reminded me some of the ideas of the Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson with its Data havens and financial concepts As it went on I was hoping to see some first eye action as in Koko takes a vacation by Kieran Shea, but unfortunately our protagonist her peers wander through the plot and manage to barely tilt the balance in their favor by sheer luck rather than design I am not saying it does not fit the main concept of things, but the book turns out to be quite a manifesto for the economic powers and ideologies of its time along with some good predictions, which may carry up to the present Unfortunately the cost of it, at least for me, was in the interest of the plot in favor of deeper background contemplation This is one of those books, which solid for its ideas and concepts, rather than as an execution of a plot.


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