This book takes me back to the 1990s. I’d just started working and had enough money to pay for the phone calls to the single Compuserve London based phone number to access the internet. I used to love looking at the alt.cyberpunk Usenet group and reading the stories. Some were just bizarre but amongst them were some real gems. There were even a couple of book anthologies based on them. These days the nearest comparison to Usenet stories would be a site like Flash Fiction Friday. These stories are not remnants from a forgotten halcyon time though. They are modern and progressive stories that were interesting and exciting in equal measure. They are not all Burning Chrome cyberspace type stories.
The story by Russell A. Smith in particular is a very creeper stalker story. The technology aspects of this story are very cleverly done. There are absolutely no technical details and yet my brain automatically started filling in those details as I was going along. The final story in this book is a story by the editor Colin F. Barnes that fans of his may already have read so be wary of that. I’d already read Techxorcist 0.5 but I enjoyed reading it again. I particularly like the priest character who seems to try and exorcise evil AI in a manner that reminds me of Maxim from The Prodigy. Not just the implied accent but the patterns too.
There is one major failing in this collection of stories though. It is way too short. I wanted at least a couple more stories. It has been so long since I have read a decent cyberpunk anthology that this felt a little like giving a starving man a canapé. So tonight I will be badgering the editor in to releasing a follow-up as soon as possible.
If you are a fan of the cyberpunk genre then you really should read this. If you think you are not a fan then all I will say is that this collection builds on films such as Bladerunner and The Matrix. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read.