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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Heavy Weather

Copyright 1994 by Bruce Sterling

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point no SOJALS point    Superb (4/5)

I first read this in August 1996 and most recently on the 4th March 2002.

In the 2020's, America has been through a revolution or two, it's still holding on, but barely functional. Technology continues to improve, promising solutions with the next breakthrough, yet society is failing and vast tracts of land have been become uninhabitable. The weather systems, in particular, are out of control.

Alejandro Unger, "Alex", is messed-up German-Mexican rich kid. He's always in search of a remedy, legal or not, for his allergies, his dismal health. He's a junkie for medication.

Rescued, against his will, from the clinic at which he is undergoing a radical medical treatment, he is forced to join his opinionated and impassioned sister and her new-found friends, the Storm Troope.

The Storm Troupe are hurricane-hunters. They're scientists and adrenalin-freaks who live for the data and the excitement of the next storm. Led by brilliant but obsessed Jerry Mulcahey, they believe in, dream about and fear the imminent arrival of the mother of all hurricanes.

To survive, Alex must somehow become accepted in this group, but then to Alex, survival has never been of particular importance.

This book really is rather good, a very exciting coming-of-age story in a wild future America.

I'd just finished rereading John Barnes "Mother of Storms" (also an excellent book). That's written from many viewpoints and it felt oddly limiting to be reading this book with the single (well, almost) viewpoint of Alex, deeply cool dude though he is. "Heavy Weather is a narrower book but if you're into storms, this gives you the feel and the emotion with less of the science.

What's it got? cyberpunk attitude, genuine humour, nanotechnology, minimal sex but some cool medications and very big weather systems.

Also, as in all the best cyberpunk, it makes welcome reference to Thai pop music.

Loaded on the 10th April 2002.
Cover of Heavy Weather
Cover by Science Photo Library

Reviews of other work by Bruce Sterling
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