Start your review of Schismatrix Plus Write a review Shelves: favorites , sci-fi , space-opera , mirrorshade-y What a great read this was. The Ophiuchi Hotline by What a great read this was. The Shapers and Mechanists are the two major offshoots of humanity who have colonised the solar system in a slower-than-light-speed cosmos. The Shapers are a faction devoted to the improvement of the human form and mind through genetic engineering and are known for their somewhat aristocratic and elitist bearing, while the Mechanists are those who instead chose the path of merging the human form with machine technology in the quest for immortality and transcendance. The Earth kicked both factions out at some point in the past and is now considered interdicted by both.
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In both cases there is at least one tongue-lolling, brain boiling, oh-wow SF concept worked into the story in every paragraph. Such a high ratio of idea-to-story weighs a little heavy on the reading at times, sometimes making ciphers out of secondary characters and making blatant macguffins out of interplanetary political conspiracies and intruige, but it never veers too far into the superficial, and Sterling occasionally lets his left brain cool down for stretches and allows some real depth and pathos to seep into his story before resuming the SF pyrotechnics.
There were occasionally whole stretches of the story that made only a passing amount of sense to me i. Considering how much of this book, first published in , still feels new and mind-blowing, and given the influence it has had in the genre these past two decades Swanwick, Stross, et.
Like a lot of SF, the characters seem like cardboard cutouts, and the plot is not good to say the least. Actually, this book is confusing as hell. Why are the characters doing what they are doing? What is motivating them? Sterling does present a colorful vision of the future where humans This book has been on my list after reading an excellent short story by Sterling dealing with this same universe.
Sterling does present a colorful vision of the future where humans abandon Earth and live out on lunar colonies, on asteroids, and moons of Saturn. They are divided up into Mechanists and Shapers. Then the Investors go away or something. Who knows? This really seems like a several short story pieces that are clumsily cobbled together to make a novel. The chapters are sometimes several years apart in the timeline with no decent grounding of what happened during the intervening years or why.
Like I said, confusing as hell. I thought it was pretty good, but definitely more intellectually stimulating than entertaining.
He has some pretty fascinating ideas, although the overall plot itself is a little lackluster.
He, his best friend and fellow Shaper protege Philip Constantine and the beautiful and passionate Preservationist Vera Kelland lead an insurgency against the rulers of the republic, who use Mechanist technology to prolong their lives. Kelland and Lindsay agree to kill themselves as a political statement, but Lindsay reneges on his suicide pact after Kelland is dead. Constantine attempts to kill Lindsay but instead kills a Mechanist, creating a scandal. This lunar colony, which collapsed due to an environmental crisis, has become a refuge for "sundogs", criminals, dissidents and wanderers. There he meets Kitsune, a woman modified by the Shapers to be an ideal prostitute. Apparently a servant of the Geisha Bank, a powerful money center, she in fact rules the bank through the remotely operated body of her now brain-dead predecessor.
The stories combined cover approximately years of future history, for the period ranging from AD The stories deal with a posthuman society spread across the solar system—primarily in fragile orbiting colonies around planetary bodies like the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and the Sun. The Earth and its inhabitants have been abandoned by these citizens of the so-called Schismatrix, and no communication is performed or attempted with them. Humanity has largely polarized into two competing factions: The Shapers attempt to push the limits by manipulating the human body itself, through genetic modification and highly specialized psychological training. The Shapers are aristocratic, placing heavy emphasis on "gene-lines"—to be "unplanned" i. Their methods could best be described as "organic.
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