Showing posts from August 21, 2007


Sterling, Bruce. Distraction. Bantam Books, 1998, 439 p.

This book was enough to drive me to distraction. I picked it up after I saw in a list at CNET or Wired or someplace like that and it was lauded as one of the most influential SF books of the last decade. Or something like that. Hard to understand why. It's not that Sterling didn't have a good idea for the plot. He did. Imagine a near-future USA where the political establishment is all but impotent, where regional authority has by and large replaced national cohesion. Global warming has seriously altered the world's climate. Genetic engineering is careening out of control. Privacy has all but disappeared. But politicians still pretend they matter and campaigns are still run. Into this world steps Oscar Valparaiso, the handler for newly elected senator, Alcott Bambakia. It's a nice set-up. Unfortunately Sterling doesn't do much with it. Or rather he doesn't let his story unfold. Instead we are treated to pag…