The Artificial Kid (Context (San Francisco).)

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Press:Hardwired Hardwired (August 1997)
Publication Date:1997-8
Author Name:Bruce Sterling


The ultra-rich satellite-dwellers orbiting the planet Reverie love to tune in to the televised exploits of the world's best professional combat artist, The Artificial Kid. 
But when an enemy discovers a secret from The Kid's murky past, The Kid must face the fiercest battle of his life, placing the fate of the entire planet in his hands.
First published in 1980.


Science Fiction & Fantasy,Science Fiction,Literature & Fiction,United States

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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     This is the book which got me hooked on Bruce Sterling. A less poundingly gritty world than Gibson's and more playful as a result. It brings together aspects of fame and change - and the adolescent desire to seek one while shunning the other - in an enjoyable combination. The focus is still the action which let me read (and re-read) it for the escapist element.
  •     I'm a complete geek and avid reader of hard sci-fi. I like Neuromancer from William Gibson, Snow Crash and Diamond Age from Neal Stephenson, and Diaspora and just about everything else from Greg Egan.But I can't recommend "Artificial Kid" by Bruce Sterling. The ideas behind the story are good. His descriptions are visibly good, but it reads neither like a good story, nor like a tech manual.The problem isn't isolated to this book either. "Difference Engine" also reads slowly. I can't even pinpoint exactly what it is, other than Bruce Sterling's writings are VERY slow to read and hard to stay focussed on the story. It's almost as if the acting is poor. Dialog, inner and outer, just seems adolescent.
  •     Great multi character story lines.
  •     This is either Sterling's first or second published novel and while it's OK it really doesn't come up to the standard of his later work. The plotting is spotty, with too many unlikely and poorly rationalized coincidences, the characterizations are sketchy and cartoonish, the characters' names are generally silly, and the milieu in which the novel is set strains the suspension of disbelief to the breaking point. If you can ignore all that it's an enjoyable read in a pulp sci-fi sort of way. Had it been published in the mid '60s it probably would have been regarded as great.
  •     The Artificial Kid was a fairly short but fun read. The Kid himself is a great character and his friends were all pretty original as well.
  •     Although The Artificial Kid is not my favorite of SF books, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The Kid himself was a fascinating character with the neatest hair I've ever imagined.
  •     I typically will give a book 50 to 100 pages to get really interesting. With Sterling I gave it the entire book and what a waste of good ink.
  •     The only problem I had with this book is that the exclamation of "Death!" and/or "Thank Death!" was not slurred as in "That's the Def, man!"
  •     A fun tale, portraying the adventures of the Artificial Kid, who is something between a flamboyant thug and an entertainer, getting into fights with other of his kind for the amusement of his viewers.Despite being happy about his day to day career of carefully orchestrated violence, he is pulled into something far more complex, suddenly finding himself in the middle of events that might affect the very fabric of his society.If you wish to read a fun, action filled SF tale, this book is recomended.
  •     At first I had this rated as two stars but a month after finishing it I decided to drop a star. I just didn't like this book.
  •     A wealthy man indulges in a sociological experiment, but creating hisown personal corporate society.
  •     The usual early Sterling. A relaxed comedy of manners.
  •     This is it. The only Bruce Sterling novel I haven't read. So how does my guru's second novel hold up?Well, it's original, aggressively stylized, and full of provocative ideas. In the distant future people are effectively immortal, with ennui a leading cause of death. The titular Artificial Kid inhabits the body of of a deceased politician, making his living as a combat artist, beating up other artists with his nunchuks and selling the tapes. He stumbles into a massive historical/scientific conspiracy, and a whole bunch of crazy stuff happens in a unique post-human biological journey.This isn't a perfect book. If the characters are a little flat, or the writing drags a little, then that's the price of journeyman work-as opposed to Schismatrix, where Sterling finally arrives. But Sterling's obvious talent and energy is on display, and its definitely a fun read.
  •     Amazing and polished early Sterling.Or great editor. Very much enjoyed the story, world creation and pacing.Also typical Sterling brevity.

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