Glenn Grant's Burning Days: old school cyberpunk stories from the nostalgic contrafuture

Burning Days is Glenn Grant's cyberpunk science fiction short story collection, and it's got that old school, early days grittiness that made reading books like Mirrorshades and Burning Chrome so exciting: giant junk-mecha pit-fighting in illegal wastelands, secret cyborg cops working noir assassinations; deep greens fighting factional splits at massive post-apocalyptic burningmans; waterlogged climate refugees duking it out with economic crisis lumpenproletariat in the shadow of nanotech seawalls while improvised bombs detonate in the background.

And though this is all recent fiction, it has a kind of historical contrafactuality to it, as the Internet and the Web make no real recognizable appearance in these stories: instead, the stories exist in a world of extremely physical improvised technology that serves as a backdrop for tales of displacement, corruption, and sacrifice.

Grant has been working in the field for a long time; he even contributed to the paper edition of bOING!bOING! in the old days and published the excellent Edge Detector zine.

Grant's work isn't quite like anything else being written today, and it caught me up with a kind of nostalgic futurism that was a delight to experience. As Bruce Sterling says in his introduction to the volume, "Maybe Glenn doesn't write stories all the time -- but somebody's got to write these things: memes, palindromes, fire-spinning debris, and all."

Burning Days

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