Bruce Sterling

From Academic Kids

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Bruce Sterling at the Ars Electronica Festival

Bruce Sterling (born April 14, 1954) is an American science fiction author, best known for his novels and his seminal work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which defined the cyberpunk genre. He writes Catscan, for the SF Eye. In 2003 he was appointed Professor at the European Graduate School where he is teaching Summer Intensive Courses on media and design. In 2005, he became "visionary in residence" at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.



Sterling is widely considered to be, along with William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner, and Pat Cadigan, one of the original founders of the early 1980s creators of the pessimistic and dystopian cyberpunk genre of science fiction. He is also one of the first organizers of Turkey City (critique workshops which happen sporadically in Texas) which started in the early 70s.

His first novel, Involution Ocean, published in 1977, featured the world Nullaqua where all the atmosphere was contained in a single, miles-deep crater; the story concerned a ship sailing on the ocean of dust at the bottom, hunting creatures called dustwhales that lived beneath the surface. It is a science-fictional pastiche of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

In the late 1970s onwards, Sterling wrote a series of stories set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe: the solar system is colonised, with two major warring factions. The Mechanists use a great deal of computer-based mechanical technologies; the Shapers do genetic engineering on a massive scale. The situation is complicated by the eventual contact with alien civilizations; humanity eventually splits into many subspecies, with the implication that many of these effectively vanish from the galaxy, reminiscent of The Singularity in the works of Vernor Vinge. The Shaper/Mechanist stories can be found in the collection Crystal Express and the novel Schismatrix Plus.

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Bruce Sterling at the Open Cultures conference (5 June 2003)

In his hometown of Austin, Texas, the author is known for an annual Christmas yard party that features digital art.

In the 1980s, Sterling edited a series of science fiction newletters called Cheap Truth, under the alias of Vincent Omniaveritas.

He has been the inspiration for two projects which can be found on the Web -

  • The Dead Media Project - A collection of "research notes" on dead media technologies, from Incan quipus, through Victorian phenakistoscopes, to the departed video games and home computers of the 1980s. The Project's homepage, including Sterling's original Dead Media Manifesto can be found at
  • The Viridian Design Movement - his attempt to create a Green movement without his perceived self-righteousness of the current Green movement. He called his proposed design movement the Viridian movement, to signify its desire for high-tech, stylish, and ecologically sound design. The Viridian Design home page, including Sterling's Viridian Manifesto, is at, and helped to spawn the popular "bright green" environmental weblog WorldChanging, where many of original members of the Viridian Movement blog, including sometimes Sterling himself.


Short Story collections (and stories they contain)

  • Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology (1986) - defining cyberpunk short story collection, edited by Bruce Sterling
  • Crystal Express (1989) - a collection of short stories, including several set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe
  • Globalhead (1992, paperback 1994); ISBN 0-553-56281-9.
    • Our Neural Chernobyl
    • Storming the Cosmos
    • The Compassionate, the Digital
    • Jim and Irene
    • The Sword of Damocles
    • The Gulf Wars
    • The Shores of Bohemia
    • The Moral Bullet
    • The Unthinkable
    • We See Things Differently
    • Hollywood Kremlin
    • Are You for 86?
    • Dori Bangs
  • A Good Old-fashioned Future (1999)
    • Maneki Neko
    • Big Jelly (with Rudy Rucker)
    • The Littlest Jackal
    • Sacred Cow
    • Deep Eddy
    • Bicycle Repairman
    • Taklamakan


Sterling Neologisms

As every good science fiction writer, Bruce Sterling coined many neologism -- and some outside of his SF works. See:

External links


de:Bruce Sterling es:Bruce Sterling fr:Bruce Sterling ja:ブルース・スターリング nl:Bruce Sterling sv:Bruce Sterling


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