A popular home-video star and ultimate warrior on a planet dangerously divided by class and wealth distinctions discovers the lethal truth about his world and its origins in this satiric science fiction masterwork
Founded centuries ago by the enigmatic genius Moses Moses, the planet Reverie can either be heaven or hell, depending on whether you live on or above it. The superrich orbit the world in luxury abodes, keeping their sometimes-lethal ennui at bay by watching homemade sex and violence videos created by the peons dwelling on the coral continents miles beneath them. The most popular entertainer of all is the Artificial Kid, an unbeatable combat artist whose bloody, self-produced martial arts videos have made him beloved both above and below. But the Kid is about to stumble onto something no one was ever meant to discover—a mind-boggling conspiracy of science and antiquity that forces him to run for his life into the strange and dangerous wilderness known as the Mass. And when Moses Moses returns to Reverie after seven hundred years of cryogenic sleep, things are about to get much worse.
Written long before the era of YouTube, Ultimate Fighting, and reality TV, Bruce Sterling’s prescient, thoughtful, and wildly satiric novel previews the nascent cyberpunk sensibilities of the acclaimed author’s later works.
“The Artificial Kid is a work of satirical social commentary with the breakneck pace of a Hong Kong action film.” —Amazon.com
“If you want a look at what the future might really be like, read Sterling.” —Gardner Dozois
“Sterling is a writer of excellent fineness. In point of fact, I am somewhat awed by his abilities.” —Harlan Ellison Bruce Sterling is an American author and one of the founders of the cyberpunk science fiction movement. He began writing in the 1970s; his first novel, Involution Ocean, about a whaling ship in an ocean of dust, is a science fictional pastiche of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. His other works, including his series of stories and a novel, Schismatrix, set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe, often deal with computer-based technologies and genetic engineering. His five short story collections and ten novels have earned several honors: a John W. Campbell Award, two Hugo Awards, a Hayakawa’s SF Magazine Reader’s Award, and an Arthur C. Clarke Award. Sterling has also worked as a critic and journalist, writing for Metropolis, Artforum, Icon, MIT Technology Review, Time, and Newsweek, as well as Interzone, Science Fiction Eye, Cheap Truth, and Cool Tools. He edits Beyond the Beyond, a blog hosted by Wired.
Sterling is also involved in the technology and design community. In 2003 his web-only art piece, Embrace the Decay, was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and became the most-visited piece in the museum’s digital gallery. He has taught classes in design at the Gerrit Reitveld Academie in Amsterdam, Centro in Mexico City, Fabrica in Treviso, Italy, and the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Sterling lives in Austin, Texas; Belgrade, Serbia; and Turin, Italy.