On the final page of the final story – the title story – Gibson envisions a possible future for prostitution.
The customers are torn between needing someone and wanting to be alone at the same time, which has probably always been the name of that particular game, even before we had the neuroelectronics to enable them to have it both ways.
It struck me how much reading books satisfies the same urge: wanting to be alone and needing someone at the same time.
Burning Chrome‘s 10 stories are populated by Gibson’s usual kind of characters, and deal with Gibson’s usual themes – although I probably shouldn’t make a sweeping statement like that, as I’ve only read two Gibson novels so far: Neuromancer & Virtual Light. Those two reading experiences weren’t fully successful, but reading this collection was, 100%.
The stories were published between 1977 and 1986, and are rather short: about 15 pages each, and not one of them above 30 pages. They fly by like a breeze, snappy, in prose that’s top notch. Here’s Gibson – in the voice of a photographer – on some building:
I shot one in San Jose an hour before the bulldozers arrived and drove right through the structural truth of plaster and lathing and cheap concrete.
That sentence alone should convince you.