Fiction Reviews


Zeitgeist

(2000) Bruce Sterling, Bantam Spectra, US$6.99, pbk, 280pp, ISBN 0-553-57641-0

Leggy Starlitz manages the totally manufactured girl group, G-7, who are all about merchandising but never actually release any of their music. The band tour in Eastern Europe, Cyprus and Turkey, riding high on hype and media coverage. The deal is that the whole show wraps up on New Year's Day Y2K, the girls all make a million, and Leggy moves on to pastures new. But Turkish promoter Mehmet Ozbey is more than he seems and has his own plans for the group. When Leggy's daughter, Zenobia, turns up unexpectedly he must fulfil his obligations to the 11-year-old, and control of G-7 slips from his grasp. And with Y2K approaching fast, Leggy knows that everything is going to go horribly wrong!

Sterling's accurate vision of the present explains much of his approach to the future. This book is peppered with political and cultural Truths, even while explaining that there is no Truth. With dollops of narrative fantasy mixed in with the ultra-realism (and the odd SF concept), this book may seem a little more out there than some of Sterling's other efforts, but the attentive reader familiar with his other work will not be lost. At heart this is a book about the irrelevance of the 20th century to the 21st, while at the same time commemorating the passing of an age (no matter how arbitrarily defined). Great stuff from a modern master of SF. Highly recommended.

Tony Chester


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