Bruce Sterling’s new novel Love Is Strange (40k) is indeed strange. The latest from the founding father of cyberpunk, known in the biz as Chairman Bruce, invokes Brazilian voodoo, Italian fascism, Seattle royalty, time travel, and technology conferences as the backdrop for the confused and confusing courtship of two dashing and astonishingly self-absorbed romantic leads. The main characters spend a great deal of time in transit, looking for themselves and each other, all the while holding forth in quasi-Randian style about their ideologies, which center around the exciting, accelerating technological future.
While the novel isn’t an effective primer on futurism— either the early 20th century Italian movement or the 21st century version Sterling seems keen to promote—it does portray the more fashionable, romantic side of a philosophical and technological universe that often seems to be the domain of emotionless geeks and their digital devices. —Katherine Mangu-Ward