book reviews by Althea

Pirate Utopia – Bruce Sterling

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Pirate Utopia
Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

DNF at 37%.

At some point, maybe right now, I have to just finally acknowledge that, with a few exceptions, Bruce Sterling’s writing style is not for me. For the past 30 years, I have kept being intrigued by his books, picking them up, and more often than not, just not particularly enjoying them.

This one (as usual) sounded fascinating! An alternate history novel set in the tiny and short-lived state of Fiume (…), with conflicts between Communists and Italian Futurists, with pirates somehow thrown into the mix, referencing the writings of the eccentric Peter Lamborn Wilson? (…)

But – it didn’t work for me. Over a third of the way through the book there was still no discernible plot, and nothing was happening that I particularly cared about. People who are already extremely knowledgeable about this particular time and place in real history may be tickled by the author’s clever riffs and tweaks on it, and the absurdist style in which it’s presented – but it wasn’t doing it for me.

PS – the illustrations are very cool.

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