Bruce Sterling, was one of my roommates in college, (the University of Texas at Austin). The first year we lived in a dorm, and we were in the same hall but not sharing a room. We did however share a common interest in science fiction. We formed a SF club, many of the guys we knew in our dorm became members as well as a few girls. I remember a number of the girls as being very good looking. Lisa Tuttle who I now believe lives and writes in England was also a member.

In our second year we, the SF club (the name of which eludes me), decided to all move into one apartment complex, the Spanish Village on Enfield road. We lived there for the next two years, occupying four or five apartments of the complex. There was some ebb and flow to our group, generally four to six women and about five to eight men. Bruce and I shared an apartment although not a room.

It was during this time that Bruce started writing, he was getting together with other writers and working with them, critiquing each others stories, and generating new story ideas. They met about once a month, (this workshop was called Turkey City), and included at least two already published writers, among them George R. R. Martin, and Joe Haldeman.

While I don't recall reading any of the stories produced at these workshops, I have a vague recollection of a series of short stories that were called the Hung Like an Elephant stories. I don’t know if they ever saw print and I don’t know who wrote them, but the name of the series sure sticks in my mind.

Though Bruce may argue the point I believe he got his first big break on our first trip to Aggie Con, in College Station. I have no doubt that Bruce did not actually need this break, he was going to be a writer no matter what. But it didn’t hurt.

Harlan Ellison was one of the guests at Aggie Con. When Bruce and Harlan met the sparks flew, mostly on Bruce’s part, I believe Harlan was genuinely interested in helping Bruce, Bruce just did not believe he needed help, he was utterly convinced that he was going to be a writer, it was inevitable, that was his goal and since nothing could stop him, what did he need Harlan for?

I am not certain of this but I believe Harlan offered to publish one of Bruce’s short stories in Dangerous Visions at this time. Dangerous Visions finally came out many years later. I don’t have a copy of Dangerous Visions with me but checking at http://www.catch22.com/SF/ARB/SFS/Sterling,Bruce.php3 does not show any of Bruce’s stories as being in Dangerous Visions.

The one other thing I remember about that trip to Aggie Con is that Harlan had the most incredibly beautiful woman I have ever seen with him.


3/13/2002 Thanks to Lucy-S writeup Turkey City Lexicon: A Primer For Science Fiction Workshops, I now recall that Bruce's writers group was called Turkey City.
Real futurism means staring directly into your own grave and accepting the slow but thorough obliteration of everyone and everything you know and love. Does this sound like fun? It can be. Just don't expect it to move a lot of product.
        -- Bruce Sterling, The Future?

Don't become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don't read Shakespeare. Read Webster's revenge plays. Don't read Homer and Aristotle. Read Herodotus where he's off talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats. If you want to read about myth don't read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists.
        -- Bruce Sterling, from a speech given at the 1991 Computer Game Developers Conference

Born in 1954, Bruce Sterling is one of today's worldwide top futurists. Sterling writes neither about advances in scientific knowledge, as a hard science fiction writer would, nor soft science fiction about the lives of characters affected by them. Instead, he writes about the everyday society of man as it will be when all the advances have become perfectly mundane; Sterling writes the history of the future.

Besides writing novels and short stories, Sterling is involved with projects deeply investigating details of both the future and the past. The Viridian Movement is dedicated to providing aesthetically and ecologically pleasing industrial design, and working towards a ecologically invisible future for the human race. He also began the Dead Media Project, which explains every detail of dead media (from the Auto-Magic Picture Gun to the Zuse Ziffernrechner) as a way to give perspective to modern media. When he's not writing for projects, books, Wired magazine, or in other forums, Bruce Sterling also serves on the board of directors of the Austin chapter of the EFF.

While Sterling has written plenty of books, his best literary work is in his short stories, which number in the dozens. My personal favorites include Red Star, Winter Orbit and Our Neural Chernobyl, the former written with William Gibson. There's also his killer Shaper/Mechanist universe, which he began in the novel Schismatrix and continued through Crystal Express, along with several short story updates collected in Schismatrix Plus. I should also mention Holy Fire (shamelessly, as I have a writeup there), which contains another well thought out photograph of the future.

Bruce Sterling's books include:

Involution Ocean (1977)
The Artificial Kid (1980)
Schismatrix (1985)
Islands in the Net (1988)
Crystal Express (1989)
The Difference Engine (1990 with William Gibson)
The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier (1992, non-fiction)
Heavy Weather (1994)
Schismatrix Plus (1996)
Holy Fire (1996)
Distraction (1998)
Zeitgeist (2000)

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