Islands in the Net
is a political science-fiction novel by Bruce Sterling
, published in 1988.
The story is first set in 2023, Galveston, Texas. It follows the adventure of Laura Webster, a Public Relations worker for a global corporation Rizome. She tends a lodge along with her husband, Davis, with whom she has a 3 month old daughter, Loretta.
Her plight begins when one of the representatives of a data haven, Winston Stubbs, gets assassinated during a major conference between two other data haven representatives and Rizome in her lodge. Her company decides to send her and her family to Grenada, home of one of the data havens, and solve the problem diplomatically.
This books contains the following tropes:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The ceramic machetes.
- Attack Drone
- Badass Normal: Laura Webster is a PR agent in a story with gangsters, drug dealers, super-soldiers, and worse — none of whom, in the end, are able to stop her.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: An oil rig as big as a city, depicted here.◊
- Clean Cut: Thanks to the cutting power of the ceramic machetes.
- Covers Always Lie: Both the above image, and the Ace publication cover are misleading. This is not Cyber Punk.
- Future Food Is Artificial: "Scop", are single celled proteins grown in bacteria-filled vats.
- Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold
- Mega Corp.
- Our Presidents Are Different
- Pinball Protagonist: Laura, at some points in the novel.
- Post Cyber Punk: Definitely not cyberpunk.
- Powder Keg Crowd
- Prison Episode: Which is also a Girls Behind Bars.
- Science Marches On: A lot of the technology described is only incrementally more advanced than what was possible when Sterling wrote the book. People still use audio and video cassettes, bandwidth is so precious that even large companies only use video conferencing when absolutely necessary, and fax machines are still a common way of communicating.
- Sharpened to a Single Atom: The ceramic machetes
- Society Marches On: Soviet Union breaks in 1991.
- Time Skip
- Twenty Minutes into the Future
- Video Phone
- Zeerust: The book is very conservative about advancements in IT, with the result being that it looked dated by 1993.