Book Review: Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling

Follows the life of Mia Ziamenn, a woman in her nineties who undergoes rejuvination treatment and looks like a woman in her early twenties. Along with the rejuvination Mia's personality splits and 'Maya' becomes dominant. Unfortunately the book goes into a version of a recoming-of-age, with Maya running from America to Europe, doing some modelling work (she is, of course, beautiful) and indulging in various behaviours she was too nervous to before.

It is an interesting future world, with old people running the whole power structure and gearing everything towards medical help. Those who live longest gain the most power, and they live by being very careful in their lives, and so generally lead the most boring lives. The book has the same problem as Islands in the Net, and Heavy Weather - extra plot crowbarred in at the end of the book. In fact this happens twice in Holy Fire - a plot involving a group of young people trying to invent a new type of rejuvination that would make them immortal, then some about what happens to Maya/Mia after this falls through.

Unfortunately the book has none of the Holy Fire - the spark of inspiration that shows genius, at least for a short time - that it is supposed to be about.

Title: Holy Fire
Author: Bruce Sterling
Publisher: Millenium
ISBN: 055357549X (Bantam version)
Published Date: 1996
Pages: 296

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Review by Paul Silver, 1997