I like Sterling’s fiction, but not always. When he works in his inventiveness modus, he creates stories like the very short pieces “Our Neural Chernobyl” and “The Compassionate, the Digital”, that have no characters but work because of the great ideas. Another story is the impressive “The Shores of Bohemia”, about a future where Earth and humanity is changed beyond recognition, and humans have to learn new ways of living.
But he also has another mode, the stories often have a less inventive idea at their core, or they have a good idea but don’t do something interesting with it. Or they aren’t SF anymore, like “Dori Bangs” and the Leggy Starlitz stories, these can still be entertaining, but I prefer the SF writer Sterling instead of the mainstream writer Sterling. Only the SF writer could have written something quirky and weird, but still brilliant, like “The Unthinkable”.