Schismatrix may be the best thing Bruce Sterling has ever written. It’s one of these novels that laid the groundwork for later transhuman/ posthuman fiction. It’s bold and full of neat science fictional ideas, yet it also has a good plot and the right pacing to make it fun to read. Sterling is a writer with a good eye for details, seemingly every page has some small nugget about his future, and this creates a rich and diverse background.
It’s about a future where a silent war rages between the Shaper and the Mechanists. The former have embraced biotechnology to remake themselves, the later cybernetic technology. Unable to solve their differences in any other way than conflict, other groups grow in their shadows, those who may be able to fuse the different ways of the Shaper and Mechanists into a new vision, the Schismatrix, a future solar system society that is both divided in their many physical forms, yet still able to connect to each other, to work together.