This book is one of the forefathers of cyberpunk, and is the reason I want to be a writer. Intense and dark, John Shirley blends glossy tech with the dirty underbelly of society. The real triumph here is flawed, deeply broken characters presented unmercifully. William Gibson was once asked where he got his idea. He stated “I steal them from John Shirley”.
The strongest character is Hard-Eyes, who despite the name is actually a fairly innocuous academic, who has to learn everything about being a soldier in the course of the story. Cliche is eschewed throughout. Read this book.