‘400 Boys’ by Marc Laidlaw
An odd one, this. This is how Sterling fingers Laidlaw too, suggesting he stands out even amongst company (the cyberpunks) know for “bizarre concepts and a general allegiance to the strange”. So the story proves; if the setting of ‘400 Boys’ is cyberpunk, the mode is decidedly not. Its gonzo sensibility reminded me strongly of Steve Aylett’s Beerlight novels but without Aylett’s gift for killer one liners. It is also more cartoonish; this is a story that humps your leg rather than mugging you over.