Finally got around to reading that copy of Sterling's The Zenith Angle that I bought back before Christmas. It was a lot better than I had feared - funny and strange in that late-Bruce-Sterling sort of fashion. Sterling always has been the starry-eyed optimist of the cyberpunk set. He really believes in the innate decency of mankind. Of course, the cyber-war global-dot-com plot of the book was a complete and total misreading of what was going on in 2001 and 2002, and the book's constant administration name-dropping was rendered even more peculiar by Sterling's failure to mention Dick Clarke, the actual, goofy-ass proponent of cyber-terrorism and computer security who turned into such a walking embarrassment during the 2004 elections.
I kept expecting something horrible to come of the dropped thread mid-book about the elk with Mad Cow Disease, and the fact that they were feeding them to the astronomers. It seemed like the sort of thing which would have fed into the whole isolated-hiding-from-the-big-bad-world academics-unable-to-deal-and-hiding thing that Sterling was flirting with mid-book. Especially given the 2003-2004 vogue for "BDS" - Bush Derangement Syndrome. But, since the book reads as if it was mostly composed in mid-late 2002, I suppose that's a little ahead of the political curve, chronologically speaking. Although Sterling throws in a bit about "web logs" as the wave of the future in the last few pages.
Anyways, definitely better than Heavy Weather or Holy Fire, not quite as good as Zeitgeist. About on the level of Distraction.