Some time in 1993 I started noticing Crashcourse in the sci-fi section of the bookstores I frequented. The cover art was competant, eye-grabbing, like maybe it had something to prove. It seemed to promise style. There were plugs from both William Gibson and Pat Cadigan in the margins --not that being an author necessarily makes you a critic (except for cash and prizes). But I suspected that the endorsements were not done for profit alone. The blurb on back sounded cutting-edge (and maybe clichÈ, buying too far into the genre?) but I went with it. One should always be wary of novels being sold as cyberpunk, it is a dangerous label, often it means that the author is ripping of all the old standards without making any contributions. But in this case I was pleasantly surprised. Crashcourse contains a strong, first person and often poetic narrative that is unique, while simultaneously drawing from the styles of both Gibson and Cadigan (which I believe is where Baird fits within the genre, as a cross between the two). One could equate the main character Cass as a more down-and-out Molly (Neuromancer), a young woman trying to eke out an existence in a grungy Sprawl-equivalent. The novel starts innocently enough with a quick opportunity for fame and fortune, but the result is more Mona Lisa than a quick ticket off-planet. In any case, the trilogy is captivating and entertaining, and though it goes off the deep end near the end (off the plausability scale, to say the least), I recomend it.