My first-ever brush with Bruce Sterling was as a teenager in Oregon, in a secondhand copy of William Gibson’s Burning Chrome. In a few pages of introductory text, Sterling deftly deflated the kinds of ’70s science fiction I’d taken to enjoying, thanking Gibson for “drawing a bead on the shambling figure of the SF tradition” — apocalypses, fantasies, space operas. I was a little hurt, a little angry, but as I flipped through the first few pages of “Johnny Mnemonic,” I started thinking he might be right.

Some years later, I’m not sure I still agree with him about the mid-century SF doldrums he thought Gibson solved, but it set a pattern. Bruce Sterling would write something provocative, needling — taking aim at the things we techies hold most dear, whether it’s bleeding-edge gadgets or online art movements. And no matter where I ended up, I’d spend a lot of time figuring out where I stood. Today, Sterling’s story “The Landline” appears in the rebooted version of venerable science fiction magazine Omni and, typically, it bites the digital hand that feeds it. In honor of its launch, he’s spent some time with us, talking about futurism, publishing, and Omni’s return.