"Big Time" Cyberpunk
Here is where i discuss some of the mainstream Cyberpunk authors contributions. As I continue to read their books, I will add my opinions about them.
JUMP TO AUTHOR
/ Bruce Sterling
/ Neal Stephenson
/ Rudy Rucker
/ Pat Cadigan
/ Shariann Lewitt
Jeff Noon / Alexander Besher / Greg Egan / Charles Platt / Melissa Scott / Elizabeth Hand
Paul Di Filippo / Greg Bear / Masamune Shirow / c.c. dust
William Gibson's Homepage
Well no cyberpunk site would be complete without talking about Gibson. While not the first cyberpunk writer, he is the most notable. He is credited for coming up with the word "cyberspace". Neuromancer set records for the amount of awards it won, below are graphics of the three books in his loosely based "Cyberspace Trilogy". Along with them is a collection of short stories called "Burning Chrome". Since this trilogy he has written several other books, but nothing with the edge of the below three. Gibson is no stranger to the big screen either. He wrote a script for Aliens 3 , however it was never used. The short story Johnny Mnemonic was made into a movie. The short story New Rose Hotel was also made into a movie, it was actually pretty good, but went directly to video. Also, movies for both Neuromancer and Count Zero (to be called The Zen Differential), are rumored to be in production. Strangely enough, the story Burning Chrome was made into a play by two different companies (look in the 'other' section for some of the advertisements. It is rather funny to note the fact that Gibson is pretty computer illiterate and once was quoted as saying "I don't even own a modem," however a recent article in Wired suggests that this has changed. Below are links to what is thought to be Gibson's Aliens 3 script, and a poem he wrote called Agrippa .
HOSTED WILLIAM GIBSON ARTICLES
Academy Leader - from Cyberspace: First Steps
Rocket Radio - from Rolling Stone
The Net is a Waste of Time... - from The New York Times
SOME OFFSITE WILLIAM GIBSON RESOURCES
The William Gibson Aleph - Big-Ass Gibson Archive
The William Gibson Biography/Mediagraphy
Gibson's Alien III Script
EFF Gibson Article Archive
Wired.com's Page on William Gibson
Basically the novel that made cyberpunk popular. I really just don't have anything to say about this book except that if you don't already know about it, maybe you have came to the wrong website.
Here is a study guide to Neuromancer.
The follow up to Neuromancer. The only characters that make their way to this one are The Finn and Wintermute. This book is actually my favorite from the trilogy, it is the first of Gibson's books to run several main plotlines at once. Ultimately it leads the reader to see a new form of Neuromancer's Wintermute character.
MONA LISA OVERDRIVE
This book brings that previous two books together by involving main characters from the first two books. In the end, I didn't really think this one stood up as well as the previous, something about the entire book was anticlimactic. It still is worth getting because it does do a good job of wrapping up the main storyline put forth in the first two books.
This is Gibson's Collection of short stories. This is basically the only rival to Neuromancer. He writes simply great short stories. Red Star, Winter Orbit, Dogfight, Burning Chrome, New Rose Hotel, and Hinterlands are especially good examples of Gibson's ability. This is a must have book.
Well this book sucked in my opinion. I couldn't believe it when I read it, I had so much faith in Gibson, but this knocked the wind out of me. I thought all the characters were annoyingly shallow, and the lack of the advanced technology found in his previous work left me in withdrawal. It is the first in a series that includes Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties, but the other two books can be happily read without it. I recommend skipping this one.
Now this is refreshing. I feared that it would be a disappointment like it's predecessor, but it turned out to be very good. Still not as good as his first three, but I don't think they could ever be touched again, its not that he has lost anything, his style has just changed. This story is essentially a story about Rei Toi, the first true artificial life form, who has became a public figure and has fallen in love with a famous rock star. In the end, she and the rock star manage to retreat to their own nanite grown island to live together out of the publics eye.
ALL TOMORROW PARTIES
Well this is the follow up of Virtual Light and Idoru. It seems that things didn't work out for Rei Toi and many of the other characters. This book reveals that some sort of major event in coming history is about to occur and all the characters are trying to arrange themselves in such a way that they survive it. A pretty good book, but I hope it's the end of this group of books because I don't see where else it could go.
Now this is a good book. It feels like science fiction, but it is not. Not at all. This was definitely the natural progression of William Gibson's writing. Throughout the bridge trilogy, one could see him writing more and more about technological culture, and relating it more and more directly to our present society as well. So it makes sense for him to write this work of present day fiction. It is essentially a mystery, you follow the main character (Cayce) as she struggles to uncover the creator of a mysterious piece of film, while she deals with enemies that she didn't even know she had.
Gibson's musings on current (as well as old and out of date) technology are, as usual, poignant. This book reads like his more recent articles for Wired magazine. Even more fascinating is the way he seems to dissect the concept of "cool" and "trendy", as this book talks a lot about trademarks, and logos and the like. Pretty much everything in this book can be related to as a careful observation of a technologically driven, media drenched society.
Also, I enjoyed what I take to be a reference to the music video and short film director Chris Cunningham. The filmmaker whose house Cayce stays at for most of the book appears to have some similarity. Specifically references to having robot dolls laying around from a video shoot that seemed to match the description of those found in Cunningham's video for the Bjork song "All is Full of Love".
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Bruce Sterling's Homepage
Sterling is a different story. In general most of his books are not very cyberpunk, even if most of them have a cyberpunk aftertaste. Schismatrix and Islands In The Net are his most overtly cyberpunk book. He is best known for editing what is basically THE definitive cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades. One second consideration, it would be accurate to say that his work is cyberpunk of a different color. I whole new twist, but perhaps it is simply best to consider him a futurist. Possible one of the great futurists, and the cyberpunk element to his writing would then seem inevitable. Also a thing to note is the Viridian Design movement that he is apparently the father to is an indication of his strong environmentalist streak (and a refreshing spin on it at that).
AN ONSITE BRUCE STERLING RESOURCE
Short History of the Internet by Bruce Sterling
SOME OFFSITE BRUCE STERLING RESOURCES
The Bruce Sterling Online Index - Big Archive of Info
The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
The Viridian Design Movement
Schism Matrix - Sterling's Weblog on Infinitematrix
EFF Bruce Sterling Article Archive
A really strange perspective on cyberpunk. I can't say I don't like it, but it certainly left a strange aftertaste. A nice blending of cyberpunk and biopunk, but it's dated nature does show. This one is certainly recommended to the cyberpunk aficionado who is looking for something a little different.
ISLANDS IN THE NET
This book is good, if you have not been outside since the late 80's. It would be good, but it talks about fax machines as if it were an amazing piece of technology that the future world revolves around. It is obvious that this is a relatively old book. It still has a pretty good storyline and takes you all over the world, but is just so painfully dated.
Now this book is great. I really liked reading it. The book revolves around life extension technology and the way it warps society. Basically the book takes place in a world controlled by very old women that have the money to keep getting treatments to live for far beyond their natural life span. In this society, one could live without even having a job, money was not of nearly as much importance as health care was. What I found to be more interesting was the look at the psychology of the main character who has lived for so long and is granted youth before unavailable through the use of a new technology. It's quite well written, I imagine that sterling must have done a lot of research for this book.
This is an obligatory purchase for anyone who wants to read cyberpunk. Some of the stories, Tales of Houdini (actually about Houdini, I didn't get the point) and Till Human Voices Wake Us (Mermaids! Argh the horror!), were really awkward. Many of the other stories are quite amazing. Stone Lives, Solstice, and Snake-Eyes written Paul Di Filippo, James Patrick Kelly, and Tom Maddox respectively were what really shine.
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Neal Stephenson's Homepage
Relatively new to the cyberpunk scene with the release of his book Snow Crash in '92 which was widely popular between old cyberpunk fans and new ones alike. Snow Crash was as funny as it was compelling. Snow Crash was not his first book, in '88 he wrote the book Zodiac, a self proclaimed "eco-thriller". The follow-up to Snow Crash entitled The Diamond Age. Stephenson, unlike Gibson, has a background in computers and it really shows in Snow Crash (except for his rendering of the acronym BIOS that he said stood for Built In Operating System, a mistake he openly admits to in the Acknowledgments section of the book). The Diamond Age goes further into the future with it's image of a society ruled by nanotechnology. He also has since written a mammoth of a book called Cryptonomicon which I have yet to buy. I hear an older book of his called The Big U is now back in print.
AN ONSITE NEAL STEPHENSON RESOURCE
The Great Simoleon Caper by Neal Stephenson
SOME OFFSITE NEAL STEPHENSON RESOURCES
Cryptonomicon Official Website
Wired.com's Page on Neal Stephenson's Page
In The Beginning was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson
The Onion AV Club Interview with Neal Stephenson
Bruce Sterling Bibliography
Basically the book that breathed new life into the cyberpunk genre. This book blended the thrill of Neuromancer with comedy, big business, pizza, and Babylonian myth. It revolves around a virus that reverts the brain back to a theoretical state that was theorized to be a sort of direct command line interface of the human mind that was used and eventually blocked off by ancient Babylonian priests. There was a lot of technical details in this book. Very strange sounding, but ranks up there with Neuromancer and other greats.
This book is a little disjointed. It was good, but took place in a false utopian future complete with neo-Victorians. It revolves around a society greatly enhanced and then polluted by nanotechnology. Basically anything is at your fingertips through a star-trek-replicator-like machine. The plot line is too convoluted for me to really talk about without writing an essay, and the ending was less than desired.
Now this book is credited to Stephen Bury, but that is just a pseudonym for Stephenson and another guy whose name I don't know. The story takes place, well actually now, during the 2000 presidential race. It is about a presidential candidate that had a severe stroke and allowed an experimental chip to be installed in his head to repair the damage. This becomes an asset when they wire the chip up to a complex real time polling network so that he could win over the audience. Things look good until he starts making references to memories of events that never occurred. This book was one of those books that you know that you will read over again sometime because it was so good. The best thing about it is that it was very realistic, the technology felt like it could be in the news tomorrow. The only bad thing is that the time setting of the book is already in the past, but you won't really notice. This book is worth tracking down.
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Rudy Rucker's Homepage
While not always cyberpunk, Rucker is quite good. Most noted for his books Software, Wetware, and Freeware, three books that follow the interactions of humans and AI driven robots and evolution. Best of all was the concept of people cloning meat from celebrities for dinner, I somehow can actually see that happening...
OFFSITE RUDY RUCKER RESOURCES
Rudy Rucker Portal
Jenna and Me - by Rudy Rucker & Rudy Rucker Jr.
frontwheeldrive.com Interview with Rudy Rucker
A Writers Toolkit by Rudy Rucker
The first in the "-ware" series. It revolves around AI driven robots that are restricted to living on the moon. The robots and man are at ends with each other, which is rather cliché. The robots are very crude and low tech looking things that can't survive off the moon because their brains require the low temperatures offered by the moon. However, they manage to create some remote controlled robots that are identical to humans and can exist on earth because their brain is in a super-cooled chamber elsewhere. They came to offer their creator digital immortality, but get into trouble when dead bodies start to show up. This book is not that great, but should still be bought because the other -ware books are great and you really need to read this one first. Even if you don't like it, the cover is so cool looking that you should buy it anyway.
The best way to sum up this book is to say "Humans made robots, so now robots will make humans". The robots make a genetically enhanced human with the mind of the robots. Then they artificially impregnated a person with it so that she would give birth to the hybrid with the intention of trying to free the robots. It should be noted that neither the humans or the robots are especially good or bad, they booth do things that are out of line and give both sides reason to hate each other. This book was very good, complete with very cyberpunk stock elements like vat grown food and electronic drugs.
This is the latest in the series. The newest generation of robots are a rather gross mix of mold and intelligent paneling. By this time the robots exist on earth too and are once again being used as slaves. This book pretty much changes things so that the reader sides with the robots instead of the humans (irony!). This book is also very good, Rucker's math background shows in this book. I hate math and this book made me like it a bit. Any book that can do that has to be good.
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I have only read one of her books, Fools. It is about several people, well actually one, but she has several people inside her head. The book revolves around a technology that allows one person to house more personalities for the purpose of acting and/or deep cover agents. Interesting, but confusing. I have wanted to get two other books from that series Synners and Mindplayers , but have not found them at any book stores yet.
SOME OFFSITE PAT CADIGAN RESOURCES
Pat Cadigan Fansite
Zero News Datapool Interview with Pat Cadigan
The Return of Little Latin Larry by Pat Cadigan
I managed to find a big yellow copy of this book at half price books. This was a book that I was constantly looking for, but was always to lazy to order off of Amazon. Like 'Fools' psychology is a major factor in this story. The characters use direct-brain interfaces mainly for psychological monkeying around. Well, there are the helmets that you can put on to induce a fun little bit of insanity, so there are recreational uses for that technology. The main character goes to training to be a Mindplayer (aka, these uber-psychologists). Lots of very unusual stuff happens to her and the people she works with. The book is formatted so that some of the chapters are very much their own little self contained story, while others are part of the larger plotline. Anyway, this was a very enjoyable read.
Wow. I found this a few days after I found a copy of Mindplayers. I felt much of the same exhilaration reading this as I did when I first read Neuromancer. Very cool in all the right ways. There are so many characters going around and interacting with each other that it is a little confusing at first. However, it is really interesting until the end, then it becomes like a really really good disaster story. I was reading it and chanting "burn baby burn!" like a madman. It's a smart, dirty cybergrunge story that will stick in your head like a good rock song. READ THIS BOOK.
This book is confusing! That is my only warning. It has an interesting plot line and she obviously is a talented writer. It is just that the very nature of a book about people with multiple personalities installed in their brains. I would recommend this book, but it is very hard to find. Also this book and its predecessors have a very 80's feel to them, so if you blocked most of the 80's out of your memories, you may have an unpleasant experience...
This is an eclectic mix of short stories. They range from the mildly cyberpunk to dancin' on the table out-there fantasy. A great collection that shows off Cadigan's range of ability, not to mention sensitivities. If you are looking for the style of fools, you will find a few stories that will flip you switch, but this book is mainly for those looking for something else with the same familiar voice.
TEA FROM AN EMPTY CUP
This book is not bad, but it is a disappointment as a direct follow-up after reading 'Synenrs'. The story reads out in a very straight forward manner. Also, everything somehow seems to slick in this book. This is, however, still an enjoyable read, but just doesn't have the mental engagement level that I had come to expect.
DERVISH IS DIGITAL
I have not read this book yet. It is the sequel to 'Tea From an Empty Cup'
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Well this author was recommended to me by a worker at a small bookstore in Madison WI. God am I glad she did too. She is an author I had never heard about before and deserves to be better known. Most of her other books are actually fantasy/sci-fi, and I don't read those books as a rule, she might make me break that rule.
OFFSITE SHARIANN LEWITT RESOURCE
Memento Mori, is very good. It's about a civilization dying of a plague while the AI that runs their city hits a puberty he was never programmed to deal with. A warning about this book, it is very depressing, the whole book is very bleak. One of the strange aspects is that the main characters are all quite unlikable, something that adds to the darkness of the book. This is a very good book.
This was one of the first books I have read in a long time that made me feel sad when I was finished because there was no more book left to read. It follows a character, Cecil, who is part of an amazingly complex organization of security professionals. She goes in with the mentality that they are good, that image is shattered when it becomes evident that they are out to control the net by force. Very good book, find it, buy it, consume it.
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It was a long time coming that I checked out this author. More info on his graphic novels, as well as the TV show, and movies based on them can be found at the website, in the Shell.
GHOST IN THE SHELL
HERE to access the Ghost
in the Shell miniPage
This is a classic of cyberpunk graphic novel.. It was an 8 issue set of Manga, that were later compiled into a book form that you can find at many book stores. This is a somewhat sexualized (as can be common in Manga, since the target audience is a wider age range) story that really mixes in a fair amount of philosophy and politics. Many of the main characters have had the majority of their bodies replaced with cybernetics, and often question the own humanity. A common theme, but done well here. But this is far from as serious as the movie based on it, there is much comic relief and just fun action to be found here. Also, the little notes by the author throughout the text really serve to flesh out the story.
GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: MAN-MACHINE INTERFACE
to access the Ghost in the Shell miniPage
This is the long awaited sequel to Ghost in the Shell. This plotline continues after the first book, but the main characters are only shortly featured. Even the main character of the first Ghost in the Shell appears as more of a new iteration of her former self. Not as many new concepts are introduced, but there are enough to make this one interesting. The real kicker here is the artwork. The first Ghost in the Shell was somewhat older, and thus the artwork was reflected in this. However, this new one is in stunning candy-sweet computer coloring. The artwork is really something to enjoy, I often just page though this now and again to just take in the artwork. The result is a beautiful story that is convoluted just enough to make you want to read it all over again, and again, and again.
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Jeff Noon's Homepage
A very good cyberpunk author. His books Vurt and Pollen, were both a strange psychedelic blend of fantasy and cyberpunk. They revolve around a strange technology known as "Vurt", a feather that when ingested elevates the person's consciousness or even body into an alternate world/hallucination/virtual reality that is has a life of its own. His book Automated Alice is a continuation of Alice In Wonderland that loosely involves the Vurt. His fourth book Nymphomation takes a different turn and feels much more cyberpunk than his other books and takes place before the creation of the Vurt. His books Needle in the Groove and Cobralingus both take on a strange stream of consciousness collage.
AN ONSITE JEFF NOON RESOURCE
The Missing Last Two Pages of Vurt
SOME OFFSITE JEFF NOON RESOURCES
Vurt the Comic Remix
Mappalujo by Jeff Noon and Steve Beard
Needle in the Groove Promo Website
Cobralingus Promo Website
The "Completely Official" Jeff Noon Website
Noon Resource Center
Vurt follows a group of teenagers who are addicted to Vurt, the Drug/Virtual Reality/Alternate World. The main character is trying to find his sister/lover who was lost to the Vurt. In the process he realizes that he is different from everyone else, and his fate leads him into power in the world of the Vurt. I initially avoided this book because of it's fantasy elements, however I eventually bought it and now hold Jeff Noon as one of the most creative authors around. It takes a little getting used to, and some of the elements are tedious (dogmen, shadowbitches, ect.), but if you look beyond that, the book is a great change from the usual.
This is the follow-up to Vurt, not as good, kind of a disappointment as it was a difficult to find book. This takes place further into the future than Vurt, and life in the Vurt have planed an insurrection against reality. You learn the origin of the dogmen, shadowbitchs, and zombies. More importantly, this book is interesting because it involves characters from various forms of myth, such as Satan himself (as an amalgamation of Satan figures from many religions and myths). The book is not bad, but it does not live up to Vurt. If you see it in a store, I recommend you pick it up, but don't go searching to the ends of the earth for this one.
I'll be honest. This book kind of sucks. The characters were not engaging at all and the plotline was at once childish and yet would be too abstract for any child to grasp or be interested in. The highlight is the illustrations, some of which are downright twisted (for example, Alice packin' heat). This also has some tie-in with Nymphomation (if memory serves, a little girl was somehow related to Alice and her parrot), but nothing that adds much to the plot. Get this only if you are a Jeff Noon completist.
This book takes place before Vurt, in a future that is much more like our present. Computers are pretty much like ours, just faster, and society is pretty much the same. The beginnings of the Vurt don't even start till the last chapter of the book. This book revolves around a strange lottery that uses some mysterious technology that a group of collage kids try to get to the root of. The truth turns out to be more strange than anyone could have imagined. This book is almost better than Vurt, it is also the most pure cyberpunk book Noon has written. It is very good.
This book rocks. It is a great collection of short stories by Jeff Noon from all over the spectrum. You see the beginnings of the "remix genre" that he explores in his next two books. You see the birth of the vurt feather. You get intimate with the Robos, learn how to play Pimp - The Boardgame. This book functions as a guidebook to everything he has written, a mental map to supplement all plot lines. After reading Vurt, Pollen, and Nymphomation, read this book to glue the concepts together...
NEEDLE IN THE GROOVE
I have not read this yet, from what I know, it is a departure. It is about music and remixing, but still seems to have some of the neat abstract free-flow creativity that Noon is known for.
I have not yet read this, but it seems to be going even further into the remixing genre that by all indications, Jeff Noon is the father of. Strange remixing of words and thought, something that I will be eager to check out.
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Alexander Besher's Official Website
His style is very different. I was irked at first by the fact that the titles of his books trilogy had "A Novel Of Virtual Reality". The trilogy includes the books Rim, Mir, and Chi. All three books have a lot of eastern religion at their core, the whole trilogy is quite strange and worth tracking down. The author himself was, according to the book sleeve, "...born in China to Russian parents and raised in Japan..." He now lives in San Francisco, all this experience gives him a unique style.
Rim takes place in both the US and Japan. The catch is that Japan disappeared one night after a major earth quake. Then it later re-appeared and no one acted like anything happened, and Japan disappears into Virtual Reality every night. The story is about Frank Gobi, searching for the cause and cure for some sort of spiritual virus that crashed the VR network that many people, including his soon, are now trapped in. The blend of eastern religion and high technology actually tastes very good. Sort of hard to find, but worth the search.
The sequel to Rim. Frank Gobi's son is all grown up and is having problems with his girlfriend, a sentient tattoo has taken over her mind. Then he finds out that the tattoo's have a plan to spread insanity all over the world. This is a good book, but a little hard to understand. My only gripe is that the ending felt really wrong, it was like dropping a nuclear bomb only for it to land and not explode. While at first the tattoos seem strange, they really seem to work when you think about it. All and all, the book is worth getting.
This book finishes up the plot set forth by Rim and Mir. But the "Children of the Chi" and the organic internet are just too much for me to accept. It all is just too weird and ruins the book for me. On one hand it's a good book, but it just is too much...
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Greg Egan Homepage
Well I once visited a military base for a weekend when I was younger with the boy scouts (yep, I was one). One of the days they let us go through their rec. library and choose some of their old books to take with us. I picked up a copy of Greg Egan's book Quarantine, and lost it several years later before reading it. Then, a few years later I saw his book Permutation City at a bookstore and bought it (the cover was purdy...). It was quite a good book to say the least, and while I haven't yet picked up a copy of his other works, I do plan to. Permutation City is about a society where people with enough resources will go as far as to copy their minds onto a computer to attain immortality. This book deals with the technology, it's dark side, and a major shift in most peoples view of how reality is organized. At times confusing, I still think that this is a great book.
This book is about a society where people with enough resources will go as far as to copy their minds onto a computer to attain immortality. This book deals with the technology, and it's dark side, and a major shift in most peoples view of how reality is organized. At times confusing, I still think that this is a great book.
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I honestly don't know anything about this author. Below is the only book I have ever read by him. I have done searches for other books by him, but none of them appeared to be very cyberpunk.
In the same vein of Greg Egan's Permutation City is Charles Platt's The Silicon Man. Once again centering around a technology that allows digital immortality. However, in this book, the technology is just being developed by a clandestine group of researchers. This book also takes a more technical style, and actually was the inspiration for my short story Earth(tm) (unlike many who may think Earth(tm) was inspired by The Matrix, the fact is I wrote it before the movie came out and before the buzz). Hard to describe. Good, but technical, also, good ending also.
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Melissa Scott's Webpage
Her previous work appears to be more on the fantasy sci-fi end of the spectrum, which I personally do not read. Her work since Trouble and Her Friends seems to be very cyberpunk oriented. While I was slightly disappointed with Trouble and Her Friends, I am eager to try her newer stories, they seem to have some great premises.
TROUBLE AND HER FRIENDS
The story takes place in the future, and full sensory neural interfaces have been outlawed by a hacker paranoid US government. Problem is that the main character, an ex-hacker with an illegal implant, is trying to start a new life. That would be great if it were not for another hacker using her name and bringing the authorities to her doorstep. This book is not really all that bad, it's only problem is that it sometimes has a hard time holding the readers attention. It is, in a sense, the empty calorie snack food of cyberpunk though. It was good, but could have been great.
I have yet to read this book. From what I know, it seems like a sort of spacedrama-esqe cyberpunk story about artificial intelligence.
THE SHAPES OF THEIR HEARTS
I have yet to read this book, but can't wait. This one sounds really cool, religion and AI together again. I am hoping that this will put a cool spin on this and not rehash the interaction between the two seen in Count Zero.
I have yet to read this book. This one sounds like a hacker romp. Could be a good read.
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I am currently reading her first book, Winterl0ng. Her writing has a heavy dose of fantasy in it, and really only has trace cyberpunk elements. Still, her world is quite worth visiting, it is an incredibly creepy and dark image. Winterl0ng is, as she stated in it's afterward, "...somewhere between the gothic excesses of Anne Rice and William Gibson's chromium cool."
A bizarre book that I am still in the middle of reading it. It revolves around two main characters. Wendy, a young girl with neurological implants that allow her to tap into the minds of the mentally disturbed. The other, Raphael, is a character who I don't quite see the point of. Both characters are quite young and seem abused and neglected. Wendy, being forced to siphon off the derangement of mental patients onto herself, and Raphael being used as a sex slave. Not a bright and happy book so far.
UPDATE: I have stopped reading this book, and am actually burning it in effigy. I am sorry Ms. Hand, but I just really didn't like this book. It was full great concepts (I love the psychology angle), but the delivery was far too fantasy and also in many ways quite dull.
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Paul Di Filippo
Sort of Paul Di Filippo's Website
Well I heard about him when I read Bruce Sterling's Mirrorshades. His short story Stone Live was absolutely wonderful. Mirrorshades was worth buying for that story alone. Unfortunately, I have not found much of anything else like that written by him. He wrote several short story anthologies (most of which are kind of hard to find). None of them appear to be very cyberpunk, the closest was his book Ribofunk, which was more genetics than electronics. But he still has that cyberpunk style in his writing.
Yeah, this book is quite a different collection of short stories. All the short stories take place in one world where genetic engineering has cause everything to just be crazy. A lot of the stories are quite absurd, especially McGregor, which feels like a demented children's fairy tale. However, the story Brain Wars , is quite amazing. All and all it is a good book, considering my copy only cost $4. About half of the stories are good, while the other half are just too weird for me.
THE STEAMPUNK TRILOGY
Like Ribofunk, this book was also very much "out there." This book, as the title suggests, is not cyberpunk but rather "streampunk", but it also throws in Victorian Era genetic engineering, and I don't even know what to say about that. This books is strange, great, and only for the open minded.
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Greg Bear's Website
Greg Bear is not really a cyberpunk writer, but he has dabbled. He has written over thirty books, so it may have been hard not to dabble. Some of them look like cheap space dramas, but most of what he is known for is biology related science fiction. The two books I am covering here are Blood Music and Slant, and no more.
This book was mentioned in the back of my copy of Neuromancer so I decided to check it out. Quite a good read, although none of the edginess associated with cyberpunk, it really almost felt like I was reading a newer book by Bruce Sterling. This one might fall under that nebulous offshoot of cyberpunk referred to in dark corridors as biopunk. This book may not be cyberpunk per se, but most fans will still like it. Somewhere in there it has the spirit.
Slant is a sort of blend of over-aged sci-fi fluff (the book cover doesn't help) with definite cyberpunk overtones. I will be honest, I only got half way through the book before stopping. It did have a good mystery that I still am curious about (so I may finish this one yet), but I didn't really care about the characters. This one also uses nanotechnology, which is a tricky subject to use, it is easy to sound cliché rather than cutting edge with the subject. Few can pull it off. Greg Bear did not.
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The Official Site for 'Mr. Blur'
cc. dust is an independent writer signed on to The Radiant Press. I don't personally know much about this writer. So I will quote his Bio from The Radiant Press's website: "c.c. dust was born and raised in a suburb of New York City. He attended NYU and graduated with a BFA in filmmaking. He currently lives in Brooklyn."
This book is one of those cyberpunk books that draws heavily from the sort of film noir, pulp comic feel of yesteryear, but recontextualizes it with technology of the future. The writing of this book has it's flaws (the overuse of parenthesis is fine for commentary like this, however it is grating when found within a book), and you get the feeling that the writer is still honing his craft. However, despite the flaws, what we get is the kind of book that sort of sucks you right in as any good mystery should. The setting for the story itself is really something that was well balanced, it felt like the present, but the technological iterations jerked you into the future. Also, the characters were great, very vivid and comic like, however they take some getting used to. They all tended to be fun characters (often with outlandish names as well), and the character of Iggy Aronofsky would sometimes go from on-edge geeky malevolence to the kind of comic relief that made me laugh out loud, which is something I rarely do while reading. The ending gets a little rough around the edges, and plays with it's readers a little bit too long, but is seems to feel right. One last interesting point I would like to make is that the book manages to pull off something of a magic trick, there are many clichéd plots and characters in this story, but somehow they manage to be manipulated in just the right way to make them fresh again (Well except writing himself into the storyline. That was a bit too much, but incidental enough to be forgiven). It is almost as if the book manages to trick you into thinking it was the first to come up with each cliché, and that is an interesting trick indeed.
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It should be noted that there are many other great cyberpunk authors out there. Tom Maddox, Lewis Shiner and James Patrick Kelly to name a few. They all are greats and should checked out too, but I personally have not experienced them yet, so they are absent from this page.