Cyberpunk Cyclones
Cyberpunk classics for dark seedy corners


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The Shockwave Rider
by John Brunner (1975)


While cyberpunk heritage can be found in several pre-80s books, Brunner's Shockwave Rider is probably the only one that can lay claim to providing the prototype. In the 21st century the rich and powerful have a stranglehold on society through their control of a universal data network. The hero uses his ingenuity to fight back.





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Neuromancer
by William Gibson (1984)


Groundbreaking cyber-granddaddy of them all, this book won the 'Holy Trinity' of sci-fi awards (Hugo, Nebula, Dick). A computer cowboy jacks his mind into cyberspace and swipes information for sale to the highest bidder. Caught in a double-cross, his brain pays the price. The only cure is a conspiratorial cyber-satanic deal. Remains popular.





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Mirrorshades
by Bruce Sterling [ed] (1986)


Street-wise, high-tech and always at least a bit seedy - Mirrorshades is the defining collection of cyberpunk short stories. Editor Bruce Sterling is one of two key figures in the movement's development. Contributors include Rucker, Gibson, Sterling, Cadigan and Paul DiFilippo. Contains Bear's novella-length 'Blood Music'. Seminal collection.





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When Gravity Fails
by George Alec Effinger (1987)


Influential cyberpunk detective novel set in decadent near-future Cairo ghetto. Reluctant gumshoe Marîd Audran is one of the few to have resisted the temptation of modular VR pleasures. Vengeful 'godfather' figure enlists his aid in high-tech hunt for a sadistic killer programmed with multiple psychopathic personalities. Solid, but not essential.





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Islands in the Net
by Bruce Sterling (1988)


Sterling was telling us all about data piracy long before the Internet became commonplace. Lack of governmental control and monitoring of the Global Communications Network (not as catchy as 'internet' - is it?) leads to all sorts of murder, corruption and mercenary behaviour. Perhaps a little dated, but still an enthralling read. Just nudges Schismatrix as Sterling's best.





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Snow Crash
by Neal Stephenson (1992)


A satirical farewell to cyberpunk from one of the hottest sci-fi writers of the 1990s. In the not-too-distant future corporations run governments and the Mafia controls pizza delivery. A delivery driver who is also a hacker and samurai swordsman comes to the aid of his best friend who has fried his brain on the designer drug Snow Crash.





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Virtual Light
by William Gibson (1993)


Almost a decade after Neuromancer Gibson went back to cyberpunk's seedy basics with this near future tale of a pair of data-rich virtual reality sunglasses. When the shades are swiped a rent-a-cop gets caught up in the rush to retrieve them, with some nasty Russians and Japanese developers making life tough. OK, but somewhat familiar.





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Fairyland
by Paul J McAuley (1995)


Hacker unwittingly releases a plague of sentient 'dolls' on a near-future Europe after falling in with a child of the darkside. He makes his way through a post-nanotech wasteland in an effort to save the human race. The highlight of the tour of the main attractions is Eurodisney, which has been transformed into a place of evil.


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