Cyberpunk
A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions
- William Gibson


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Neuromancer [S1]
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. With a mirror-eyed girl street-samurai riding shotgun, the only cure is a conspiratorial cyber-satanic deal.





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Blood Music
by Greg Bear (1985)


Brilliantly unorthodox researcher Vergil Ulam is at odds with the authorities and loses his job. He creates bio-computer microbes and - in classic mad scientist fashion - injects himself with them. As a result, an uplifting plague is unleashed which changes the course of history. Adapted from the Hugo and Nebula award winning novelette published in 1983.





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Mirrorshades
edited by Bruce Sterling (1986)


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





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Burning Chrome [C]
by William Gibson (1986)


Cyberpunk supremo Gibson outpaced the declining marketability of single-author collections with this cutting-edge set of street-wise tales. The standouts are the title piece and 'The Gernsback Continuum', while 'Johnny Mnemonic' was turned into a feature film. Cyberpunkers might also like Bruce Sterling’s Crystal Express (1989) or his Mirrorshades anthology.





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Snow Crash
by Neal Stephenson (1992)


A satirical farewell to early 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. Stephenson's third novel and his big breakthrough.





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Virtual Light [S1]
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. A journey into the ecstasy and dread of the postmodern experience.





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Permutation City
by Greg Egan (1994)


Aussie computer programmer Greg Egan followed-up the superb 'Quarantine' with this tale of a self-aware virtual reality 'Copy' that wants to live out its life as the real person who created it. By law the copy has a bail-out option that will allow it to awake as original flesh-and-blood. The human version, however, has other ideas. Cutting edge stuff from one of the 90s’ top writers.





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Diaspora
by Greg Egan (1997)


Another sterling effort from topnotch Australian hard sci-fi writer Greg Egan. Set in the 30th century, Diaspora depicts a human future dominated by beings who are either downloaded into robot bodies or exist in an idyllic virtual reality. A cosmic calamity threatens all, including the 'fleshers' who still exist in human forms. Developed from the short story 'Wang's Carpets'.





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Starfish [S1]
by Peter Watts (1999)


A huge international corporation has developed a facility at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. A bio-engineered crew - altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater - is sent down to live and work in this undersea darkness. Unfortunately, the only people suitable for long-term employment in these facilities are crazy.


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