Post-Cyberpunk
Playing with people's lives has never been more fun


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Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson (1999)


This ultra-hip tale switches between the story of a top secret WWII code-cracking unit and its connection to present day decrypters. The underlying theme is that the universe is a cosmic operating system that uses a command-line interface. In the present-day storyline the grandchildren of the WWII heroes team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. Then things get complicated.





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Altered Carbon [S1]
by Richard K. Morgan (2002)


The cyberpunk movement had 'virtually' died out by the early-90s, but is currently enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Morgan's Altered Carbon is a tense 25th century virtual detective tale about how a person's consciousness can be stored in the brain and downloaded into a new body (or 'sleeve'), making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. A far-reaching conspiracy emerges that is vicious even by the standards of a society with few morals.





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Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
by Cory Doctorow (2003)


A young man dreams of working in Disney World as an 'ad-hoc', keeping the classic attractions running as they always have, enhanced with only the smallest high-tech touches. A new group has taken over the Hall of the Presidents, and is replacing its systems with immersive direct-to-brain interfaces. Doctorow is a 'digital rights' activist who invariably hits the mark.





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Accelerando [C]
by Charles Stross (2005)


Brilliant stand-alone novel constructed from some cutting-edge stories originally published in Asimov's. Beginning in the near-future it is the generational story of the Macx family and molecular nanotechnology. When Manfred Macx peddles some intelligence amplification technology he sets in motion a train of events that eventually leads to a systematic dismantling of the solar system.





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Daemon [S1]
by Daniel Suarez (2006)


When a legendary computer game designer dies prematurely, the unthinkable consequences of a computer program running without human control are unleashed... a daemon designed to dismantle society and bring about a new world order. It's up to an unlikely alliance to decipher his intricate plans and attempt to wrest the world from the grasp of a nameless, faceless enemy.





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Rainbows End
by Vernor Vinge (2006)


In a near-future of high-tech 'silent messaging', a recovering Alzheimer's patient struggles with virtual non-reality issues while being drawn into some campus unrest. He becomes an innocent foil in a dark biological weaponry conspiracy. Vinge's mix of hard sci-fi and intelligent techno-social commentary may not suit everyone's tastes, but it ensures that his books stay the distance.





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Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline (2011)


Self-professed geek and popular spoken word artist Ernest Cline hit paydirt with this award-winning dystopian young-adult novel. Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be. The search for the ultimate lottery ticket comes fraught with danger in the face of reality.





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Nexus [S1]
by Ramez Naam (2012)


In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, hes thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage.





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The Peripheral
by William Gibson (2014)


In the near future, Flynne Fisher needs a job, and they're not easy to find. Her brother Burton lives, or tries to, on money from the Veterans Administration, for neurological damage suffered in the Marines' elite Haptic Recon unit. In London 70-some years later, Wilf Netherton is doing well for himself on the far side of decades of slow-motion apocalypse.


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