Sci-Fi and Cyberpunk

I’m looking for some good, recent Science Fiction and, more particularly, cyberpunk flavored sci-fi. Anything in the last few years, really. I’d very much appreciate suggestions or endorsements, since I can’t really think of a better way to find good recent books than to ask people who’ve read them.

I’ve read Altered Carbon recently. That was very good. Also try Snow Crash (though I’m guessing you may have read that already if you’re into Cyberpunk).

Already read everything by Stephenson, bar Quicksilver, which I’m currently on.

Here are two reviews I did recently of sci-fi books which I recommend:

Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan - a mixture of cyberpunk and detective noir, I felt it succeeded quite well, others felt it was unevenly written. YMMV. I really enjoyed this. Note - it is quite violent.
http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3988

Ilium, by Dan Simmons - a far future space epic; not cyberpunk but one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s a return to the classic Dan Simmons form of Hyperion. Highly Recommended.
http://www.quartertothree.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3988

Also, if you haven’t read them I suggest looking for A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. None of the above is precisely cyberpunk but all are quality science fiction.

For pure cyberpunk greatness, an overlooked classic is Voice of the Whirlwind by Walter Jon Williams. That’s worth digging up if you missed it.

If you are willing to try some offbeat semi-fantasy weird fiction then Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Mieville are highly recommended.

Dan

Great to hear about a return to the Dan Simmons of old - I stopped reading his stuff after Endymion, but I’m certainly willing to give him another shot. Thanks, I’ll check that out, as well as Altered Carbon, since two people have reccomended it so far.

Permutation City by Greg Egan is another great novel about mind/body dualism.

Well you said recent books, but I don’t know that much good recent cyberpunk. There are a few noir-ish SF novels of late that weren’t that bad, if that is what cyberpunk means to you, but if you mean people jacking into the network and hacking AIs and stuff like that, I can’t think of any good ones in the last year or two.

If you’re willing to look up some used books, though, the older cyberpunk books by Walter Jon Williams are quite good… eg Hardwired.

I should also say that I finally struggled through the first tedious half of Quicksilver to find that the second half is really quite good. It’s not even vaguely reminiscent of cyberpunk, but if you can struggle through 300+ tedious pages of ninehammer Daniel Waterhouse and rehashed history-of-science stuff that everyone knows already, you eventually get to some fun zany action episodes with Jack Shaftoe, and then some interesting politics and finance stuff with Eliza.

I’ll give another rec for Altered Carbon. Pretty good, but also pretty violent and graphic (doesn’t bother me, but some may not swing that way). Kovacs is a pretty good noir/cyberpunk protagonist, IMO, and it’s an interesting world thats created in the book. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s not a bad read.

I would not recommend Morgan’s new book, Fallen Angels. It’s not bad, per se, but it is a disappointing book, almost like Morgan took the easy way out in writing it. Not like the first book at all; more of a military sci-fi in the same universe with the same protagonist as the first book.

You should read the Eclipse trilogy by John Shirley if you have not already done so.

Michael Swanwick, Vacuum Flowers and Stations of the Tide. Think a slavering crossbreed of Gene Wolfe and Bruce Sterling. Speaking of which, Schismatrix by Sterling is brilliant, though like Stations of the Tide it’s more Posthuman craziness than yer standard cyberpunk. Great books.
Stations of the Tide gets an extra 2% on the rating for having a protagonist called “The Bureaucrat” with a briefcase that’s smarter than he is - don’t ask me why, the rating system’s entirely opaque, it just does.

I remember really enjoying K.W Jeter early cyberpunk type work back in my youth. I should devote some time to see if they still hold up 10-15 years later.

(as memory serves)
Dr. Adder - too freaky
Death Arms - too bland
Glass Hammer - just right

Farewell Horizontal - Fun concept, not cyberpunk, wanted a sequel to expand the world.

Or maybe some old J.G Ballard…High Rise, pre cyberpunk, but still feels like a cynical dystopian fore father

Noir by Jeter may be worth a read. The cyberpunk bits are more world background and the ‘noir’ bits are forefront.

Iain M Banks is a ‘must’ if you haven’t already read him, if you have I’d also recommend his fellow Scot, Ken MacLeod. Banks isn’t cyberpunk, more very dark space opera, MacLeod shows more cyberpunk influences, but is more concerned with the social impacts of technology and political developments.

I should have mentioned it earlier, but John Shirley has a new novel coming out next month called Crawlers that sounds really cool. It’s being described as cyberpunk horror. He’s my favorite author and if you guys don’t check him out, I will kick you in the nuts.

JockBot - Protect the nuts… The nuts are protected.

I’m ressurecting this old topic because I just finished the best space sci-fi novel I’ve read in years, by a relatively new author that most of you may not have heard of yet.

His name is Alastair Reynolds, and the book was Revelation Space (availible from amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0441009425/ref=pd_dp_1c_2/002-0522374-6929657?v=glance). It’s good enough that I’ve immediatly ordered its two sequels, and can’t wait for them to get here. Huge novel - about six hundred pages - but really, really good.

I don’t want to try to summarize the plot here, because I don’t feel like I could do it justice right now. I’m sure there are reviews and summaries at that amazon link. Has anyone else read this, or the followups, Chasm City and Redemption Ark? If not, I can’t suggest them highly enough. Really satisfying reading.

One of my guilty pleasures has been the series of novels based on the Shadowrun RPG. Some are cheesy, but some are actually pretty good.

Chasm City is also good, but different. It has more of a ‘s-f noir’ feel than Revelation Space. Redemption Ark ties the two together with some fast plot work, but in so doing loses some of the characterization and imagination that make the first two so good. I’d put his stuff somewhere between Ian Banks and Ken MacLeod in terms of atmosphere/feel, and somewhere in their vicinity in terms of writing talent.

Good to hear, Rob. I ordered Chasm and Redemption right after finishing Revelation. The only depressing bit about Revelation was how ridiculously telegraphed the ending was. Well, not the Deus Ex Machina - that bit surprised me - but what Sylveste would eventually do was apparent from the minute he stated a desire to set foot in you-know-where.

Just finished Altered Carbon while on vacation, and it is pretty good, indeed; a couple interesting twists. I’ll still pick up Fallen Angels, simply because I like his first book.