The Cyberpunk Thread

Just finished a re-read of Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive.

Also, I finally got around to reading Snow Crash.

Was there anything that came after Mona Lisa that expanded on what happened with Bobby, Angie, and the Aleph? The end of that whole thing just seemed very thrown away. I was looking for some resolution to the whole Voodoo Internet Gods issue, but it just wasn’t there at all.

Now, Snow Crash… I thought the whole angle of “Cybernetic Ninja Pizza Delivery” was a pretty cool idea. I’d like to point y’all here - . That’s actually a mini-RPG game about… hamburger delivering Ninjas.

Snow Crash had a totally different feel about it than Gibson’s work. I found it a lot more light-hearted and more of a comic-book style tale. Actually, I believe there was some author’s note in there about it being for a graphic novel that never materialized. Makes sense.

So, besides Gibson and Stephenson, what else is out there that would make for a good cyberpunk read?

Have a gander at the short stories of Charlie Stross. You can read the beginnings, at least, of several of them at Asimov’s.

Walter Jon Williams’ cyberpunk books HardWired and Voice of the Whirlwind are quite good. While not quite as avant-garde as Stephenson, I would say WJW’s writing is at least as good if not better.

Among WJW’s other good non-cyberpunk books, his sci-fi caper novels House of Shards, Crown Jewels, and Rock of Ages are hilarious. The setting for his two books Metropolitan and City on Fire is brilliant (sort of a fantasy spin on cyberpunk, but that is too trivial a description, check it out for yourself), and the standalone novel Aristoi is really very good.

I have stayed away from The Rift because it was WJW’s deliberate attempt to write a best-selling disaster novel, and I hate those.

Fortunately, it appears he is coming out with a new SF novel shortly, apparently called The Praxis.

I also liked Gibson’s other cyberpunkish novels, uhh, Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties, though they perhaps lacked the hard edge of Neuromancer.

Gibson has I believe just come out with a new novel Pattern Recognition which I will buy next time I am in a bookstore that has it.

Bruce Sterling.

I personally like Bruce Sterling more than any of the authors mentioned so far. The Artificial Kid, Globalhead, Heavy Weather, and Mirror Shades are all great. He has several more that I keep meaning to read.

Ooh, yeah, let me second the vote for WJW, one of my favorite SF authors. In addition to the other books mentioned, be sure to check out Aristoi.

Don’t miss Stephenson’s the diamond age, either. Go get!

Not sure if it qualifies as cyberpunk per se but Tad WIlliams Otherland series was an interesting mixture of fairy tales, computers, whacked out corporate evil doers and an interesting read.

I agree that Walter Jon Williams’ Voice of the Whirlwind is a great cyberpunk novel: in terms of a single read stand-alone novel it may be my facorite cyberpunk (with Snow Crash being my favorite post-cyberpunk). Also, Williams has a book of great short stories, Tangents, which includes some cyberpunk. His Aristoi, while not cyberpunk, is highly recommended.

For Stephenson, I also recommend Cryptonomicon. Although not true cyberpunk it has a bit of that feel, and for gamers, it is highly recommended.

Lastly, if you want a weird variation of cyberpunk, there are some “steampunk” novels based on the idea of victorian era / sci-fi (kinda). One of the main novels was The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling. Currently I’ve really enjoyed the novels of China Mieville, Perdido Street Station, and The Scar. Although Mieville mixes in a lot of weird magic fu with the steampunk its all very cool.


So, besides Gibson and Stephenson, what else is out there that would make for a good cyberpunk read?

You could find a copy of Mirrorshades and see who you like.

In my opinion John Shirley’s Eclipse trilogy is a must read. If you can find a copy of his short story collection Heatseeker, that’s really good too. Shirley’s seminal, though oft’ overlooked. His 1977 novel City Come A Walkin’ is considered by many to be the first cyberpunk novel. There’s a recent edition now available with an introduction from William Gibson.

Speaking of Gibson, his newest book Pattern Recognition came out last week.

George Alec Effinger’s “When Gravity Fails”, as I remember, was a really good cyberpunk novel. There’s a sequel out called “A Fire in the Sun” that I never read.

When Shadowrun was the hot thing in roleplaying, they came out with several series of novels, some of which were a decent, light read. Cyberpunk mixed with sorcery, but very much that specific tone you associate with cyberpunk.

My favorite Gibson book has always been Burning Chrome, his compilation of short stories. As for Sterling, I like his essays and speeches a lot better than his fiction.