FallenKingdomReads’ 10 Best Cyberpunk Novels You Should Read
The cyberpunk genre has been a popular subgenre of science fiction since the 1980s. Defined by its focus on high tech and low life, cyberpunk has become known for its gritty and often dystopian worlds, where technology has merged with humanity in unexpected and often unsettling ways.
With so many cyberpunk novels to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 9 best cyberpunk novels you should read, whether you’re new to the genre or a seasoned fan looking for your next read.
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Neuromancer by William Gibson is often regarded as the seminal work of the cyberpunk genre. Published in 1984, it is set in a dystopian future where artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and cyberspace are a part of everyday life.
The novel tells the story of a former hacker, Case, who is hired by a mysterious employer to pull off a seemingly impossible hack. With its gritty, noirish atmosphere and vivid descriptions of a future where corporations have replaced governments, Neuromancer is a must-read for any fan of cyberpunk.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Published in 1992, Snow Crash is a cyberpunk novel that combines elements of science fiction, satire, and adventure. The story takes place in a near-future America where corporations and governments have merged to form powerful entities known as franchises.
The main character, Hiro Protagonist, is a freelance hacker and pizza deliveryman who becomes embroiled in a plot to unleash a computer virus called Snow Crash that can infect both humans and computers.
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Altered Carbon is the first novel in Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs trilogy. The story is set in a future where consciousness can be digitally transferred to new bodies, known as sleeves.
The main character, Takeshi Kovacs, is a former soldier turned private investigator who is hired to investigate a wealthy man’s murder. As Kovacs delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of corruption and conspiracy that threatens to consume him.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel that explores the concept of what it means to be human. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where radiation has made most animals extinct, people now own and cherish artificial animals as status symbols.
The story follows bounty hunter Rick Deckard, who is tasked with hunting down rogue androids who have escaped to Earth from colonies on other planets.
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
The Diamond Age, published in 1995, is a cyberpunk novel that takes place in a future world where nanotechnology has advanced to the point where it can be used to build advanced computers and machines on the molecular level.
The story follows the life of a young girl named Nell, who receives a powerful book called The Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, which is designed to teach her everything she needs to know to become a successful adult.
Virtual Light by William Gibson
Virtual Light is the first novel in Gibson’s Bridge trilogy, published in 1993. The book is set in a post-earthquake San Francisco, and it follows the story of Berry Rydell, a security guard, and Chevette Washington, a bicycle messenger, as they uncover a conspiracy involving a pair of special sunglasses.
Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams
Published in 1986, Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams is set in a future where corporations have become more powerful than governments. The book follows the story of Cowboy, a freelance mercenary, and Sarah, a talented hacker, as they team up to take down a corrupt government and a powerful corporation.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel, The Windup Girl, is set in a post-oil world where calories are the new currency. The story takes place in Thailand and follows the journey of an engineered human, Emiko, who is both a slave and a prized possession of her owner.
The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner
Published in 1975, The Shockwave Rider is considered a classic of the cyberpunk genre. The novel is set in a dystopian future where corporations control the world and individuals have no privacy or autonomy.
The protagonist, Nickie Haflinger, is a fugitive from the government who has been trained as a data pirate and has the ability to manipulate information in cyberspace.
In conclusion, cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that has given rise to some of the most fascinating and thought-provoking novels of our time.
From William Gibson’s Neuromancer to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, these books have captured readers’ imaginations with their dystopian visions of the future, their exploration of cutting-edge technology, and their exploration of what it means to be human.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the cyberpunk genre or simply looking to expand your reading horizons, these 9 books are essential reads that you won’t want to miss.