"For an Afrofuturist take on cyberpunk, I would recommend Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber. Hopkinson draws on African and Caribbean cultures to describe an alien planet dominated by a kind of internet known as 'Granny Nanny' that relies on nanotechnology to interact with its citizens. A dark tale, told partially in Creole, this novel looks at artificial intelligence and body modification from a unique perspective."
- Dr Anna McFarlane (Editor of Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture)
"Transmetropolitan, the comic book series written by Warren Ellis, with art by Darick Robertson was published between 1997–2002, depicts the later life of Spider Jerusalem, a renegade retired journalist. Jerusalem returns to the futuristic ‘City’ he left five years before the series beings when his old employer demands the last two books he is contractually obliged to write.
What follows is a roller coaster of politics, transhumanism, and energetic madness as Jerusalem reports on life in the City, whilst fighting corruption in the form of presidents and religious figures.
The series is filled with characters and locations that feel gritty and futuristic but disturbingly real, and the presidential election story arc has many plot points that feel all too familiar in today’s society.
Personally, I read the series once when I was much younger, enjoying the madcap characters and artwork, and again more recently, when the thoughts and ideas within the series had more meaning to me. Both times the series grabbed my attention and dragged me through like an addict high on the insanity.
I recommended the series for anyone who likes their Cyberpunk gritty, filthy, and in some places disgusting real, but it’s one hell of a ride you shouldn’t miss.
“Journalism is just a gun. It’s only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that’s all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow a kneecap off the world.” - Spider Jerusalem"
do androids dream of electric sheep?
“I fell in love with cyberpunk when I first read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the classic novel on which the film Blade Runner is based. The story follows two humans as they deal with humanoid Androids in a world vacated by most of humanity in the wake of World War Terminus. The androids are indistinguishable from real humans except in one key feature: empathy.
As one of the men hunts the robots and the other befriends them, the reader is invited to examine questions about what it means to be human. Philip K Dick does a masterful job of infusing philosophical inquires into this noir tale. Like most great cyberpunk, the book also examines entertainment, corporate control and the influence of religion.
While some aspects of the story have not aged well, it remains a cyberpunk masterpiece.”
Islands in the Net
"Bruce Sterling’s 1988 novel, Island’s in the Net is not your typical cyberpunk novel. Many of the usual cyberpunk tropes are absent, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a read. In fact, I think it is one of the reasons you should read it.
In the novel, Laura Webster finds herself caught up in a series of events from a drone attack on the corporate owned B&B she runs with her husband to a riot in Singapore. Along the way there are plenty of cyberpunk element such as data pirates, high-tech terrorists, a sex cult of prostitute nuns, and some high-tech voodoo. The driving force behind the events of the novel is a sort of proxy war between the megacorporations controlling the world’s data and the rouge, data haven states of Grenada, Singapore, and Luxembourg (the islands of the title).
One of the aspects of the novel I enjoy the most is that Webster is not the typical cyberpunk protagonist, and we see a cyberpunk dystopia through her eyes. At the start of the novel, she is a married, middle class mother, who thinks the world is moving in the right direction. As the novel progresses and she is pulled out of her middle class world, she realizes it is not. For me, this process, along with her exposure to the types of characters who usually populate cyberpunk novels, is what makes this a must read.
I did mention the novel was released in 1988, so I will warn you, today it almost reads like a political technothriller. One reason for that comes from Sterling’s ability to get so much of his future tech right. You can forgive him for thinking people would still be using fax machines in 2023."
HOW CYBERPUNK SAVED SCIFI
(WIRED MAGAZINE ARTICLE)
"Hugo and Nebula winner Paolo Bacigalupi is one of my favorite contemporary SF writers. His modern classic The Windup Girl is one of my favorite scifi books of the past couple decades. I had the opportunity to tell him that at a reception at WorldCon, and he couldn’t have been nicer.
Here’s an article he wrote for Wired Magazine about the impact cyberpunk had on SF literature.
- D.L. Young, (author of the Cyberpunk City series)