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Cyberpunk: A Primer Part 2

Last week we discussed the Science Fiction sub-genre Cyberpunk, what it is, its origins, and why it's important. This week, as promised, is a list of important and worthwhile Cyberpunk works across all mediums. Let's jack in.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick (1968) - Not technically a cyberpunk novel, but it's so influential on the genre that I'm including it here. It's adapted as…

Blade Runner (1982) - Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a "blade runner" whose job is to hunt down synthetic humans called replicants. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049 was released in 2017, 35 years later.

Software by Rudy Rucker (1982) - Cobb Anderson is a disgraced computer scientist accused of treason for attempting to develop true artificial intelligence. He's approached by a mysterious man who offers him immortality, of course, everything is more complicated than it seems. It was followed by three sequels, Wetware, Freeware and Realware.

Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984) - The Cyberpunk novel to read. Burnt out hacker Henry Case teams with razor girl Molly Millions to pull off a heist job for a mysterious figure known as Armitage. It became the first book in The Sprawl Trilogy. It was followed by Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.

Another side note: Blade Runner and Neuromancer both made heavy use of Japanese culture and imagery. These elements often combined with seminal Japanese films, have made Japan and its culture an important part of Cyberpunk, whether its Japanese corporations taking over the world, deadly cyborg geisha, or street samurai.

Dr. Adder by K.W. Jeter (1984) - Dr. Adder is an underground surgeon in future L.A. who modifies sex organs. Interestingly enough, the book was actually written in 1972, but publishers were uncomfortable with the amount and graphic nature of the sex and violence depicted. So, it went unpublished for a decade. When it was finally released, it was overshadowed by Neuromancer, which came out the same year.

Schisimatrix by Bruce Sterling (1985) - In the far future, humans have colonized the solar system and split into two factions. The Shapers, who use genetic modification; and the Mechanists, who use cybernetic modification.

Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams (1986) - A favorite of mine, it has the single greatest book cover ever. A pair of cybernetically enhanced smugglers fight for freedom against the oppressive Orbital Corporations. Partially inspired by Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley. WJW wrote a sourcebook based on his novel for the original Cyberpunk roleplaying game by Mike Pondsmith.

Mirrorshades (1986) - A short story collection edited by Bruce Sterling. Probably the most important collection of Cyberpunk stories.

Burning Chrome (1986) - A collection of William Gibson's early short stories that share the setting with Neuromancer.