As a fan of William Gibson I’m curious as to what other authors are able to carry off the sometimes challenging genre of cyber punk. Who are they and which authors most nearly approximate Gibson’s gritty and absorbing style?
You might like Snow Crash and The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson.
At the moment I’m reading Jennifer Government by Max Barry, which is quite good. It isn’t science fiction, though… More of a mega-corporations own / satire you sort of thing
Wow! First post ever and in my thread to boot. Thanks for delurking, Thirty-3!
Here are a couple of sites to check.
Exhaustive list, with titles
most often mentioned are John Shirley and Bruce Sterling
And welcome, also to Thirty-3.
If you gotta jack into an alternate reality, this one will do nicely.
Another vote for Bruce Sterling over here. He edited the perfect snapshot of the Cyberpunk movement, “Mirrorshades”.
And his non-fiction is also quite good. Check out The Hacker Crackdown, a great piece of journalism covering a few of the most important events that took place in the pre-www era. You really need to read this one, Zenster.
Y’all can download and read it for free, and it’s okay with Bruce.
Hi, Thirty-3, have you been to The Sea of Cecil yet?
For Sterling, I like Heavy Weather or the short story collections Globalhead and A Good Old Fashioned Future. But for non-“cyberpunk fiction” reading, I strongly second The Hacker Crackdown.
He’s not really cyberpunk, but I’ve seen Lucius Shepard’s name mentioned with Gibson’s for sci-fi writers who can be considered to have a “literary” writing style. He brings the “magical realism” feel of writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez to the genre, if that makes any sense
I’d recommend Walter Jon Williams, particularly Hardwired and Voice of the Whirlwind.
Snow Crash, yesssss! (Best c-punk novel ever written, with Virtual Light comming a very close second)
Diamond Age, nooooo! (Absolutely fantastic treatment of how technology changes a world, but storyline? Feh!)
John Brunner’s the Shockwave Rider. It was written in 1975 and still manages to not get that charecteristic patina of age that books from even 3 years ago already acquire.
I’d second that. Williams’ characters are much more involving and compelling than Gibson’s.
Hometownboy’s first link is about as exhaustive as you can get, but beware that it also stretches the definition of cyberpunk to the point of snapping.
The one name not mentioned specifically so far that is a must is the late George Alec Effinger, whose Marid Audran series:
When Gravity Fails (1987)
A Fire in the Sun (1989)
The Exile Kiss (1991)
is truly different and fascinating.
Also be aware that cyberpunk was a genre of its moment, the 1980s, which reached its apotheosis and died with Snow Crash in 1992. Lots of authors still write futures with elements of it, but that’s like saying lots of authors still write books with spaceships in them. The element is just a background piece of the book and not the focus.
I’d second the Stephenson recommendation, but with the caveat that the style is a little less gritty, IMHO, than that of Gibson. Nevertheless, Snow Crash is excellent, and one of the definative cyberpunk works in many people’s opinions.
Bruce Sterling is quite a bit more like Gibson than Stephenson, and is one of the the big names out there. Mirrorshades is a great anthology, but it’s hard to find. I got it on E-bay.
Rudy Rucker is also quite good, especially Software. I also have to second The Hacker Crackdown, which I read at my SOs house (he is fully aware that I am marrying him for his CP collection ).
This isn’t really cyberpunk, but if you like “Mozart in Mirrorshades” in the Mirrorshades collection, you might want to check out Kage Baker’s Company series (all of her books except for The Anvil of the World, basically).
I’m partial to Wilhelmina Baird’s work as well. She wrote a character-centered trilogy that starts in Crashcourse. Unfortunately, all of her books appear to be out of print.
I also would reccomend Catspaw, by Joan D. Vinge. To me, it captures the emotion and angst that is part and parcel of the genre.
Thanks for the reminder, Exapno. I loved that trillogy, and still read it on occasion. I think the middle one is the best. One of my buddies who spent most of his childhood travelling around the middle east was impressed with how well Effinger got the cultural feel of the area.
Most excellent. Thank you everybody for all of the great recommendations. I personally think that cyber punk is still in its infancy. There are so many more mergings of humans and digital appliances to come that we have just scratched the surface. When I see how much work I can accomplish just by using the Internet (in its current, crude state), I am confident that the best is yet to come.
More suggestions are welcome.