cyberpunk

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

I'd put off reading Altered Carbon for a few years, always reading something newer.  Shame on me.  This Philip K. Dick Award-winner is a brilliantly dark and gritty mixture of hardboiled detective fiction and cyberpunk that anyone looking for a story with a razor-sharp edge will love. 

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Let me get this out of the way: if you're not a "computer person," someone with more than a vague knowledge of computer networking technology, Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner, is probably not the book for you. If, however, you ARE such a person, Brain Jack will start off as the kind of thriller that you think you will love, but its ending, like so many other cyber-thrillers, feels rushed and absurd. Don’t get me wrong--you'll enjoy reading it, but don't expect anything too deep from this book.  

Sam is the generic hero of our story. He's 17; he's a computer prodigy; and he's going to save the country from itself. The world of Brain Jack is set only a few years into our future. Falkner does a good job of building a world that, initially, is entirely conceivable based on our present. Computer technology is even more prevalent, and its consequences all the more potent. Las Vegas has been the victim of a nuclear attack that has left it in ruins, and the rest of the country is decaying under strict martial conditions.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

By Haruki Murakami

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"There ought to be a name for the genre Murakami ... has invented, and it might be the literary pyrotechno-thriller. ... Embellished with witticisms, wordplay and allusions to such figures as Stendhal heroes and Lauren Bacall, the tale is set in a Tokyo of the near future. Thanks to a wonderland of technology, an intelligence agent has had his brain implanted with a 'profoundly personal drama' that allows him to 'launder' and 'shuffle' classified data, and all that he knows of the drama is its password, The End of the World.

"But after interference from a scientist and from the Semiotecs, a rival intelligence unit, the subconscious story is about to replace the agent's own perceptions of reality. Intertwined with the agent's attempts to understand his plight are scenes from The End of the World. Murakami's ingenuity and inventiveness cannot fail to intoxicate; this is a bravura performance."

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Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner

Sam Wilson is 14 years old, lives in New York City, and is a computer genius.  It is not unusual for Sam and his friends to hack into computer systems and fool around.   In fact, computer gaming and use has reached a whole new level in Brain Jack, by Brian Falkner.  In Sam's world, being addicted to computer gaming has moved from the basement to gaming lounges.  There are individuals who spend their entire days hooked to gaming systems and do nothing else.  This book begs the question ...is this a possible future?

Sam likes to hack into systems for fun and to see if he can shut them down and then get out without his identity being detected.  One day he decides to disrupt the structure of one of the country's largest  telecommunications systems.  He is able to move through the system undetected for a while using his computer hacking skills.  However, unusual activity is noted by the web security team working for the large company.  Sam realizes that he has been spotted and decides to get out quickly.  There is a flurry of activity that follows as Sam scrambles to finish the job and remove any evidence that could link this security breach back to him.

The Matrix

By Keanu Reeves

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Neo was an average man working a dead-end job during the day and performing online crimes at night, looking for the answer to the question that had plagued him all his life: What is the Matrix?
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Hackers

By Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller

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Having been barred from using computers until his 18th birthday, Dade Murphy moves to New York with his mother. There he joins the new Hacker culture and works to fight an evil corporate network administrator bent on causing a global ecological disaster.

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Blade Runner

By Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford

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An adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," Blade Runners are futuristic cops assigned to hunt and terminate illegal cyborgs called replicants, creations so close to human as to be almost indistinguishable. This is not referred to as execution, but rather "retirement."
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Zodiac

By Neal Stephenson

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The first person narrative of S.T., an environmental watchdog who, while investigating the potent contamination of Boston Harbor, finds the contamination suddenly disappears, while the dangers are suddenly more than he can handle.

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True Names by Vernor Vinge and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier

By James Frenkel

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Written in 1981, this is story of remarkable prescience which tells of a virtual world in which people live and commit crimes, in which the more power one has in the virtual world, the more power one has in the real world.

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The Difference Engine

By William Gibson, Bruce Sterling

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What if the computer age had begun a hundred years earlier than it actually did?
This "alternative history" imagines a Victorian England run by steam-powered computing engines, and governed by an intellectual elite led by Prime Minister Byron. When an ambitious young paleontologist comes into possession of a dangerous set of program cards he begins running for his life....
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