Cyberpunk: Wired Weirdness in the Library

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction in which hackers and other computer elites are pitted against dystopian societies usually ruled by large corporations and corrupt governments. Many of the main characters are down-and-outs who experience their redemption through the course of the book.

The Cyberpunk tradition can be traced back to the short story True Names by Vernor Vinge in 1981. This highly prescient work of Cyberpunk foresaw a networked world of offline and online personalities, where those with the most skills in the online world hold much power, much akin to the current incarnation of the Internet. The next and perhaps the most significant entry into the world of Cyberpunk was William Gibson’s 1984 Neuromancer, a book which defined the genre for many to follow.

Cyberpunk is often written with an extrapolator’s eye, taking many of the modern technological institutions we take for granted and expanding on them to science fictional proportions, though their depictions are not implausible. While not always of the highest literary value, Cyberpunk novels utilize a great deal of imagination and science combined with a page-turning style that hardly ever fails to satisfy.

Katie up and Down the Hall: the True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors Into a Family

By Glenn Plaskin

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The heartwarming true story of how one special cocker spaniel turned four strangers into family. (from summary)
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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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The Diamond Age

By Neal Stephenson

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A brilliant nanotech engineer designs a completely interactive book, “A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer," to educate his daughter. However, the book instead falls into the hands of streetwise though uneducated youth who gives it to his sister.

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Snow Crash

By Neal Stephenson

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When one of the best friends of Hiro Protagonist, hacker, samurai swordsman and pizza deliveryman, overdoses on a new designer drug called Snow Crash, he begins to investigate in a postmodern world where our Internet is known as the Metaverse and where every institution is privately controlled, even the government and the police.

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Pattern Recognition

By William Gibson

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Cayce is a “cool hunter” who is obsessed with bits of strange footage which pop up at odd intervals across the Web. As she looks for patterns in the images she sees, her job and her obsession collide when a rich megalomaniac hires her to find the creator of this footage to exploit for commercial purposes.

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