With Blade Runner 2049 (2017) in theaters right now, stories categorized under the genre of “cyberpunk” have surged in popularity. Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction, usually set in technologically advanced dystopian societies, that incorporates larger themes about the ethics and implications of technology. Soon, Ready Player One will be released as a major motion picture in 2018, with Steven Spielberg set to direct.
If you are the type of person who prefers to read the book before the movie, you may have recently finished reading Ready Player One. (We also have a handy Ready Player One summary and study guide on eNotes). This page-turning tech novel, filled with 80s pop culture references and thrilling adventure, has garnered a cult following. If you’re looking for something new to read, we’ve come up with a few suggestions to satisfy the inner cyberpunk in you.
Launching the cyberpunk genre, William Gibson’s Neuromancer is thought of as the novel that “started it all.” Published in 1984, it was the first novel to really explore cyberspace. Case, a data thief, is recruited by a mysterious employer. His target? A highly powerful artificial intelligence that’s orbiting Earth. With memorable characters and a unique exploration of technology, Neuromancer has changed the genre of science fiction forever.
Frank Herbert’s Dune follows Paul Atreides, whose noble family accepts stewardship over the planet Arrakis. Arrakis is the only supplier of “spice,” the most valuable substance in the universe. A complex novel that provides insight into religion, politics, technology, and human emotion, Dune is an epic tale and the world’s best-selling science fiction novel.
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is set in a future where the human race is being threatened by an insectoid alien species. In order to prepare themselves from future attacks, children are bred and trained from a very young age to be soldiers. Ender’s tactical genius is revealed and he is sent to Battle School. There, Ender further refines his skills but also becomes increasingly isolated. A thought-provoking book that analyzes both technology in war and the human condition, Ender’s Game is a crowd pleaser among science fiction fans.
Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer
Scott Meyer’s Off to Be the Wizard is a delightful adventure with lots of fun. Martin discovers that reality is nothing more than just a computer program, so he has fun altering and “tweaking” it. However, when he gets in trouble, Martin travels back to the Middle Ages as a wizard while he figures out what to do. Of course, this causes even more trouble. Follow Martin’s (mis)adventures and you’re sure to enjoy the ride.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Delving into parallel universes, Black Crouch’s Dark Matter is a thrilling, mind-bending book. Jason, a college professor with a loving family, wakes up one day in a universe where his girlfriend never got pregnant. In this alternate universe, Jason is now a world-renowned researcher where his own theory has become a fully realized technology. Jason is determined to return to his family, but wicked foes stand in his way, including the darker parts of himself. With excellent character insight and an intriguing plot, Dark Matter is one that can’t be missed.