And the term itself was invented by Gardner Dozois talking about a novel by Bruce Bethke. Nevertheless, it's safe to say that without Neuromancer, there would have been no cyberpunk. Neuromancer wasn't the first science fiction novel set among the low life and street people of the near future, but Gibson inhabited the Sprawl with utter conviction, inventing a street slang that caught on in the real world.
In this underground, Case is a washed-up hacker whose been treated with drugs to stop him accessing the Matrix ever again, while Molly is a street samurai who offers case a cure in exchange for his services. Through a violent world of double-dealing corporations and government cover-ups, Case and Molly risk their lives in the bright and threatening landscape of cyberspace, following a trail that eventually leads them to Wintermute, a powerful AI at a time when machine intelligence is banned.
A heady mixture of computer know-how and grimy film noir action, Neuromanceris like no novel before it, a totally original and absolutely gripping take on the near future. Neuromancer was the first novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K.
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Dick Awards. It also set the tone for cyberpunk and made Gibson one of the most acclaimed of modern writers. Neuromancer didn't just catch the zeitgeist, it created it, giving us terms like "cyberspace" and "ICE", and being instrumental in the way the World Wide Web developed.
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In a balkanised Los Angeles, where everything is privatised and the economy is breaking down, a new computer virus appears that affects the users as much as their computers. A key part of this future is the Metaverse, Stephenson's futuristic version of the Internet where people "log on" via virtual goggles. Everything is conducted through the Metaverse, from business to dating. Stephenson not only presents us with a very realistic look at what could be, but there are some subtle social observations about the way things are different and the same.
Stephenson frames the modern social constructs intruding into this cyberworld; ones' social wealth is judged by the look of the avatar they use to interact with the Metaverse, with the wealthy being able to afford custom while the "poor" use off the shelf. This book has it all, from hacker heroes who wield Samurai sword destruction by night in the Metaverse and deliver pizza by day for the Mob, governments and police controlled by private corporations, and a conspiracy that might the world needs some saving from.
Joe Haldeman has said: "Our field has produced only a few works of actual genius, and this is one of them.
This is an out and out brilliant novel that does things no science fiction novel had attempted before, and very few have attempted since. It took the sf field by storm, and it has had a greater effect on more writers than just about any other book. The innocent man condemned to a lingering death is Gully Foyle, the sole survivor of an attack upon his ship, but when another ship passes by he is ignored. When he does manage to return to Earth he is anxious for revenge, and having unearthed a fortune he gets his chance.
This is a much darker novel than most of the far future space operas being written at the time. It's a violent story and Gully Foyle is no hero. But the rich and poetic language, the word play and the sheer fun of Bester's writing, the vivid colourful future, the breathtaking escapades, all keep us glued to the story and cheering him on. Thirty years before William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, Alfred Bester was inventing many of the tropes of cyberpunk.
The result is an unputdownable novel that demands to be read over and over again. Samuel R. Delany claims that this is considered by many to be the greatest single sf novel, while Robert Silverberg insists it is on everybody's top ten list. It's an unforgettable tale that just gets better every time you read it. And it's a gripping, very human, very disturbing tale about the extent men will go to for revenge, and the ultimate futility of the event.
Read this one if you have not because you can't call yourself well read in the genre if you've missed it. And you might just be surprised how good the read is and how well aged it still is even in Philip K. Dick was one of the most idiosyncratic and successful writers in science fiction. Okay, he's probably better known these days for all the films that have been based on his work, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and heaven knows how many others.
Certainly there have been many more films based on Dick's fiction than any other sf writer. But forget the films, even the great ones, like Blade Runner, can't begin to match the compelling weirdness of the novels. Dick used to explore the same ideas in novel after novel.
Reality was undermined, usually as a result of drugs; there was a truth under the illusion of the world, but it wasn't always good to learn that truth; things we trust turn out to be unreliable. And yet, the novels were far from samey, indeed the narrow range of obsessions resulted in an incredibly wide range of fiction.
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What's more, Dick wrote with a mordant wit that made his work consistently among the funniest of all science fiction. Because he was so prolific, and because he hit the target so frequently, it is very difficult to choose just one book as a representative of his work. In the end we chose The Man in the High Castle, which in some ways seems a very untypical book because there is none of the pyrotechnic weirdness that often turns up in his fiction.
Indeed, the novel seems like a fairly conventional alternate history in which the Axis Powers won the Second World War. As a result, in the s of the novel, America is divided in three; Germany rules the East Coast, Japan controls the West Coast, while a narrow independent buffer state exists between the two. But in the end it is far from conventional.
The story is full of fakes and deceptions; several major characters are travelling under false identities, some of the characters are dealing in fake American "antiquities", and Mr Tagoma, the Japanese bureaucrat who becomes central to the plot, attacks a German agent with a fake Colt revolver.
All of this leads us to doubt and question what is going on; and then we come to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, a novel written with the aid of the I Ching, which describes a world in which America did not lose the war; though the world described is not the same as the one we recognise. He followed this with two novels that both displayed an awareness of and interest in science fiction, so it was no surprise when he added the middle initial and produced a straightforward science fiction novel.
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What was surprising was that it was a full-blooded space opera, full of battles and last minute escapes and epic explosions. What caught everybody's attention, however, was that the novel introduced a vast, interstellar, left-wing utopia, The Culture. The Culture was an immediate hit, and over the next 30 years he produced nine more novels and a bare handful of short stories about the Culture, which grew into one of the most popular and interesting of all science fiction series.
Typically, he would look at this post-scarcity universe obliquely while concentrating on the edges, where the Culture rubbed up against other space-faring societies, and the Culture's most disreputable organisation, Special Circumstances, operated. Occasionally we would be shown what it is like in a society without money, because everything is freely available, a society in which people could be whatever they wanted, changing sex freely and even, in one instance, taking on the appearance of a bush.
It's a world of dangerous sports and comfortable living, but mostly we saw it only from the outside, through the eyes of those who did its dirty work. Zakalwe is a mercenary, a bloody and effective soldier, who has worked for Special Circumstances on a number of occasions before, but now is called on for one last mission. In the odd-numbered chapters we follow this final mission; but in the even-numbered chapters we go backwards in time through his earlier missions and back towards the secret of his childhood.
The final revelation about Zakalwe's true identity is brutal and breathtaking. The unique structure of the novel is what makes this an especially powerful story.
And it is told with a combination of cruel, unflinching violence and sparkling wit that is typical of Banks, and helps to explain his extraordinary popularity. The Culture is one of the great inventions of science fiction, a communistic utopia that actually works. It is also a universe absolutely stuffed with amazing inventions, including the ships that are characters in their own right and have typically witty names in Use of Weapons, for instance, we meet "Very Little Gravitas Indeed" and "Size Isn't Everything".
loseandshine.com/cokes-cell-track-reviews.php All of the Culture novels are worth reading, and Use of Weapons is easily the most rewarding of them. Some will recommend Player of Games as the 'best' intro to Bank's Culture novels as it's an exciting, action packed read that takes place a very personal level between characters. Consider Phlebas is another good intro, and as Culture goes, is Bank's classic "Space Opera' entry into the series.
Asimov was, with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, one of that triumvirate of star science fiction writers who first came to prominence in the late s and continued to dominate the field for another 30 years. His magnum opus was this wide-ranging tale inspired by Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. We begin with a great galactic empire that has spread peace and civilisation far and wide across space. But Hari Selden has developed the science of psychohistory which combines sociology, history and mathematics as a reliable way of foreseeing the future, and thanks to psychohistory Selden predicts that the empire is due to collapse into a dark age that will last thousand years.
But if the light of civilisation can be preserved, there is a chance that this dark age will last only one thousand years, and so he establishes a Foundation at the extreme end of the galaxy from which a new empire might grow. For a while things go as Selden had foreseen: the Foundation becomes a haven of scientific progress, is challenged by the declining empire but emerges triumphant.
But then something is thrown into the mix that Selden could not have anticipated: a mutant, the Mule, who emerges as an unpredictable power within the galaxy. And the Mule has heard rumours of a Second Foundation at the other end of the galaxy, and he's out to find it and destroy it. But what is this Second Foundation, and where is it hiding?
Epic in scope, ambitious and readable, the Foundation Trilogy deservedly won the Hugo Award for the best ever series, the only time that award was ever presented. It is science fiction on a huge canvas, the very definition of sense of wonder. Foundation is one seminal ' Hard Science Fiction ' novels -- a form of science fiction that aims at making the science as realistic as possible.
It's science fiction that puts a lot of emphasis on the 'science' part of the word, rather than relying on the sciencey magical hand waving of science fantasy to describe the science. In the course of all this belated expansion to the original conception, Asimov also managed to tie in his Robot stories to create, rather unconvincingly, a future history that united all of his major science fiction. Alternative Choice.