The cyberpunk genre is a very popular one among science fiction and fantasy book lovers who enjoy reading about technology, computers, and worlds in which they have the power to consume everything or present terrible threats on global or smaller scales. This article will showcase a few of our top picks on some of the best cyberpunk books out there, so be sure to check these out if you are a true cyberpunk enthusiast and enjoy reading these types of books.
Neuromancer by William Gibson
The first pick and this doesn’t mean it’s our least or most favorite, is Neuromancer book. This is the first book of William Gibson’s science fiction and cyberpunk trilogy called Sprawl. For more information about the series, check out our Sprawl trilogy book review. It talks about a character named Henry Dorsett Case, he lives in a world filled with advanced technology and in one where a sophisticated virtual reality network exists, called the Matrix.
You learn a lot about Henry as the author does make complex characters and talks about them in-depth. Henry is currently in the worst shape of his life as he was badly damaged when a few people poisoned him with a mycotoxin which left him with a damaged nervous system. At first, you will definitely see him in a depressed and suicidal state, but later he is offered a second chance in life by a character named Armitage, this character will take quite the spotlight from the book as well.
Armitage offers Case a job in exchange for him to repair his nervous system, which he actually does after Case accepts the job without hesitation. Case’s skills as a very experienced and brilliant data thief and hacker will be most useful to Armitage which is why he is seeking only him.
Molly Millions is also another interesting character who is present throughout most of the story. She was working for Armitage before she met Case and her and Case actually become very close as the story progresses.
There are a lot more characters which we can’t reveal all in this article about the best cyberpunk books but it will definitely be exciting reading about them and their roles in this truly thrilling story. Some of them will definitely intrigue you as the author has managed to come up with some pretty unique stuff. There is more good news for you if you find this book attractive, there are two more continuing the story after it finishes so you are all set to spend some time to relax and read these exciting stories.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash is another exciting novel and also among the best cyberpunk novels you can ever read as it talks about a complex world filled with memorable and interesting characters. The protagonist of this book is ironically called Hiro Protagonist, a name that he actually gave himself as the nickname for the virtual reality and hacker community.
When you first meet Hiro, you find out that he works as a pizza delivery boy for the mafia. But he is also a very skilled hacker and a very experienced one as well as he has been doing that for a long time. You can learn even more about this amazing book in our Snow Crash book review.
Hiro can’t even begin to predict what he is about to get involved in after a few events that happen later on in the story. First, there is another character who you also must get to now. A girl who goes by the name Y.T. (Yours Truly) and she becomes pretty close with Hiro after they meet.
They form a partnership and decide to make money by stealing important information from various places and selling it for profit to the CIC. The way they do this is thanks to their knowledge of how to manipulate the Metaverse, a virtual reality network in which the most skilled hackers shine. After Hiro is offered a strange data file by an even more mysterious guy called Raven is when the exciting parts finally arrive.
This data file is called Snow Crash and no one knows what it is or what it’s for at first, all they know is that many people are looking for it and that it must be really important. When a friend of Hiro’s, called Da5id, tries to analyze the file in the Metaverse, his computer crashes and he almost dies, leaving with a bad case of brain damage.
Before anyone had seen Snow Crash, no one could really get hurt in the Metaverse, but now they see what danger this file presents. The rest is up to you to find out how and where this story takes you.
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Altered Carbon is the first book from British writer Richard’s cyberpunk series called Takeshi Kovacs. Takeshi is the name of the main character and protagonist of the story and you will get to read about his thrilling and dangerous adventures in the world that we are about to describe to you in this short Altered Carbon book review.
The book talks about a future 400 years from now in which humans have finally achieved immortality. It’s a form of immortality, however, as the person’s mind can be stored in virtual reality and then downloaded into another body host, these bodies are called sleeves.
The story is a long and complex one as you get to meet quite a lot of characters. There are the Roman Catholics who do not allow the sleeving process as it goes against their beliefs. This way of life makes them easy targets for any criminal activity because if the person is killed he cannot be re-sleeved to tell how and who killed them.
The sleeving process is also not the same for everyone in this world as the rich and the poor can afford very different things. This is actually a better thing for the rich than the poor as they can afford to be sleeved into already grown bodies so that they can continue life without any problems, these people who have lived multiple lifetimes are called Meths.
The poor, however, don’t prefer doing this and they are better off staying dead as what they can afford is being stored in a very young body and doing the whole aging process over and over.
Then the story gets even more exciting when you discover that there are actually other civilizations living off-world. There is an alien civilization living on mars, one that was thought to be extinct. The Earth is actually in the middle of an interstellar war so that definitely adds some exciting events as well. Don’t miss out on this one if you are looking for the best cyberpunk books.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
If you have watched the movie Bladerunner then this novel will definitely look familiar once you start reading it. It is the source material for the film and the story here will probably prove more satisfying than the movie if you are an experienced reader and if you find science fiction and cyberpunk fascinating.
This novel is the first of Philip’s series called Blade Runner and it talks about a character, known as Rick Deckard, who lives in a devastated world after a nuclear war almost destroyed the entire world. You can find out more about this book in our Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? review.
The main threat that is presented in this book’s plot is the creation of very sophisticated androids that were manufactured on Mars. These androids are the Nexus 6 models and they are almost indistinguishable from humans. They escape from the manufacturing base on Mars and travel to Earth and go into hiding.
Rick Deckard is among the others who are tasked with finding and killing 6 of them. His journey takes him to a lot of different places and leads him to many different characters. One of the most impactful characters in his adventures is one of the androids, Rachael Rosen. She is the one who manages to survive Deckard and is definitely luckier than the ones he brutally kills.
The reason that this book is among the best cyberpunk books ever written is pretty self-explanatory. These androids are definitely not to be taken as a joke because they are highly intelligent and sophisticated, they look exactly like humans, they have feelings, and they are known to deceive the one test that can tell them apart from a human.
The world in which everything goes in is a devastated one, the scenery is very well painted in the books by the author, but if you lack imagination, the movie is also a great way to fill you in the story after you have read the books.
Accelerando by Charles Stross
In Accelerando book, the story takes you on the journey of a lifetime in a world filled with so many thrilling discoveries but also dangerous times. The flow of the book is written in the form of nine short stories that explain the whole plot in order. You also read about different parts in the lives of the main characters of the books and one different character is focused more on each of the short stories.
The main characters that you will be meeting in this book are Manfred, his daughter Amber, Sirhan, and a few more who will have the pleasure of discovering all by yourself as you take a look at the book. Manfred is among the first ones you get to read about, he is a virtual altruist and the protagonist of the first three short stories of the novel.
Manfred’s adventurous journey starts when he receives a phone from a courier and a call later which reveals that he is needed for a project that requires his skills. His work leads him to another character who proves important to the story, a billionaire called Bob Franklin who is also looking for help with his AI project that is needed for the manufacturing of his spacecraft. The story also isn’t shy of jumping a few years in the future from time to time as the author has made this plot to cover a moderate period of time.
After a few other interesting events regarding Manfred, you read about his daughter Amber during another series of interesting events that take place ten years later the story mentioned before.
Amber gets involved in quite the fascinating project that requires her and 62 others to upload their minds into a virtual crew that will be sent on an unpredictable and probably dangerous mission. They make contact with aliens who call themselves The Wunch. What happens next will let you know why this book deserves a spot with the other best cyberpunk books on our list.
The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson
This book by the brilliant Neal Stephenson talks about a world in which nanotechnology has affected every aspect of life and the protagonist who shows you all of the excitement is a character called Nell. You find out what kind of world exactly Nell lives in and what the main plot of the story has to tell you.
There is a story within a story concept in this novel as the main character, Nell, comes across a book, The Illustrated Primer, and the stories intercept as you read further. The less important characters in Nell’s life also make for fun and interesting contributions to the story as they add depth and more meaning. These characters include the people with who Nell lives like her mother, her brother, and a bunch of other men who date her mother.
The events that are about to see in the book definitely make this book one of the best cyberpunk novels out there as this book in particular that Nell finds affects so much of her world that it becomes a pretty important thing in her life.
You find out that this book is intended for the purpose of making the reader’s life more interesting or to steer them into a more exciting way of living. There is just so much going on in this book by Neal and you will best find out all there is about it once you start reading it yourself.
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
The last one we have here for review is a book by American author Alfred Bester, a book that describes a very interesting world in which the term telepathy is nothing new and it’s as common as wearing sunglasses when it’s sunny outside.
The events of the story take place in the 24th century and the world has a different society which is based much on the level and skill of the ones who are gifted with telepathy. There is a different class for them based on the user’s skills and performances.
The ones who can use telepathy freely are called Espers and you will find out that they are a big deal in the story that you are about to read. The whole story revolves around them and their society of telepaths, there are guilds where they can train their skills and become even stronger.
A few characters who will prove important to the story and the ones who will guide you on the journey are Ben Reich, Lincoln Powell, Mary Noyes, Barbara D’Courtney, Gus, and a few more. This one might be last on our list but it definitely isn’t the least as you will surely see for yourself if you decide to check it out.
These are some of our top picks and hopefully, you will have the same opinion about them once you read a few of them and see if what we are talking about here lives up to their potential.