March 4 2013

Gritty Futures and Good Reading

Recently, down in the comments, mentioned they were reading Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson and asked what else they might find that was similar that they might enjoy. I thought that might be of interest to others, so I’m promoting and expanding on my answer a bit.
A decent place to go after reading Neuromancer is to pick up the next to books in the “Sprawl” trilogy–Count Zero (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988).

These books all share the same gritty feel of a future that sometimes seems almost possible. Elements of it–cyber criminals, are here already while we are just seeing the very start of orbital activity and AI.
From author John Brunner, the books Shockwave Rider (1975) and Stand On Zanzibar (1968) really can’t be beat. These are also set in a gritty future. Shockwave Rider is the origin of the idea of a computer worm (virus) while Stand On Zanzibar talks about the growing issues of muckers–people who seem to suddenly just start causing havoc. Both books deal more with the aspects of accelerating change–Future Shock and its toll on society.

The final volume I’ll mention here is Snow Crash (1997) by Neal Stephenson. This book is often credited with being the idea behind today’s MMOG’s and virtual environments like Second Life. Again, it is set in a world a bit further on than ours where things have decayed a bit more.

All of these books are jam packed with iconic ideas and realizations of futures that are maybe a bit too close for comfort. They are a good entry place into this area of SF.

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Posted March 4, 2013 by user in category "Book review", "Interesting stuff

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