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The Matrix Has You

Released in 1999, ‘The Matrix’ was a cinematic juggernaut that redefined the boundaries of special effects, introducing the iconic slow-time bullet effect. It wasn’t just a sci-fi movie; it was a cultural phenomenon that showed us all could be part of The Matrix, not just the die-hard fans.

And when I say everyone, I speak from a place of personal reading growth. “The Matrix” was as vital to me as a cultural diving board as Ender’s Game was as an introduction to science fiction novels. “The Matrix” had everything that you could want:

  • Badass clothes.
  • Super secret hacking.
  • Learning things at the push of a button.
  • Kung fu.
  • A “chosen one” quest to embark on.

But once you get past The Matrix and yearn for your fix, I have included some titles that, while very different from “The Matrix” movie, give you that feel. Neuromancer or Mona Lisa Overdrive are often what people think about when thinking of prominent cyberpunk books. Gibson’s novel was hugely influential. However, as much as William Gibson is considered the godfather of cyberpunk, the godmother is, without a doubt, Pat Cadigan, which is why I included her novel on this list and not Gibson’s. I hope some of these titles will be new for you and maybe it will give you a chance to revisit some old friends.

Snow Crash

by Neal Stephenson

 

Now featuring never-before-seen material, the “brilliantly realized” (The New York Times Book Review) breakthrough novel from visionary author Neal Stephenson, a modern classic that predicted the metaverse and inspired generations of Silicon Valley innovators

Hiro lives in a Los Angeles where franchises line the freeway as far as the eye can see. The only relief from the sea of logos is within the autonomous city-states, where law-abiding citizens don’t dare leave their mansions.

Hiro delivers pizza to the mansions for a living, defending his pies from marauders when necessary with a matched set of samurai swords. His home is a shared 20 X 30 U-Stor-It. He spends most of his time goggled in to the Metaverse, where his avatar is legendary.

But in the club known as The Black Sun, his fellow hackers are being felled by a weird new drug called Snow Crash that reduces them to nothing more than a jittering cloud of bad digital karma (and IRL, a vegetative state).

Investigating the Infocalypse leads Hiro all the way back to the beginning of language itself, with roots in an ancient Sumerian priesthood. He’ll be joined by Y.T., a fearless teenaged skateboard courier. Together, they must race to stop a shadowy virtual villain hell-bent on world domination.

Altered Carbon

by Richard K. Morgan

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW AN EXCITING SERIES FROM NETFLIX • The shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning in this “tour de force of genre-bending, a brilliantly realized exercise in science fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold.

Necroscope

by Brian Lumley

An instant classic, Brian Lumley's astonishing feat of imagination spawned a universe which Lumley has explored and expanded through more that a baker's dozen of novels and novellas.

Millions of copies of Necroscope and its successors are in print in a dozen languages throughout the world. Nominated for the British Fantasy Award, Necroscope has inspired everything from comic books and graphic novels to sculptures and soundtracks.

This new edition of Necroscope uses the author's preferred text and includes a special introduction by Brian Lumley, telling how the Necroscope saga came to be. It also includes chapter ornaments by Hugo-Award-Winning artist Bob Eggleton, long identified with Lumley's blood-sucking monsters.

As a classic, Necroscope rightfully claims a place in the Orb trade paperback list, for scholars of the field and the dedicated Lumley collector. And also for all the people who have read more than one mass market copy of the book to tatters.

Harry Keogh is the man who can talk to the dead, the man for whom every grave willingly gives up its secrets, the one man who knows how to travel effortlessly through time and space to destroy the vampires that threaten all humanity.

In Necroscope, Harry is startled to discover that he is not the only person with unusual mental powers--Britain and the Soviet Union both maintain super-secret, psychically-powered espionage organizations. But Harry is the only person who knows about Thibor Ferenczy, a vampire long buried in the mountains of Romania--still horribly alive, in undeath--and Thibor's insane "offspring," Boris Dragosani, who rips information from the souls of the dead in a terrible, ever-lasting form of torture.

Somehow, Harry must convince Britain's E-Branch that only by working together can they locate and destroy Dragosani and his army of demonic warriors--before the half-vampire succeeds in taking over the world!

Ghost In the Shell

by Shirow Masamune

Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including “ghost hackers” who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers’ criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down. From Shirow Masamune, the award-winning creator of Appleseed and Dominion, comes The Ghost in the Shell, the breakthrough manga that inspired the internationally acclaimed animated film. An epic dystopian tale of politics, technology, and metaphysics, The Ghost in the Shell has been hailed worldwide as an unparalleled visionary work of graphic fiction. And now it’s ready to dazzle the imagination in its second millennium.

The Three Body Problem

by Cixin Liu

The inspiration for the Netflix series 3 Body Problem!

WINNER OF THE HUGO AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL

Over 1 million copies sold in North America

“A mind-bending epic.”The New York Times • “War of the Worlds for the 21st century.”The Wall Street Journal • “Fascinating.”TIME • “Extraordinary.”The New Yorker • “Wildly imaginative.”―Barack Obama • “Provocative.”Slate• “A breakthrough book.”―George R. R. Martin • “Impossible to put down.”GQ • “Absolutely mind-unfolding.”NPR • “You should be reading Liu Cixin.”The Washington Post

The Three-Body Problem is the first novel in the groundbreaking, Hugo Award-winning series from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

The Three-Body Problem Series
The Three-Body Problem
The Dark Forest
Death’s End

Other Books by Cixin Liu
Ball Lightning
Supernova Era
To Hold Up the Sky

The Wandering Earth
A View from the Stars

Synners: The Arthur C Clarke award-winning cyberpunk masterpiece for fans of William Gibson and THE MATRIX

by Pat Cadigan

n Synners, the line between technology and humanity is hopelessly slim. To be a Synner is to join the online hardcore, an outlaw band of hackers, simulation pirates, and reality synthesizers hooked on artificial reality and virtual space. Now you can change yourself to suit the machines – all it costs you is your freedom, and your humanity.

Synners shows us a world perilously close to our own. A constant stream of new technology spawns new crime before it hits the streets, and the human mind and the external landscape have fused to the point where any encounter with “reality” is incidental. Equal parts thrill-ride and cautionary tale, this classic novel by the Queen of Cyberpunk offers us a terrifying glimpse into the future of our race.

Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best novel, 1992

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