Cyberpunk is a genre that hit its peak in the Eighties but has still carried on like the little Replicant that could ever since. Really, it’s now split between present day cyberpunk (Watch_Dogs, Mr. Robot, Hackers) and far future experiences (The Expanse, Altered Carbon). However, I think the best place to find cyberpunk novels these days is the indie writing scene.
There’s something decidedly cyberpunk about going to writers not affiliated with the big corporations to get your fix about cybernetically enhanced humans, transhumanist themes, social satire, and street samurai action. Cyberpunk comes in many forms and just because we’re living in a world where everyone has a computer monitored by sinister corporate forces trying to sell us stuff doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it still.
As an author of indie cyberpunk Agent G, Daughter of the Cyber Dragons, I am always on the look for more of these books and love to share the gems that I have managed to find in a genre that is sometimes considered to be past its prime than undergoing a renaissance. After all, what is our time if not one where corporations run amuck and technology is rapidly outpacing our ability to deal with it?
You can be a Cyborg when you're Older
by Richard Roberts
The bleak future of West Angel City, Vanity Rose is having a great time. She has a loving robot caretaker, a fake elf for a sister, and she roams the walls of West Angel’s endless skyscrapers every night, thanks to her precious gravity shoes. What Vanity doesn’t have are money and adventure, but she has a plan to get both. She’s going to walk the dark side, joining the thieves and mercenaries who get paid to do all the little jobs that make a corrupt city go around. She’ll only have to deal with killer robots, vengeance-crazed and not very bright computer programs, cyborg vampires, telepathic capybaras, mean girl mech pilots, and have every homemade weapon in the city pointed at her. Fourteen is old enough for that, right?
About You Can Be A Cyborg When You Are Older
I’m already shooting myself in the foot by making this my first entry but this is a Young Adult novel cyberpunk parody by the author of the Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain series. Vanity Rose is a fourteen-year-old with dreams of being a street criminal in an orphanage of children being raised by a malfunctioning robot. It’s a wild and bizarre world where a good chunk of the population has joined a transhumanist cult where you spend all your money transforming yourself into World of Warcraft characters.
Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery
by Jim Bernheimer
Free admission that Jim Bernheimer was the publisher of my Supervillainy Saga and Agent G novels so if you feel my opinion of his work is irreversibly tainted, go ahead and ignore it. For those who still want to know what I think of this book, I think this is a short but awesome little work. What’s the premise? In the future clones have become the predominant labor force with each taken from the best at their profession. Which is great for the Prime of any line as they get 10% of all their clones’ salaries but sucks for the rest of them. Dave Bagini-42 is the latest in his line and has a hell of a mission with his birth: someone has murdered his Prime and the suspect is one of the other 41 clones who all have a motive to kill their creator. It’s less than 200 pages but a really effective little bit of fiction with a lot of heart. I also found the resolution to be entirely believable and wanted to see more adventures with the character.
About Prime Suspects: A Clone Mystery
Homicide detective David Bagini awakens on a strange world only to discover he is, in fact, the forty-second clone of the Bagini line. Having no memories of why his Prime entered into a clone contract, he wants answers. The first problem is his Prime has been murdered and Bagini Forty-Two is now in charge of the investigation. The second problem is all the clues point at one of his fellow clones and they already know all his tricks. How can he solve his own murder when all the suspects have his name and face?
by Craig Lea Gordon
Arvekt is a great example of classic 1980s cyberpunk. If you like ninja cyborgs working for all-powerful super computers with questions of augmented reality. I really enjoyed this book, which had a kind of hyper-kinetic and fascinating characters that charge head on into the reader. I love Tannis and her relationship with Ix as she struggles to figure out whether she’s insane or the only one seeing things clearly. The ending feels like it precludes any sequels but I understand there’s a prequel already out.
Will the battle for humanity be fought in reality? Or in her mind? Tannis Ord is a black-ops cyborg assassin. A highly-trained human-weapon, dedicated to hunting down the last of the brain hacking syndicates. There’s just one problem…
Her mind was broken from a psychotic episode. Neural programming erased her trauma, gave her a fresh start. But when an old brain hacker cult resurfaces, and a sentient AI is set to govern the entire human population, she starts seeing things. Horrors that can’t possibly be real… that make no sense… that only she can see. Ix, their AI Guardian, is abducting innocent citizens from the streets in broad daylight. And it’s using the Augmented Reality it has thrown over the world as cover. Is the AI hellbent on humanities destruction? Or is her mind tearing itself apart again?
ARvekt is an explosive story, fusing action and intrigue into a journey full of twists and turns where you won’t know what’s real and what isn’t. If you enjoy books with amazing plots and characters, set in a stunning futuristic world, then input ARvekt into your brain now.
by Wesley Cross
A nice bridge novel between technothriller and cyberpunk. I really enjoyed seeing how “our” world might evolve into a cyberpunk dystopia. They’re a lot more focused on white collar crime and hacking with “normal” methods than just about any cyberpunk work other than Mr. Robot. I also like the use of multiple POVs that show both the good as well as the bad among the sides. It’s a bit too black and white in its morality but that’s a small complaint. Sort of like Tom Clancy for the Hackers set.
About The Blueprint
Corporate warfare. Human augmentation. Jason Hunt didn’t sign up for any of this. But to survive, he’d need to beat nearly impossible odds in this internationally best-selling science-fiction thriller. There’s a corporate cabal that wants to rule the world. Some might say it has been doing it already for decades by whatever means necessary. But they are no longer content to hide in the shadows. They want to become true masters.
Jason Hunt knows nothing about that world. But when his wife becomes ill, he finds himself pitted against the cabal that might hold the key to her survival. To save her, he needs to embrace technology he doesn’t understand, take over a billion-dollar company without a billion dollars, outsmart professional assassins, and land a contract with the DOD. But even that might not be enough.
by Nik Whittaker
Neon Helix is a classic and fun cyberpunk tale with the premise being that a journalist, an ex-cop, an enslaved brainwashed hotel manager, and a mad priest are all parts of a complex puzxle that eventually comes together at the end. I really enjoyed the book and think it’s one of the better indie cyberpunk stories I’ve read. It’s a bit on the heroic side but that’s just a flaw if you’re a cynical old fart like myself.
About A Wizard's Forge
“If you want an injection of cyberpunk high tech low life, this book will give it to you in spades.”- Amazon Review.
Ex-Cop and Private Detective Xander Draven had resorted to protection work when he is visited by the synthetic replica of a murdered CEO’s grieving widow who wants him to track down the killer. Meanwhile, Julian Travitz, a hacker/reporter and his A.I. companion Quartzig, are searching for the next big story and become drawn into the dark past of technology megacorporation CyberBionics.
Along the way, they encounter clones, rogue A.I.’s, psychopaths, priests, and plans that could change the status quo of the city forever. If you like fast-paced, high-tech, futuristic thrillers with a diverse range of unique characters, then step into the Neon Helix Universe today!