Best Cyberpunk Books: 8 Fascinating Titles to Add to Your 2023 Collection (2023)

Whether you're looking for a new book or series to read, or want to start exploring the cyberpunk genre, this article is for you.

Below we have compiled a list of the best cyberpunk books or series for all levels of cyberpunk fans, from newbies to seasoned veterans.

Before we get to the list, let's learn about the cyberpunk genre.

What is cyberpunk?

What is cyberpunk? How is it different from science fiction? And what are the most common elements and tropes in stories, from cyberpunk short stories to novels and comics?

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction. Typically, cyberpunk fiction blends a world of futuristic, high-tech technology with dark, urban themes.

Apopular genreand a growing culture, cyberpunk has evolved from a niche genre in the 20th century to an incredibly popular genreScience-Fiction-Subgenreinto the 21st century, inspiring Hollywood film adaptations of well-known titles, comics and radio plays.

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cyberpunk elements

Some of the genre's most critical elements, details that set cyberpunk apart from other types of science fiction, are:

  • dystopian world- Characters live in a dystopian future where people struggle to survive against government oppression, advanced technological control and surveillance, and a lawless, decaying city.
  • High tech, low life- Technology has advanced in cyberpunk novels, but lay life is far from ideal. Often the elite live in luxury and security while the rest of the world is neglected, leaving many to lead shabby lives in insecure environments.
  • mega corporations– Mega corporations, global corporations that have appropriated a valuable resource, have a strong presence in cyberpunk. Often the mega corporation's attempts at world domination and its disregard for the safety of the environment and human population result in the world the characters find themselves in today.
  • Artificial intelligence– The potential dangers of artificial intelligence, the human quest for immortality, and empathy gone awry are prominent themes in cyberpunk literature.TOIt's a science fiction subgenre in its own right, and cyberpunk writers often incorporate it.
  • Transhumanism– Transhumanism is the attempt to overcome known human limitations such as disease and mortality through technology. Healing technologies, spare limbs, and cyborg bodies are all transhumanistic elements aimed at human enhancement and feature prominently in cyberpunk fiction.

The best cyberpunk books

The following is a list of the best cyberpunk science fiction books of the 20th and 21st centuries. The books/series shown below have contributed significantly to the cyberpunk genre.

A Song Called Youth (Trilogie) von John Shirley

John Shirley's A Song Called Youth trilogy (also known as the Eclipse trilogy) is one of the most popular and successful cyberpunk novels of the 20th century. The first book in the series, Eclipse, was published in 1985. The trilogy includes:

Shirley's groundbreaking, dark cyberpunk novel is set in a dystopian future where nuclear attacks have devastated much of Europe.

Our protagonists are a group of rebels known as the New Resistance who face the Second Alliance, a fundamentalist security corporation with plans for world domination.

The New Resistance engages in an ongoing struggle against the Alliance, whose authority and control grows with their oppression and brutality.

"The so-called free world was a dictatorship that used the media and conformist conditioning to impose its rule."

Buy a song called Youth here:

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Altered Carbon von Richard Morgan

The dystopian cyberpunk tale Altered Carbon is the debut novel by renowned science fiction author Richard K. Morgan.

Altered Carbon is set four hundred years in the future.

Humanity has progressed to the point where immortality and interstellar travel are attainable realities.

Science has learned to digitize the human mind, meaning consciousness can be transmitted between bodies and across the stars through a process called "cuffs."

The story follows Takeshi Kovacs, a convict and fighter whose consciousness has been downloaded into a new body and who has been hired to investigate the murder of one of the richest men in the world.

Kovac's investigations lead him into a deep and terrifying conspiracy that reaches into the highest strata of society.

"A weapon is a tool," he repeated, slightly out of breath. "A tool for killing and destroying. And there will be times when you will have to kill and destroy as an envoy. You then choose and equip yourself with the tools you need. But remember the weakness of weapons. They are an extension: You are the killer and the destroyer. You are complete with or without her."

Buy Altered Carbon here:

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Neuromancer by William Gibson

William Gibson's Neuromancer is one of the most famous novels ever published in the cyberpunk genre.

First published in 1984, Neuromancer won a Philip K. Dick Award, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and several other major book awards.

Neuromancer is a dark, fast-paced dystopian story about protagonist Henry Case; A former computer hacker hired for one last job with a team: a cyborg named Molly and a thief and illusionist named Peter Riviera.

The team is hired by Armitage, a mysterious employer who gathers the ragtag team to work on the fusion of two incredibly powerful artificial intelligences whose ultimate goal is unlimited power.

“If the past is always with you, it can also be present; and if it is present, so will it be future.”

Buy the series here:

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Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow

You may have heard of the anime film Ghost in the Shell, released in 1995. The film is inspired by Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell, a classic manga series.

Politics, technology and metaphysics intertwine in Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell. Our protagonist is the security officer Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg who, thanks to advanced technology, survived a terrible childhood accident.

Just as humans today can extend their lives and health with blood and organ transplants, medicines, and surgery, in Shirow's Ghost in the Shell humans improve their health with advanced mechanical implants and machines.

The technology belongs to Hanka Robotics, an augmentation developer with the ability to embed the human mind in an artificial body, or "shell."

Just as the human body is susceptible to infection and disease, so are the mechanical cyborg bodies of the people of Shirow's world.

Infections and diseases are not biological, they are caused by hackers and cybercriminals in the internal software and hardware of the machine body.

Ghost in the Shell explores the duality of mind, the philosophical concept that proposes a distinction or separation between mind and body. It also questions the ethics and potential for abuse of artificial intelligence and human engineering.

“If a technological feat is possible, man will. Almost as if it were connected to the core of our being.

Buy Ghost In The Shell here:

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Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K Dick

Philip K. Dick's cyberpunk classic Do androids dream of electric sheep? is one of the first cyberpunk novels ever published.

It was first published in 1968 and has since been adapted for the big screen (twice, Richard Harris' Blade Runner and Dennis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049), radio, stage and a 24-issue comic book series.

Do androids dream of electric sheep? takes place in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where global nuclear war has rendered Earth nearly uninhabitable.

The story follows the protagonist detective Rick Deckard; a "Blade Runner" hired to track down and kill six androids who have escaped the colonies on Mars and returned to Earth.

These androids are incredibly similar to humans, being composed of organic material, making them difficult to identify until they are killed and a posthumous bone marrow analysis performed.

Dick's novel explores themes common to many cyberpunk works, such as empathy and humanity, society versus the individual, and self-actualization in the context of artificial intelligence.

“No matter where you go, you are required to do evil. It is the basic condition of life to be forced to violate one's identity. At some point every living being has to. It is the last shadow, the defeat of creation; This is the curse in action, the curse that feeds on all life. Anywhere in the universe.

Do androids dream of buying electric sheep here?:

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Greg Egans Diaspora

Greg Egan's diaspora begins a thousand years in the future.

Humanity is divided into three main streams. Gauntlets are traditional people with organic tissues and organs. The Gleisners are human-cyborg hybrids. Polis are intelligent supercomputers composed of billions of copies of human personalities that once existed in a body but are now in a virtual world.

The story is about Yatima, an orphaned entity designed with the virtual world of the Konishi polises.

Yatima ages and matures quickly as Konishi Polises, whose development speed is about 800 times faster than Fleshy and Gleisners. Soon, Yatima and a friend inhabit Gleisner's body and travel to Earth.

When a nearby neutron star collapses and threatens Earth, Yatima travels to Earth again to warn the Flesh Eaters of their impending doom and offer advice on how to enter the Polity, or at least seek refuge.

“A citizen going insane could spend Teratau in a state of confusion and pain, too crippled in mind to authorize help, or even opting for annihilation. That was the price of autonomy: an inalienable right to madness and suffering, inseparable from the right to solitude and peace.

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The Electric Church by Jeff Somers

In Jeff Somer's sci-fi thriller The Electric Church, a mysterious man named Dennis Squalor founds a new religion.

According to religion, people are limited in their understanding of life and its big questions. Human life is just too short to move forward with such questions, which is why Squalor and his church seek to transcend human limitations.

To make true progress, the embers of the Electric Church become monks: human spirits in cyborg bodies with the ability to live for eternity long enough to discover life's answers.

Our protagonist is Avery Cates, a criminal and assassin. Cates is tasked with an enormous responsibility: the assassination of Electric Church leader Dennis Squalor.

“Salvation is not easy. Redemption is complex, the most complex puzzle ever devised. A thousand years and maybe we can start figuring out the first word of the question. A million years, we can start working on the answer. Perhaps, when the universe has collapsed in on itself and all the scattered worlds have been devoured by hungry suns, perhaps we will stand on the brink, on the brink of triumph and join the angels. I can only hope we weren't too slow to realize the truth that we do have plenty of time."

Buy the Electric Church here:

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Trouble and Friends by Melissa Scott

Trouble and Her Friends is a 1994 cyberpunk novel by acclaimed feminist author Melissa Scott and one of the most underrated novels of the entire subgenre.

The story follows India Carless, aka Trouble, and her attempt to salvage her name after it was taken over by criminal hackers. Trouble is joined by her ex-lover Cerise and a team of hackers who will help her find the hackers smearing her name and stop them from wreaking even more havoc on cyberspace.

“There were still too many people afraid of a technology that eluded them, even more so that they would never have access to it, and they resented and feared them in equal measure. Mobilize these groups just once, find a demagogue, and demagogues have always existed, and the networks would be destroyed.”

Buy Trouble and Friends here:

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Science fiction writers are increasingly exploring the cyberpunk genre, from steampunk novels to dystopian futures and cyborgs.

The genre is growing in popularity, in part because the world seems to be heading towards one of the most manifested cyberpunk fictions.

Take transhumanism, for example: trying to overcome given human limitations through advanced technology is already a reality that shows no signs of slowing down.

If you would likeScience-Fiction, you will like cyberpunk. If you have a vivid imagination, you probably canwrite a storyim Cyberpunk-Genre.

It has all the beautiful elements of sci-fi with its aesthetic, making it well-received by readers, viewers, and listeners of the genre.

For a rich taste of the genre, take a look at the books listed above and see why it's becoming so popular!

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