25+ Best Cyberpunk Books for Real Nerds
Cyberpunk is a rising star within book genres. We follow these books since the release of Ready Player One which was a big success in our book club. But cyberpunk is regarded as the cultural ethos by many enthusiasts, which makes it more than a genre. As a genre, it inclines towards an advanced end of technological development such as superior computing abilities, robotics, and micro processing and reflects how it will radically impact the society. Undoubtedly, this is why it is tagged as ‘high tech low life.’
In the cyberpunk books or novels, the backdrop and environment tend to drift towards a principal theme. The more dystopia and urban, the more indulging they are.
In several setups, the organizations and companies held liable for the crumbling metropolises grow exponentially due to corruption and wickedness. Interwoven throughout are themes of dictatorship and politics.
Unlike other novels that have heroes as the main focus, the cyberpunk ones have anti-heroes, hackers, agitators, and strangers as main characters. Typically, they have cybernetic enhancements indicating biological as well as technological advancements. Cyborgs are also ordinary in this genre.
Cyberpunk tales have a lot to puzzle, thrill, and stun the readers. However, not all of them are fully focused on cyber threats. Some also show how they can affect a family or a society as a whole.
Well, cyberpunk is a “purple” sub-genre of science fiction, and I have always some post-apocalyptic feeling when I read these books. The genre's characteristic that it shows the everyday of low life communities in a high-tech environment. The characters in these stories are very honest and always have some ultimate goals in their life. I really like their intelligence and problem-solving capabilities when it comes to virtual worlds or AI.
In this post, we collected the best cyberpunk books of the last years. Now let's see this unique selection of the top cyberpunk novels:
Dystopia's Edge, by Ian Price (2021)
Dystopia's Edge is a fantastic dystopian cyberpunk novel. The world is in ruins, no central government and the civilization as we know it only exists as a distant memory. It is a place where Benjamin Edge, an ex-hitman, receives a new job to transport lab equipment from late San Francisco to New Tijuana, not a gentle ride, but shouldn't be a problem for an experienced mercenary. The problem starts when a bio-engineered super soldier steps into the picture and makes this whole trip a nightmare to Benjamin.
The book is a great novel for anyone that is into post-cyberpunk. The worldbuilding was well thought out and setting that is quite unique. The characters are well developed and the protagonist, Benjamin, is a very sympathetic character. The plot is fast-paced and the action keeps your interest throughout the whole novel. I recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in action packed sci-fis, or anyone who's looking for an engaging holiday read.
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams (2021)
Holistic Detective Agency, a self-styled private investigation agency, has just made one of its most notable discoveries yet. Dirk Gently's lines of reasoning and role as a detective have been elucidated. The agent, who plans to save the human race linking a computer whizz kid with a dead cat, an Electric Monk, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and lots and lots of pizza.
He also plans to save the human race – at no extra cost with this classic novel by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which has given birth to radio adaptions ever since it was published in 1987!
Dirk Gently is not an average detective. He investigates the “connectedness of everything”. Of course, we can all expect him to be way too different from your generic story – and in spite of everything that opposes his lack of method, he goes on to do the most unexpected thing ever (in the show, that is).
Remote Control, by Nnedi Okorafor (2021)
Hugo Award-wining author Nnedi Okorafor presents Remote Control. An alien artifact makes a Nigerian girl the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death, and from that day forward she is called Sankofa, which means “seek and return.” Her touch brings death to whole communities but there seems to be more at stake than meets the eye as Sanko seeks out the source of her perilous powers: a strange object that fell down tethers!
This is a challenging and thought-provoking narrative that my favorite writer has done. It's not an easy story to tell. It's full of complicated family situations, unexpected twists on the part of the characters involved, and a shocking engagement between two unlikely individuals. Remote Control is indisputably one of the best cyberpunk books of the year 2021.
Quantum Dream, by Gadi Migdal (2019)
In the thirty-ninth century, Earth was destroyed and humans were forced to settle on new planets all around outer space. Things are actually very carefree if you can afford it. There are artificial brains, enhanced dogs, and smart monkeys available to help anyone who needs it.
A very well written novel. Humanity continuous it's life in different spots of the galaxy, they have been forced to leave Earth. Clever monkeys, dogs, and crafted brains are doing the hard work instead of people. We enjoyed the story and twists, the character are well developed, everything is settled for a good read.
The book is a science fiction novel that is quality literature in every regard. It expertly balances plot development with this feverish pacing action thriller that is both engrossing and engaging. If you’re into futuristic stories of action and adventure, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy the many twists and turns present in the book. The novel takes a unique approach to the cyberpunk genre by making it more accessible for those not as familiar with sci-fi novels by eliminating some of the aspects like world-building or philosophy that one might find difficult to follow at first.
Into Neon (A Cyberpunk Saga), by Matthew A. Goodwin (2019)
Moss was just a bland corporate stooge working for mega-companies, but little did he know that a terrific turn of events will change his life forever. A mysterious woman brings a key to him opening ultrarich corporations. When he realizes his connection to the lady, he sprawled on a stunt with his dear friend to the wastelands of gritty neon street lights hued by red, blue, and yellow colors. From being a mere man of the black and white suit emerged an ingenious hero.
Moss equips a visceral catch as he joins forces with the rogues to free people robbed of their rights. Will Moss break the chains of totalitarian runs or will he end up in the scrapyards?
Radicalized, by Cory Doctorow (2020)
Radicalized is a curated collection of SF novellas about some of the most pressing and controversial issues plaguing our society today. They're unflinching in their portrayal of what America could be in not too distant future. Expertly delivered from the perspective of one of our generation's most exciting writers, these stories will make you think about how we should all be fighting to get today's trends on track for change and improvement.
The book was a #1 bestseller on Amazon in this category. The author is a brilliant sci-fi writer in many sense. This book is a collection of four short stories that make a strong impact on readers. The stories are the combination of super abilities, political issues and deep thoughts about humanity, all of the carrying a strong message.
Broken Stars by Ken Liu (2020)
Sixteen short stories from China's groundbreaking science fiction writers, edited and translated by award-winning author Ken Liu.
I must admit we had a long conversation whether this book should be here or not. The book has such strong heartbreaking stories that we want people to know cyberpunk is more than just technology. The anthology also includes great stories in hard sci-fi, space opera, and science fantasy.
I really enjoyed this new anthology from Ken Liu (previously collected many of the most important recent stories by Chinese sci-fi authors). I love that he is able to survey the landscape and then follow his own personal interests. This new approach was definitely worth it, and I found some nice surprises inside.
Chromed: Restore (Future Forfeit series), by Richard Parry (2019)
This is the 3rd and final book of Future Forfeit series. The year is 2150 and the world is full of cyborgs, gene-modified monsters and AIs.
With the technological development of their brain link, HumanE seems to have acquired an unprecedented power over humankind. The company plans to use the brain link and its army of augmented fighters to seize control over all major cities on earth. To free humanity and preserve corporate freedom, Mason is willing to risk it all. By cutting his own ties with HumanE he abandons the safety he’s known his whole life, but in exchange stands a chance at retribution against the corporation that now holds Sadie as one of their most important assets.
This is a very good page-turner, where you don't care about tomorrow. I recommend for people who like action, fighting scenes and drama.
The World of Cyberpunk 2077 (Art Book), by Marcin Batylda (2020)
Get transmitted to the hi-tech Night City of 2077, a dystopian realm where cyberware, tyranny, and violence are deeply believed to be the tools to live and move forward.
Explore the incisive legend to know how America’s economic fall made it necessary to depend on the deceitful organizations to give rise to the Free State of California. Learn about the different gangs, historic tales, and districts of the Night City. Witness the future technology research the weapons and cybernetics of 2077.
I am a hard cover book type of guy and so I always look for digital versions too so that I can take them with me anywhere I go. This book fits great into the digital world of Cyberpunk 2077, so if you are a fan of the game as I'm this is nearly a must have item to the story.
The Psychic's Memoirs (Terrafide Book 2), by Ryan Hyatt (2020)
Belonging to Terrafide series as the final part, The Psychic's Memoirs is all about the tech legends of despair and hope. This is where the characters handle a falling-apart world. The author seems to have a great ability to develop a believable homely world just over the horizon, which is evident page after page.
The readers are likely to seek each calamity as an opportunity to progress toward utopia. An impatient LA detective and his agitated partner are on the mission to find a charged teenage psychic. Capturing the teen is likely to determine the result of a looming civil war and the relationship of humans with a deceiving alien force.
Portrait of a Time Tourist, by Corey Mariani (2020)
Consider this novel if you do not want to read something really scary but want to know how it feels to overcome the feats of corporate spies while finding a way back home.
The story revolves around the character named Jerry who has lost his wife, is genuinely alcoholic, and has disappointed his daughter significantly. The latter two may be justified considering his job.
What he does not know is that he is a proxy time tourist. Now, his organization where he sued to work wants him again so that it can reap from his experiences. Moved to more than 500 years into the future, the tourist is stuck in a geographical realm of business spies and revolutionaries.
While the challenge is to go back home, Jerry travels across the Washington D.C. This is where his choices will affect the mankind.
Otaku, by Chris Kluwe (2020)
This is the first novel from the former NFL player as well as a tech fan who has come up with a tale reminiscent of Ready Player One. Since his retirement in 2013, he started writing short novels belonging to the science fiction genre.
This novel features a dystopian Miami that is now being ruled by climate change. Known in the story as Ditchdown, the ruined city is the place from where no one can escape. Ashley Akachi is also stuck here but enters into Infinite Game for escaping the city. A deadly conspiracy is a challenge for her in this game.
They Eat Their Own (A Thung Toh Jig), by Armanda King (2020)
This novel is the second Thung Toh Jig, an action-packed adventure reflecting science fantasy focused on the members of Ismae's dominant but secret organization who fulfill contracts for the most ruthless citizens of Dockhaven, Ismae’s port city.
The new year has started and the annual Sower’s Festival is teeming with the city’s elite entourages. Soon, the winter of recovery passes and Aliara Rift is pondering whether it is fine to return to the Thung Toh and whether her reshaped body will betray her or not.
Duke, her pal, is concerned about many things, the major one being the pending destruction of their only safe home. Together, they face many challenges while on their way.
Aces and Eights (Aces High, Jokers Wild Book 4), by O. E. Tearmann (2020)
If you choose this book to read, be ready to enter into 2157 where the Democratic State Force Base 1407 is on a mission triggered by a rumor. In this year, seven corporations are governing what we today know as the United States.
An American company is controlling food production and its supply. All the seeds are genetic so that no external corporates can control. However, a sudden rumor comes up that a seed bank has withstood the decline that scaled down old America along with the 75 years of subsequent corporate tenure.
If still available, the seed bank can give easily accessible as well as free food to the Democratic State Force. The Wildcards have received this call but the hunt is risky, as there is no guarantee that the bank exists or not. So, is there a trap?
The Hierarchies, by Ros Anderson (2020)
This cyberpunk novel is less fearful and more emotional although ultimately it exploits the future technology. Set in a noticeable near future and lined with dark and wily humor, the author’s debut novel is focused on the humans' ability to exploit.
It shows the future world where the two classes of women namely, created and born, are facing increased friction that could only bring adverse consequences. The story revolves around a synthetic woman named Sylv.ie who is a sentient robot fulfilling her husband's whims.
Barely being tolerated by the human wife, the robotic lady lives alone on the home’s top floor and is forced to limit everything to her diary. Well, is this allowed to her? If disobeyed, what could be the punishment?
As the lady learns about the world she is living in, something moves inside her. So, is she started to malfunction? This increases the tension while interacting with the husband and triggers in her the fear of being sent back for re-programming. What happens next? We will see.
The God Game: A Novel by Danny Tobey (2020)
From the award-winning author who is an artificial intelligence expert, The God Game shows how the world of artificial intelligence can be terrifying and thrilling in the future. In this technological thriller featuring a too believable proposition, five teenagers are passionate about an online video game.
Their obsession later takes them to a realm where they are challenged to face the most dangerous wishes. These teens are the Vindicators who are pressured by the parents and bullies. Each of them gets an invitation to play the game that is developed by dark-web coders and upheld by underground hackers.
A secret artificial intelligence system controls this game and believes it is God. Thus, the players need to obey the almighty intelligence and get rewarded or else punishment lies ahead. While there are high-tech glasses and phone screens in the scenes, the harmless play is all set ahead to make them sacrifice their morality.
Accelandro, by Charles Stross (2006)
A masterpiece from the Singularity Sky Series, Accelandro preceded by Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise changed the face of cyberpunk science fiction novels. The posthuman era has commenced as machines domineer over intelligence quotients of humans no one has ever anticipated. In this era, the three generations clawed their way to cope and live through fast progressing technology. Manfred, both an entrepreneur and a father, develops intelligence synthesized technology to interlace the physical and the virtual dimensions.
Amber, his daughter, seeks shelter outside of her mother’s authoritarian arms making her way as an apprenticed astronaut. Sirhan, the third- generation child, is yet to unfold his fate as the savior of all humanity. Read this novel to unveil Sirhan’s exciting destiny.
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (2018)
In the year 2045, the reality is filled with dingy alleys and extreme slums of scrapyards. Wade Watts renders physical interaction obsolete; he finds purpose when he plugs himself to OASIS, serving as a parallel world of bliss where humanity spends plenty of time with. Along with the passing of the creator of the augmented universe, he leaves with hidden keys in designated events and places. Anyone who is first to unravel his puzzle will take charge of his fortune— and OASIS.
Wade Watts sets on the adventure to crack the laborious codes of James Halliday. While other strong players try to outrun him, he is clever enough as the player one. Will this lone teenager survive as the champion?
Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline (2020)
Cyberpunk enthusiasts can never forget Ready Player One and its author Ernest Cline, the bestselling novelist as per the New York Times and an all-time tech geek.
As the book name suggests, Ready Player Two is the highly awaited sequel to the global bestseller, Ready Player One. As of now, the story of this sequel has not been disclosed. However, the title indicates a direct headway from the first book.
The story is likely to revolve around Wade Watts, a teen who resides in a slum in the unfriendly year of 2045. The teen will be on a mission related to the quest in the Oasis, a digital world where likes the key to a big fortune. This is possible only if he proves to be the best at videogames.
Neuromancer, by William Gibson (2000)
A novel worthy of the Philip K. Dick, Nebula, and Hugo Award, William Gibson takes on remarkable visions of the future. In the dark cities of Chiba, lies a dread of sceneries. Case worked as the sharpest console cowboy for illegal transactions with swindlers, smugglers, and drug dealers.
For his crimes, he was then punished to destroy his nervous system and to never meddle with cyberspace ever again. Until he met Molly, a hired contract killer, who’s always there to support his back.
Armitage, a mysterious man behind the shadow, and Molly’s employer, promises Case to go back to his old life, from the regeneration of his nervous system to jacking into the matrix. See the next chapters as Case thrives in the dangerous stage of criminals.
Pandemic, by A.G. Riddle (2017)
An inexplicable sunken submarine was retrieved just outside Alaska sitting at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, containing no identification of any country. Inside, there are scientific experiments that will baffle all of humanity.
Dr. Peyton Hughes, the CDC’S renowned epidemiologist discovered an Ebola-like pathogen in Kenya, with her team, she traces the origin of the outbreak. Desmond Hughes, a perplexed man in Berlin encounters the horrors of the ravaging disease, perhaps he was a pivotal key to the occurrences.
Together, Peyton and Desmond believe that there are many macabre secrets to the spread of this deadly pandemic. Will they stop the virus before the eleventh hour arrives? Find out more by reading this intriguing novel by A.G Riddle.
Hardwired, by Walter Jon Williams (2011)
Humanity is shrewdly divided from the rule of the Orbitals, while Earth’s hostile regions are fenced in to let the Orbitals exhaust their pampered wealth. Outside of Orbital control is an ugly place of good-for-nothings, a mismatched ensemble of scraps, and hustlers having no choice but to live a hardscrabble existence. If the resistance guerrilla and the criminal underground could team up, they can defeat the menaces of power. Cowboy is a smuggler who can maneuver tanks using his own brand of programmed systems.
Sarah, an assassin of the mercenary, ends up with Cowboy as they fight the war against the Orbitals, hardwired to juggernaut forces, and a nitty-gritty grunge of rebellion. They are in for the ride of neural interfaces. Get ready to embark on this story by Walter John Williams.
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (1994)
Hiro Protagonist starts off a delivery service to Uncle Enzo’s Cosa Nostra Inc. It is a world covered by the mafia, destroying every bit of matter that comes in their way. In the metaverse, Hiro is not just a puny guy there for pizzas, but is a samurai swordsman and a hacker. Enter his best friend who designed a high-end drug named Snow Crash, which disfigured his brain. On a mission, his ex-girlfriend calls for rescue, he goes on the move.
A warrior prince of the Sumerian civilization engages in neo-noir warfare of apocalypse. In Postmodern America, a friend, and a former lover seeks to escape from the shadowy collapse of their world. Can Hiro live up to his unprecedented task?
Diaspora, by Greg Egan (2010)
Flashed to a millennium in the future, Yatima is born in a divergent world of mechanical marvels. Humans have chosen to be digitized, instead of the then-usual organic body. Seems like the advancement screams stability until an event comes far from the ephemeral wonder, they are in. The gleisners, robots, who are aware of their being face a brink of destruction. The fleshers, a life living in a biological being can reverse time.
Yatima goes for an intergalactic adventure with his friends Orlando and Liana, to save Earth from the colliding deadly rays that will end all life as they know it. Get plunged into this mind-boggling novel by Greg Egan.
The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (2010)
It could not be any worse than the effects of oil exhaustion. Set in Thailand exotic markets, Anderson Lake, a Calorie Man employed by Agri-Gen, bats for the rarest foodstuff thought to have vanished centuries ago. Emiko, a wind-up girl formerly useful to Kyoto businessmen, is now a patchwork in Bangkok.
She is not human, but a peculiar yet astonishing creature made by the engineering feats of extreme innovation. However, calorie companies have dominated the future along with their corporate greed of making money stifled the progress everyone needed— humanity. What happens if calories become the staple of trade? Find out the next chapters of this chilling story by Paolo Bacigalupi.
Cyberpunk City, by D.L. Young (2020)
Maddox finds himself in a tight spot as he was forced to steal a dataset by an enigmatic executive. At a glance of foreboding spires and perhaps collected from a dream, underlies a secret war of artificial intelligence inside a vast world of virtual interactions. With several tricks, he has learned (and some he’s never done), he must apply those to what dangers will unfold.
This novel of mile-high skyscrapers of futurism is paired with slow-motion destruction. At first I wasn't exactly sure where the book was leading me and it took me a little while to get used to its writing style. Once I became acclimated to the author's writing, however, I eagerly began exploring the story's world as well as that of its characters. It grabbed my attention right away and never let go; some passages made me want to keep reading late into the night while others made me pause just because they were so beautifully written. Aside from a few typos here and there, I found myself getting into this book fairly quickly with its many twists and turns.
The cyberpunk book are famous among the fantasy and science fiction readers who adore reading about computers, technology, and realms wherein the characters can consume everything or trigger awful threats. Pick any of the aforementioned ones and you will truly enjoy reading it. If you are looking for more cyberpunk, check our our post-cyberpunk collection.