This is a classic science fiction novel that created the whole subgenre of cyberpunk. It also won lots of genre awards. It’s a book that I was meaning to read for a long time. It was suddenly referenced referenced in several of my blogs (back when I read it in 2008) so I picked it up.
Genre: cyberpunk science fiction
Length: 278 pages
Setting: Tokyo and space, near future
Summary: Short version: Case is hired to hack an orbiting satellite for a rival AI
Long version: Case used to be a cybercowboy until he tried to steal from his employers. Now he’s hustling business in Chiba on his way to certain death until he’s plucked from obscurity by Armitage and Molly. Armitage is running the show, but he’s been hired by an AI named Wintermute. Wintermute wants to break out to the next level, but he needs physical help to do that. Wintermute sends the team up to an orbiting satellite and gives them their target in Straylight. Case has to hack his way past the computer defenses. Molly has to break in and get the code to speak to the central core. Twists and turns and problems occur, but the mission is ultimately successful.
Final thoughts: An interesting book, but I had a hard time getting into the world. I don’t know if it was because the world was so foreign (yet set on Earth) or because of the abrupt immersion in the world. I had a hard time really sinking into the book. It also wasn’t quite as mindblowing as I had been lead to believe it would be. Yes, it did spawn a whole subgenre so I guess it was influential, but it’s not going to make any of my top ten lists.
Awards won: Hugo Award in 1985, Nebula Award in 1984, Philip K. Dick Award in 1985
Reading challenges fulfilled: None since this was a book from a previous year
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