Only a hundred years ago, computers would have sounded like something originating from the dreams of a complete madman. Nevertheless, today they are an essential tool for modern society, allowing countless services and processes to function with immeasurably more efficiency than ever before.
As many have observed, the place computers are taking up in our lives is becoming alarming, especially since we’ve managed to reduce them into palm-sized devices, allowing them to be used anytime and anywhere. Considering this, I don’t think anyone should be surprised the Cyberpunk genre is seeing a tremendous surge in popularity.
There are plenty of evolutionary directions our infatuation with computers could take us, and Cyberpunk explores the darker side of the equation, generally depicting oppressive societies and lawless landscapes heavily anchored in an obsession with computer technology.
In this category you’ll find the Cyberpunk novels which I believe stand out from their numerous peers and try to communicate new and original ideas to the reader. These are the novels which I believe hold some truth worth thinking about in regards to our collective future.
“Thin Air” by Richard K. Morgan – Enhanced Humanity
Richard K. Morgan has been, in the past couple of decades, one of the louder and more influential voices in the lands of cyberpunk and science-fiction, penning classics still relevant today.
In 2018, to the delight of his fans around the world, he came back from an eight-year hiatus with his first science-fiction novel in a while, titled Thin Air.
Simply-explained, it follows a bodyguard to an audit team investigating the disappearance of a lottery winner on Mars… and it seems someone powerful is out to get them.
“The Grand Dark” by Richard Kadrey – Celebrating the Shadow of Euphoria
Richard Kadrey is one of the most unique and original authors out there, with nearly every single one of his stories being incomparable to anything else in the realm of literature.
One of his latest novels, The Grand Dark, bears once again testimony to his incredible abilities as an author, telling a rather complex story revolving around the city of Lower Proszawa, blinded by extreme hedonism and euphoria from winning the great war, despite a darkness looming ahead.
In the middle of it, a drug-addled bike messenger from the slums has an ambitious dream he will stop at nothing to realize.
“The Fall of the House of Cabal” by Jonathan L. Howard – End of the Necromantic Line
Jonathan L. Howard has created a unique and memorable world in his Johannes Cabal series, one which never fails to enthrall and amuse with its sordid inhabitants and arcane mysteries.
In the fifth book of the series, titled The fall of the House of Cabal, Howard brings the series to a close, sending Johannes on one final adventure into the demonic depths beneath the city of London.
His goal? Nothing less than a cure for death itself.
“The Brothers Cabal” by Jonathan L. Howard – Fraternal Slayers of the Occult
Jonathan L. Howard has never run short of demonic adventures to send his favourite necromancer on, and in The Brothers Cabal, Johannes has the distinction of once again partnering up with his brother Horst.
Recently resurrected by an occult conspiracy in hopes of making him the general of an undead army, Horst isn’t thrilled with the plans they have in store for him, instead deciding to seek out Johannes’ help to wage war on those who brought him back.
“Johannes Cabal the Detective” by Jonathan L. Howard – Escapades on the Flying Ship
Jonathan L. Howard has presented a veritable gift to the realm of literature with his Johannes Cabal series, always taking the reader to unexpected places and unlikely adventures.
In the second book, titled Johannes Cabal the Detective, Howard takes us five thousand feet into the skies as the titular necromancer finds himself trapped in an aeroship where a passenger has gone missing, a would-be assassin made an attempt on his life, and an ugly face from the past shows itself.
“Johannes Cabal the Necromancer” by Jonathan L. Howard – Signing Souls for the Devil
Jonathan L. Howard will likely be remembered in the world of literature for the Johannes Cabal series above anything else, adding something completely unique and surreal to the realm of books.
The first novel in the series, titled Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, follows the titular character as he takes on a wager from the devil himself: sign up a hundred souls for hell within a year to save himself from damnation.
With the gift of a travelling circus, some friends he raised from the dead, and his vampire brother, Johannes begins his race against the clock.
“The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Cassandra Rose Clarke – The Beauty and the Machine
Cassandra Rose Clarke has shown her writing chops on many occasions, and The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is arguably the one where her talents shine brightest.
The story (nominated for the Phillip K. Dick Award) is set in the future and presents us with the life of an isolated family whose father one day brings home an experimental android, Finn, to assist them with various tasks.
One day he begins tutoring the daughter, Cat, and essentially becomes her closest friend and companion as she grows up.
As the government grants rights to the android population, Cat finds herself falling in love with Finn, who himself is struggling to find and understand his place in the world.
“Artemis” by Andy Weir – Tirades of a Space Criminal
Andy Weir returns once again after delivering one of the most remarkable science-fiction novels (The Martian) with yet another sci-fi effort, titled Artemis.
This time around he takes us into a deeper future, one where mankind has already moved forth with space exploration and set up the first and only city on the moon, the titular Artemis. On it lives Jazz Bashara, a porter who also dabbles in minor smuggling and whatnot to make ends meet.
One day, Jazz is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, but instead stumbles directly into what looks like a far-reaching conspiracy revolving around the control of the city itself.