Cyberpunk. In the early 1980s Interzone called for a “new science fiction” and a small group of writers in North America responded, starting a Movement that focussed on high tech and low life that used information technology and cybernetics, but took them out of the lab and onto the street where anyone could pick them up, recycle and reuse them.
The fiction was gritty, typically dark and dystopic, and in the mid-1980s, utterly thrilling. Writers like William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner and others pushed the envelope and cyberpunk evolved into only the second true literary movement in the history of science fiction (after the New Wave).
In 1986 Bruce Sterling edited Mirrorshades, the definitive anthology of cyberpunk fiction. It featured just a dozen stories, all of which sketched out in one way or another, what cyberpunk was and what it meant. In some cases the authors weren’t cyberpunks per se, but the work in question very much was.
I’ve just accepted the challenge from Jeremy Lassen at Night Shade Books to, a quarter century later, follow in Bruce’s footsteps and edit a new anthology that will cast its net wider and deeper, and give a fuller picture of what the cyberpunk movement was and what it meant to the field. The anthology, which is still untitled (though I’m referring to it as Cyberpunk at the moment), is due out in 2012.
What I am doing now, though, is asking you to recommend your favourite cyberpunk story using my Cyberpunk Fiction Database. I am looking for recommendations for short stories, novels, and anthologies, and am considering any cyberpunk story, no matter when it was published. I am especially interested in / looking for recommendations for work by women, people of colour and others. Cyberpunk was mostly a white male phenomenon, but I’m eager to present as full a picture of this important movement as possible. Anyone recommending a story will be acknowledged in the final book. I’ve put some recommendations in myself, just to get things started. You can see what’s already in the database here.