what was this cyberpunk (ish) book? (30 yr old memories of the story)

Discussion in 'Looking for a specific title? Ask here.' started by Lharvey, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Lharvey

    Lharvey New Member

    There was this book. from the mid 80's. Ive done several google searches for it, but keep coming up empty. This book was similar to Neuromancer and such, but had some different aspects to it that, looking back on it, was very prophetic of internet and cybercrime and AI issues we are experiencing... TODAY. I just wanna buy/own the book again. So, here are the details, dusted from my old memories:

    The protagonist is a hacker-semi criminal/activist.
    He has a little handheld proto-AI assistant named "Johnny" [kind of like a prophetic Siri], that talked to the protagonist, often saying "yeah, boss?"

    The Online persona (hacker tag) of the protagonist and AI pair was called "Johnny Johnny" out on the Net (before the internet, point of note)

    For some reason the French were now the worldwide peacekeeping force, the PK-ers (Peace Keepers) are heavily cybernetically augmented, and hunt people like the protagonist, and well... kill them. They are very real Terminators- specialist investigator/assassins of the Frogs.. the french peacekeeper incarnation of the UN

    The protagonist is on the run nearly constantly. Over the course of the story the AI Johnny is becoming more and more upgraded and advanced, and at some point reached true AI (the cause of them being hunted?), that was whispering with other hidden AI's out on the Net, discussing what to do about the world/humanity

    The protagonist winds up fleeing to the moon, for the illegal black surgery Brain Lattice upgrade- literally uploading the AI johnny into his mind- making Johnny-Johnny truly one person.

    At some point "Johnny? Yeah, Boss? Trash the place. You got it, boss" was said, and the AI is unleashed, and went Public. And great chaos ensues.

    Anyway. That was the gist of the story. It is becoming more and more interesting to me, as it seemed very, very prophetic of things like Siri and DeepAI stuff going on today. considering this is the time before the internet (late 80s at the latest), its description of recognizable description of things like DDOS net attacks and popup Spam attacks, as well as Cybercrime and intellectual property theft... Even discussions of the very rapid AI processing power and speeds being unable to compete with the much slower but parallel wetware minds' abilities of intuition and creative deception/manipulation (like DeepAI being good at Go but horrible at Quake Tournament?)

    ...all at a time before the The internet, or even windows operating system was a thing... this vision of the Net and AI makes it a book I truly want to get my hands on again. Just to re read it with todays' point of view in mind.

    So.. what was name, the author of that book?
  2. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Hi @Lharvey, and welcome to the forum.

    I'm afraid I really don't know much about cyberpunk literature to be able to help you out here. The first thing that popped into my head when I read "Johnny" was the film "Johnny Mnemonic" which was based on the short story by William Gibson. Have you tried looking into the works of some of the early cyberpunks such as Jeter or Sterling or even John Brunner (proto-CP)? Maybe the descriptions of one of their books/stories might be it?

    I'll put your question to some other people and see if they can figure it out.
  3. Lharvey

    Lharvey New Member

    It may be i just dont know how to search google with the right "filters"

    The title was something like "The chase" or "the long run", the protagonist and AI were definitely "Johnny and Johnny" so- as you can imagine, I get a lot of pop culture "junk" search results.

    The cover art was a cybernetic "cop", high up on a Arcology sort of superstructure.
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Wait a minute, The Long Run is the title of a book by Daniel Keys Moran that features an arcology on the cover. And the book before it in the same series is called Emerald Eyes and features a futuristic cop holding a baby. I've had these books for 20+ years and still haven't read them. But I think they also have telepaths. If you remember telepaths in the story, then this might be it! I know it's supposed to be a cyberpunk-ish type story, but I don't know about any of the details you mentioned in your description. These were written around the late 1980's.

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    Lharvey likes this.
  5. Lharvey

    Lharvey New Member

    The one with the aircar!!! That cover looks like the one! wow memory is a funny thing with the small detail errors.

    I dont recall telepaths, but the UN Peacekeepers, and the name Trent rings a bell. Reading the "Continuing Time" concepts in the Daniel Keys Moran wiki, this is definitely the one- it even mentions Johnny Johnny.

    Thank you SO MUCH! Sorry for any spoilers, though.

    Off to Amazon- I remember this being one of the few books I read cover to cover.
    Boreas likes this.
  6. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Nice! Now you're obliged to stick around and tell us about all the books you read (SF or otherwise) and how you find them!

    I really had absolutely no idea based on your description at all until you mentioned The Long Run and arcology superstructure. Those are Jim Burns' covers and I've always liked his stylised acrylics, especially his smooth and sleek ships, although he does tend to draw over-sized breasts on many of his women which I find annoying. I'll have to check to see if I still have these paperbacks in my boxes somewhere. If not, I'll probably re-order them.
  7. Lharvey

    Lharvey New Member

    OK, another sci-fi book I've read literally nonstop cover to cover is this:

    Think Starship Troopers in a very, very dark,bloody, horrific, and bleak groundhog day sort of ordeal this poor guy went through, It was amazing how it tore me up inside just FEELING sorry and outraged for that poor guy. This is one book that actually got me super emotional and had to literally put the book down for a bit. (No spoilers here) And the way it ended was... pure awesomesauce.

    Another book I just ate up... but cannot recall and is lost to the foggy memories is.. "Pirates of the [insert ship name here]"... fury? storm? It was a very descriptive military style story, of down on their luck mercenaries salvaging a Terraformer/generation supership hulk they found and made their flagship. The interstellar drive were "Space whales" that could hyperjump to other stars (looked vaguely blimp-ish with fins and oval buldges), but everything else was realistic hard science(ish). What I loved about the story is the pirate raids and attacks, high thefts and all, and the detailed description of the mechanisms, targeting/sensing, and weapon operations... it was like a gods eye view of the ships and machines doing their things (Think fast and furious intro when we zoom through the engine internals). I also loved how the Space Whales were made to Jump; the navigator/pilot literally connects his mind to the space Whale through the control helmet for just a moment after gently herding it in the direction desired, and the poor whale senses PREDATOR! of the human mind, and does its instinctual flight mechanism- a jump to whatever star its pointing at. Pretty darn cool.
  8. Tiran

    Tiran Well-Known Member

    Armor is a book I re-read every few years for the last 25. Utterly engrossing - and everything Starship Troopers is not.
  9. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Haven't read Starship Troopers, so can't compare, but Armor is absolute class. At first, the introduction of Jack Crow's thread leaves you somewhat bemused, but everything is tied together at the end brilliantly. Have you both also read the only other novel Steakely wrote, Vampire$? It recycles the same names and character types, but is almost as good as his military SF.
  10. Tiran

    Tiran Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard of Vampire$, but I'll look around for it. Thanks.

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