Wetware Science Fiction Books

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A small but emerging sub-genre that features the use of biological technology and is part of the Cyberpunk traditions. As such, the idea of "Wetware" is often featured in Post-Modern Cyberpunk tales. Wetware is essentially the integration between biological and software systems in a human body usually accessible and controllable through a mental interface.
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Altered Carbon

by Richard K. Morgan

3.85 avg rating
In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.

Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning. . . .


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Philip K. Dick
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Ghost In A Shell

by Shirow Masamune

Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including “ghost hackers” who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers’ criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down.

From Shirow Masamune, the award-winning creator of Appleseed and Dominion, comes The Ghost in the Shell, the breakthrough manga that inspired the internationally acclaimed animated film. An epic dystopian tale of politics, technology, and metaphysics, The Ghost in the Shell has been hailed worldwide as an unparalleled visionary work of graphic fiction. And now it’s ready to dazzle the imagination in its second millennium.

This edition includes a new Introduction from Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson, and a fascinating Postscript from author Shirow Masamune, with his thoughts on the phenomenon that is The Ghost in the Shell!
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Neuromancer

by William Gibson

4.14 avg rating

SPECIAL 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION —THE MOST IMPORTANT AND INFLUENTIAL SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL OF THE PAST TWO DECADES

Twenty years ago, it was as if someone turned on a light. The future blazed into existence with each deliberate word that William Gibson laid down. The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards, Neuromancer didn't just explode onto the science fiction scene—it permeated into the collective consciousness, culture, science, and technology.

Today, there is only one science fiction masterpiece to thank for the term "cyberpunk," for easing the way into the information age and Internet society. Neuromancer's virtual reality has become real. And yet, William Gibson's gritty, sophisticated vision still manages to inspire the minds that lead mankind ever further into the future.

Nebula
Philip K. Dick
Hugo
BSFA
John W. Campbell

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5
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Otherland

by Tad Williams

5 avg rating
Otherland...
Surrounded by secrecy, it is home to the wildest dreams and darkest nighmares. Incredible amounts of money have been lavished on it. The best minds of two generations have labored to build it. And somehow, bit by bit, it is claiming the Earth's most valuable resource--its children.
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Snow Crash

by Neal Stephenson

4 avg rating
One of Time magazine's 100 all-time best English-language novels.

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.
BSFA
Arthur C. Clarke

2 Similar Reader Recommendations

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Fallen Dragon

by Peter F. Hamilton

In the distant future, corporations have become sustainable communities with their own militaries, and corporate goals have essentially replaced political ideology. On a youthful, rebellious impulse, Lawrence joined the military of a corporation that he now recognizes to be ruthless and exploitative. His only hope for escape is to earn enough money to buy his place in a better corporation. When his platoon is sent to a distant colony to quell a local resistance effort, it seems like a stroke of amazing fortune, and Lawrence plans to rob the colony of their fabled gemstone, the Fallen Dragon, to get the money he needs. However, he soon discovers that the Fallen Dragon is not a gemstone at all, but an alien life form that the local colonists have been protecting since it crashed in their area. Now, Lawrence has to decide if he will steal the alien to exploit the use of its inherent biotechnical processes -- which far exceed anything humans are capable of -- or if he will help the Resistance get the alien home.
John W. Campbell
Arthur C. Clarke
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Hardwired

by Walter Jon Williams

5 avg rating
Ex-fighter pilot Cowboy, "hardwired" via skull sockets directly to his lethal electronic hardware, teams up with Sarah, an equally cyborized gun-for-hire, to make a last stab at independence from the rapacious Orbitals.
10
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Wetware

by Dennis Bray

How does a single-cell creature, such as an amoeba, lead such a sophisticated life? How does it hunt living prey, respond to lights, sounds, and smells, and display complex sequences of movements without the benefit of a nervous system? This book offers a startling and original answer.

In clear, jargon-free language, Dennis Bray taps the findings of the new discipline of systems biology to show that the internal chemistry of living cells is a form of computation. Cells are built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties. Bray argues that the computational juice of cells provides the basis of all the distinctive properties of living systems: it allows organisms to embody in their internal structure an image of the world, and this accounts for their adaptability, responsiveness, and intelligence.

In Wetware, Bray offers imaginative, wide-ranging and perceptive critiques of robotics and complexity theory, as well as many entertaining and telling anecdotes. For the general reader, the practicing scientist, and all others with an interest in the nature of life, the book is an exciting portal to some of biology’s latest discoveries and ideas.

Philip K. Dick
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Vacuum Flowers

by Michael Swanwick

British paperback edition. The author's second novel, preceded by his well-received IN THE DRIFT (1985). This is an early example of the cyberpunk genre, and features one of the earliest uses of the concept of "wetware."
12
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The Soft Machine

by William S. Burroughs

In Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs revealed his genius. In The Soft Machine he begins an adventure that will take us even further into the dark recesses of his imagination, a region where nothing is sacred, nothing taboo. Continuing his ferocious verbal assault on hatred, hype, poverty, war, bureaucracy, and addiction in all its forms, Burroughs gives us a surreal space odyssey through the wounded galaxies in a book only he could create.
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