Simply, these are the tales of a cybernetic future, lived more in cyberspace than meatspace, specifically as seen from the underside of society, the criminal, the usually impoverished, the subaltern. It also includes any society obsessively absorbed in media, and the protagonists may be revolutionaries

Before William Gibson’s Neuromancer in 1984 — perfect choice of years, huh? — dark and gloomy views of an unhappy technological future were simply known as “dystopic SF”; by those of us who cared. As a result, there was already a lot of stuff hanging around waiting to join this genre when it was noticed.

It’s heyday was the 1990s, but it still shows up: it just isn’t jumped all over as The Fashion any more.


The Taking of Satcom Station by Jim Baen and Barney Cohen
Johnny Zed by John Gregory Betancourt
Colony, The High Road and Millennia by Ben Bova
Shockwave Rider and Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Cyteen by C J Cherryh
Silico Sapiens by Joseph Deken
Valentina by Delany and Stiegler
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Bladerunner) by Philip K. Dick
Sleepwalker’s World by Gordon Dickson
Lacey and His Friends by David Drake
Software by Rudy Drucker
A Fire in the Sun by George Alec Effinger
Company Man by Joe Clifford Faust
Web of Angels by John M. Ford
When Harlie Was One by David Gerrold
Burning Chrome, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive and Neuromancer by William Gibson
Aiki by John Gilbert
The God Game by Andrew Greeley
The Mutants are Coming by Isodore Haiblum
Psychodrome and Psychodrome II by Simon Hawke
Friday by Robert Heinlein
Colonies in Space by T. A. Heppenheimer
Giant’s Star by James Hogan
Tower to the Sky by Philip C. Jennings
The Glass Hammer and Dr. Adder by K. W. Jeter
Mindhopper by James B. Johnson
Electric Forest by Tanith Lee
This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
Svaha by Charles de Lint
The Cybernetic Samurai by Victor Milan
Emerald Eyes by Daniel Keys Moran
Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
1984 by George Orwell
The Annals of the Heechee by Frederic Pohl
Dreams of Flesh and Sand, Dreams of God and Men by W. T. Quick
Time Pressure and Mindkiller by Spider Robinson
Wetware by Rudy Rucker
The Adolescense of PI by Thomas P. Ryan
Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman
The Tenth Victim, Victim Prime and Hunter/Victim by Robert Sheckley, which introduced the reality show.
Sight of Proteus and Proteus Unbound by Charles Sheffield
Frontera by Lewis Shiner
Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, City Come a Walkin’ and Eclipse Corona by John Shirley
Tom Paine Maru by L. Neil Smith
Little Heroes by Norman Spinrad
Wild Card Run by Sara Stamey
Schismatrix, Islands in the Net and The Artificial Kid by Bruce Sterling
Warbots by Harry G. Stine
Vacuum Flowers and In the Drift by Michael Swanwick
The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley
Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge
Marooned in Realtime and True Names by Vernor Vinge
Mercedes Nights by Michael D. Weaver
Hardwired, Angel Station and Voice of the Whirlwind by Walter Jon Williams
Lifeburst by Jack Willamson
Memory Wire by Robert Charles Wilson
Masterplay by William F. Wu
Cobra, Cobra Bargain and Cobra Strike by Timothy Zahn
Lord of Light and Alien Speedway by Roger Zelazny
Whew! And that’s a long way from exhaustive.