The Essential Cyberpunk Reading List #cyberpunk

In 1984, I was the Computer Sciences Editor for The Futurist magazine. At the end of an editorial meeting, one of the other editors said to me: “Have you read Neuromancer?” [“No”] “OMG, you have to! It will change your life.”

I didn’t pay much attention to his life-changing offer. In fact, I thought he’d said Necromancer, and assumed it was a sword and sorcery book (which didn’t interest me all that much at the time). But I kept on hearing references to this Neuromancer, and a year later, I finally broke down and read it. He was right. It did, in fact, change my life, and the direction of my career.

After Neuromancer, I read the other Gibson “Sprawl” series (Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) as they came out, then Rudy Rucker’s Ware tetralogy (Software, Wetware, Freeware, Realware), Bruce Sterling’s novels (Involution Ocean, The Artificial Kid, Schismatrix), John Shirley’s City Come A-Walkin’, Pat Cadigan’s Synners, Greg Bear’s Blood Music, Marc Laidlaw’s Dad’s Nuke, and countless others. I also worked backwards and read the authors who’d influenced the c-punks: P.K. Dick, William Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Raymond Chandler, and Alfred Bester.

There are dozens of “essential” cyberpunk reading lists online. The io9 list is a good one. Like any such list, there is lots of room to quibble about who’s on or off the list, but it’s a great place to start and it includes the second wave cyberpunk of the Aughts, including Snow Crash, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Accelerando, and Altered Carbon, and essential cyberpunk graphic novels, like Akira and Transmetropolitan.

What would be on your essential cyberpunk reading list?

[Image from Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s must-read Transmetropolitan.]

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !


  1. Trues Names, by Vernor Vinge
    A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge
    Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner
    The Shockwave Rider, also by Brunner
    The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson

  2. James Williams

    +1 for the above mentioned Vinge works. True Names is a fantastic novella and I consider it must reading. I’ve heard good things about the two Brunner books and they’re on my list.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.