Saturday, May 2, 2020

Five top cyberpunk books about the now

Corey J. White's new novel is Repo Virtual.

At he tagged "five 21st Century cyberpunk books that resonate with the now," including:
Tears in Rain by Rosa Montero

As you can probably gather from the name, Rosa Montero’s Tears in Rain takes more than a little influence from the film Blade Runner. Where uncertainty about Rick Deckard’s humanity is central to Blade Runner (as well as the broader question of the personhood of replicants), Tears in Rain’s Bruna Husky is well-aware of her artificial status, and is (understandably) preoccupied with her rapidly approaching expiration date.

But the similarities end there, with Montero setting her novel in the bustling 22nd Century, populated with humans, replicants, alien refugees, and people mutated as a side-effect of teleportation. With its central plot concerning a human supremacist conspiracy, and the machinations of a violent fascist seeking to gain power, the story could (sadly) reflect modern politics in various parts of the world, but it’s something else that made me want to talk about Tears in Rain: animal extinction.

In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner, and Tears in Rain, environmental degradation has led to mass extinction and replicant animals have taken on great significance. But where the animal extinctions never quite struck me in the former two works, a scene in Tears in Rain with a replicant clone of the final polar bear—the polar bear endling –stayed with me long after I’d finished the book. It’s a minor point though, so I can only guess that it stayed with me because of guilt at living through the Sixth Great Extinction (or extermination, if you prefer).
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue