[Book Review] Neo Cyberpunk: The Anthology

While I’ve been interested in sci-fi books a little more [and more] in the last few years, I decided to further dive into all three genres of sci-fi, cyberpunk, and dystopian, all of which are genres that I scarcely read (not because I avoid them but because they’re never genres I’ve actively sought out before). But thanks to games, specifically Cyberpunk 2077 and Astral Chain, I’ve been more and more interested in this bleak and dystopic future world full of technologically enhanced human beings. Cyberpunk felt like a world of despair, last chance survivals (for the human race), and where there is a valley between the rich and poor, rather than just a class gap. It feels like humanity going towards advancement and took the wrong turn somewhere, ending up in a remote and desolate location of nothing but sand and “no service.”

I’ve never been one for short stories (so I guess we can add that to the list of new things I tried and liked), but I thought that if I were to go into a brand genre, one of the best ways to do so is to grab an anthology of shorts, take a deep breath, and dive right in exploring every reef, critter, and bubble that you encounter in the depth of this new world.

There were a handful of other, more known, anthologies out there that I could have chosen, such as Burning Chrome, but I was attracted by the very blue cover (even more blue in real life) and of course the android on the front.

Book Description

Title: Neo Cyberpunk: The Anthology
Authors: Anna Mocikat, Matthew A. Goodwin, Marlin Seigman, Elias J. Hurst, Jon Richter, A.W. Wang, Matt Adcock, Nik Whittaker, Mark Everglade, Tanweer Dar, James L. Graetz, Patrick Tillett, Eric Malikyte, Benjamin Fisher-Merritt, and Luke Hancock
Edition: Physical > Paperback
Length: 369 Pages
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Sci-fi > Cyberpunk, Sci-fi > Dystopian, Anthology

This was a pretty interesting book, a total of 15 short stories by different authors. The theme for all of theme is cyberpunk of course, but you get everything from jacking in, to gangs, to VR games, and…neurolinking to a crocodile. Some of the stories are lighter than the others, but there’s no real pretty light going on. Everything is bleak. At one point I stopped reading, stared at a wall, and went, “Man the future feels pretty sad.” There are some stories that felt a bit like fables, teaching a lesson somehow, and others that were downright intriguing to look back and think about. There are some interesting technological things happening and there are some stories that left you pondering and thinking.

Overall, I thought this was a lovely book and I had a great time with it! It’s a nice way to start exploring the genre too. I will eventually try to read Burning Chrome too, a recommendation that was provided to me during the Cyberpunk Day stream (by others in the chat) and I’m glad I ventured to try new things because it feels like the beginning of a new friendship to me.

“Defined in shorthand by the phrase, ‘high tech / low life,’ cyberpunk is so much more than rainy nights, neon lights, cybernetic enhancements, flying cars, digital worlds, and punks fighting an oppressive establishment.

It is a genre of philosophical questions about the nature of society, humankind’s relationship with technology, and what it means to be human. Growing out of a time where technology was becoming all the more omnipresent, laws governing corporations were slackening, and fashion was becoming about form over function, the questions raised by cyberpunk have only become more vital.”

Excerpt of Foreword by Matthew A Goodwin

Blurb

A clone searching for her identity, an android out of control, a young man fleeing from killer-cyborgs, a synthwave DJ whose music slays, a deadly videogame – and a very hungry cyber-croc.

Welcome to the world of Neo Cyberpunk!

Fifteen of the hottest contemporary cyberpunk authors have joined forces to create a unique anthology. In this book readers will find the full spectrum of modern-day cyberpunk, full of action, mystery, technology and humanity.

Cyberpunk is Now!

Microreviews [for each story]

  1. Vice Grip by Matthew A Goodwin ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I liked it. Writing and story kind of like a fable. Teaches a lesson somehow.
  2. We Are the Good Guys by Anna Mocikat ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Damn life sure sucks for MC. Nothing is ever so easy in life, especially if you live in a corporate future.
  3. Collateral by Marlin Seigman ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 So interesting that this was written in a kind of deadpan tone. Really mimics the emotionally repressed MC that tells the story.
  4. Cleaners by Jon Richter ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was absolutely outstanding and brilliant story with a fantastic twist at the end. Great prose too!
  5. The Volunteer by A.W. Wang ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ VR setting like sword art online with lots to lose! Another fantastic one. I loved the MC’s character portrayal of a jaded and tired man with no more hope or shits left to give. Nothing but survival and one foot in front of the other left for MC. Poor guy.
  6. Requiem by Nik Whittaker ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Interesting, kind of cool, kind of creepy.
  7. The Woman In White by Elias J. Hurst ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Interesting and exciting! I liked how this one played through and ended.
  8. Buzz Kill 2.0 by Matt Adcock ⭐⭐⭐ Not for me, my worst nightmare come true. Bugs but extra deadly. Concept is pretty neat though.
  9. Pay-To-Play by Mark Everglade ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Prose is choppy choppy! Somewhere between or maybe a mix of street slang and poetry, but falls short of purple. Descriptive. Chaotic and exciting, just like the story. Makes for an interesting read. Cool world and thought that the writing during the drunk scene was pretty spot on!
  10. The Demonstration by Tanweer Dar ⭐⭐⭐⭐ AI’d androids are never good news. Their growing intelligence is terrifying, especially when paired with their capabilities.
  11. Crushed (A Neo Rackham Short) by Eric Malikyte ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Crushed is right! Crushed my heart! This was a depressing read with a depressing ending…
  12. Cybercroc by James L. Graetz ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Always intrigued about human to beat soul/mind links and connections. Kind of neat and quite cool. Honestly, what a wild short and concept.
  13. The Thirst of the Machine by Benjamin Fisher-Hermitt ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Loved all the ads every few seconds! Truly living the future world of corporations. It’s like the algorithm ads that pop up no except taken to a crazy level! Enjoyed the mystery and didn’t see that ending coming!
  14. Breakneck by Luke Hancock ⭐⭐⭐.5 Interesting to think about a world of people addicted to games as they would drugs, nicotine, or alcohol. Sure, we have gaming addicts now, but these people are willing to DIE for this.
  15. The Modern Panoptes by Patrick Tillett ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow! One hell of a way to end a cyberpunk anthology! Really left me thinking! The adrenaline, the speed, the world that left the poor in the dust of the rich. Amazing time through and through with a great ending.

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7 thoughts on “[Book Review] Neo Cyberpunk: The Anthology

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