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VWN Product Reviews: CyberPunk
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"Why go to all this trouble to find a lightpipe port? Why not just use a common garden-variety PhoneCo jack?say, the cellular fax port in the smartcab, for instance? Well, we could, but there's this thing called bandwidth. If the libsys hooks you into the Great Data River, then connecting through the PhoneCo is like pissing through a pipette. Slow, and I'm told, excruciating painful."
Cyberpunk, page 18

The original cyberpunk novel, created from the short story of the same name, by the same author. Bruce Bethke's cyberpunk is written entirely from the perspective of four teenage, punk hackers, and is crammed full of the weird lingo of a generation not yet born, as they live in a more high tech world. A world filled with OurNet, CityNet, NovaLAN, libsys and a thousand other half-familiar, half strange terms, all thrown into normal speak right from the start.

The book uses as it's focal point Michael Harris, a thirteen year old with a deep set hatred of his parents, and modern society, and a deep love of hacking anything and everything. He doesn?t lead the gang of four, that's down to a seventeen year old member, but he is thick and fast in the middle of a million illegal things, in true genre style.

"I love the feel of Martin's Micros. It's a funky, dim-?n?-cluttered kind of place: heavy square gear piled in haphazard clutters on the floor, making it a true challenge to move in any straight line; big tin racks of old half-dead Cyberspace decks and i786 motherboards reaching right up to the ceiling; light filtering in low and angular through the vertical slits in the front window ghetto armor. When I'm in Martin's I always get this feeling that if I can just look in the right corner or blow the dust off the right old circuit board, I'll find some incredible treasure-or maybe a couple of cackling cybergremlins tearing the legs off screaming IC chips and munching on their silicon hearts."
Cyberpunk, page 24

Michael's dad is a control freak, and loathes technology to quite an extent - a futuristic Luddite who bullies and subdues Michael's mother in age old, contemptible style. Michael, meanwhile, can read code like most read English, and, in the interconnected world of CityNet, the internet of the world of Cyberpunk, everything and anything is manipulatable to those who code...

And that, is only the start...

"The gerbil frowned, and froze. A flashing red-border dialog box popped open: Warning! Possible buffer contamination!"
"Idiot machine. Of course there?s buffer contamination. There's always buffer contamination. This is CityNet, for chrissakes; the day I don't have a virus in the flytrap is the day I start to worry, 'cause it means I've caught something that knows how to bypass a flytrap."

Cyberpunk, page 39


As part of our homage to VR in Print, we offer the full novel, distributed as a 1.1mb PDF file, as shareware.

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