any recs for good books about space/astronomy? not anything toooo technical but i’m pretty science literate.
Phil Plait has two really great books (Bad Astronomy and Death From the Skies). Brian Cox wrote Why Does E=mc2?, The Quantum Universe (both are less space-more science, but …)as well as the Wonders of the Universe/Solar System books (the dvds are AWESOME). Also, anything by Neil DeGrasse Tyson is bound to be good (and they’re remaking Cosmos with him). Also, Mary Roach’s book Packing For Mars is great (and I loved the audiobook), but certain chapters are not for the weak of stomach. I’m sure there are more, but those are ones that I’ve either read or am familiar with the authors/scientists.
“Aside from stuff Phillip K. Dick and Neal Stephenson, what’s on your must-read cyberpunk novels and comics list?”
Okay. Deep breath.
Cyberpunk, also known as Radical Hard SF or The Movement, was born around 1980 and didn’t survive that decade. (Some people map the end to 1992, with Neal Stephenson’s SNOW CRASH.) Philip K Dick had no affiliation with the movement, and was dead by 1982, two years before William Gibson published NEUROMANCER. People tend to associate Dick with cyberpunk because of BLADE RUNNER, particularly its visuals, which had nothing to do with the novel, but were so strikingly of the speculative zeitgeist that in 1982 William Gibson had to get out of his cinema seat and leave the screening because it looked too much like what was in his head.
Phil Dick was pre-cyberpunk. He, JG Ballard and Alfred Bester were major touchstones for the movement. Ballard’s CRASH and Bester’s STARS MY DESTINATION and THE DEMOLISHED MAN are essential. Also John Brunner’s STAND ON ZANZIBAR, THE SHEEP LOOK UP, and, most importantly for cyberpunk’s ancestry, THE SHOCKWAVE RIDER.
Of the cyberpunk period itself, you will need William Gibson’s first trilogy, NEUROMANCER, COUNT ZERO and MONA LISA OVERDRIVE. Also, Bruce Sterling’s THE ARTIFICIAL KID and ISLANDS IN THE NET. Richard Kadrey’s METROPHAGE. Rudy Rucker’s SOFTWARE and WETWARE. Pat Cadigan’s TEA FROM AN EMPTY CUP. That should keep you going for a bit.
FWIW, I agree with all of what Warren says, and please consider this another vote for METROPHAGE, which is amazing.
I have read so many of these. Also, I love The Sheep Look Up and they copy of that I read was older than me (it was published in 1972). Also, my favorite cyberpunk book isn’t on there: Bruce Bethke’s Headcrash which I don’t think is even published yet. But William Gibson will always, ALWAYS be my favorite. My dad gave me Neuromancer and for a period of 10 years, maybe, all I read were cyberpunk related books (and books for college).