Future Treasures: The Big Book of Cyberpunk edited by Jared Shurin

Future Treasures: The Big Book of Cyberpunk edited by Jared Shurin

The Big Book of Cyberpunk (Vintage, September 26, 2023). Cover by Ociacia

While you and I have been spending our time talking about old paperbacks, Jared Shurin has been toiling away, making a rep for himself as an anthologist. The two volumes of original fantasy he assembled with Mahvesh Murad, The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories and The Outcast Hours, were both nominated for the World Fantasy Award, and his most recent books are two volumes of The Best of British Fantasy from NewCon Press.

His latest effort, on sale next week from Vintage Books, is an entirely different beast. The Big Book of Cyberpunk is a feast of a book, 1136 pages of fiction from the biggest names in science fiction. It belongs on your shelf next to the most monumental and groundbreaking anthologies of the last few years, including Jeff and Ann Vandermeer’s Big Book of Science Fiction, The Weird, and Lawrence Ellsworth’s Big Book of Swashbuckling Adventure.

I was very pleased to see The Big Book of Cyberpunk is also the first appearance in print of Isabel Fall’s famous Hugo nominee “Helicopter Story” (2020), originally published in Clarkesworld under the title, “I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter,” until that title generated such a furor of rage and resentment that the story was withdrawn after three days and the author entered a psychiatric hospital. Hopefully this will give that story more much-deserved exposure.

[Click the images for cyberpunk versions.]


Other anthologies from Jared Shurin: The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories, with Mahvesh Murad
(Solaris, March 2017), The Outcast Hours, with Mahvesh Murad (Solaris, February 2019), and
The Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press, May 2019). Covers by Sam Gretton and Matty Long.

The Big Book of Cyberpunk is a Who’s Who of the most exciting and innovative SF writers of the last seven decades, including Greg Bear, Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Bethke, Suzanne Church, Samuel R. Delany, Paul Di Filippo, Philip K. Dick, Cory Doctorow, Candas Jane Dorsey, George Alec Effinger, Greg Egan, Minister Faust, William Gibson, Eileen Gunn, Karen Heuler, Gwyneth Jones, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Cassandra Khaw, Nancy Kress, Naomi Kritzer, David Langford, Fritz Leiber, Ken Liu, James Lovegrove, Nick Mamatas, Lisa Mason, Ken MacLeod, Paul J McAuley, Sam J. Miller, Jeff Noon, Cat Rambo, Justina Robson, Nisi Shawl, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, Charles Stross, Molly Tanzer, Lavie Tidhar, James Tiptree Jr., E. Lily Yu, and many, many more.

Jared Shurin told File 770, “As with any attempt at a definitive collection, I suspect (and hope) it will provoke conversation!” and one look at the TOC tells me he’s probably right.

Cyberpunk came into its own with William Gibson’s classic Neuromancer in 1984, and The Big Book of Cyberpunk includes many subsequent stories rightly considered classics of the genre, including Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981), Nancy Kress’ “With the Original Cast” (1982), Bruce Bethke’s “Cyberpunk” (1983), Pat Cadigan’s “Pretty Boy Crossover” (1986),  Lisa Mason’s “Arachne” (1987), Candas Jane Dorsey’s “[Learning About] Machine Sex” (1988) and Charles Stross’ “Lobsters” (2001).

But The Big Book of Cyberpunk reaches deep into science fiction history to unearth the roots of the genre, including Fritz Leiber’s “Coming Attraction” (1950), Philip K. Dick’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (1966), Samuel R. Delany’s “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1968), and James Tiptree Jr’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973).

Shurin also demonstrates a deep knowledge and appreciation of modern takes on cyberpunk, with selections like Naomi Kritzer’s modern classic “Cat Pictures Please” (2015), Ken Liu’s “Thoughts and Prayers” (2019), Beth Cato’s “Apocalypse Playlist” (2020), Saad Hossain’s “The Endless” (2020), and Sam J. Miller’s “Feral Arcade Children of the American Northeast” (2021).

The book also contains a rich mix of fiction in translation, with authors from over two dozen countries, which I much appreciate.

All told, The Big Book of Cyberpunk includes a whopping 108 stories, a half-century of global cyberpunk. Here’s the enormously impressive Table of Contents.

Yasser Abdellatif – “Younis in the Belly of the Whale” (2011) – translation by Robin Moger
K.C. Alexander – “Four Tons Too Late” (2014)
Madeline Ashby – “Be Seeing You” (2015)
Ryuko Azuma – “2045 Dystopia” (2018) – first translation by Marissa Skeels
Jacques Barcia – “Salvaging Gods” (2010)
Greg Bear – “Petra” (1982)
Steve Beard – “Retoxicity” (1998)
Bef – “Wonderama” (1998) – first translation by the the author
Bruce Bethke – “Cyberpunk” (1983)
Lauren Beukes – “Branded” (2003)
Russell Blackford – “Glass Reptile Breakout” (1985)
Maurice Broaddus – “I Can Transform You” (2013)
Pat Cadigan – “Pretty Boy Crossover” (1986)
Myra Çakan – “Spider’s Nest” (2004) – translation by Jim Young
Beth Cato – “Apocalypse Playlist” (2020)
Suzanne Church – “Synch Me, Kiss Me, Drop” (2012)
Samuel R. Delany – “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (1968)
Paul Di Filippo – “A Short Course in Art Appreciation” (1988)
Philip K. Dick – “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” (1966)
Cory Doctorow – “0wnz0red” (2002)
Candas Jane Dorsey – “[Learning About] Machine Sex” (1988)
George Alec Effinger – “The World As We Know It” (1992)
Greg Egan – “Axiomatic” (1990)
Isabel Fall – “Helicopter Story” (2020)
Minister Faust – “Somatosensory Cortex Dog Mess You Up Big Time, You Sick Sack of S**T” (2021)
Fabio Fernandes – “WiFi Dreams” (2019) – translation by the author
Taiyo Fujii – “Violation of the TrueNet Security Act” (2013) – translation by Jim Hubbert
Ganzeer – “Staying Crisp” (2018)
William Gibson – “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981)
William Gibson and Michael Swanwick – “Dogfight” (1985)
Eileen Gunn – “Computer Friendly” (1989)
Omar Robert Hamilton – “Rain, Streaming” (2019)
Karen Heuler – “The Completely Rechargeable Man” (2008)
Saad Hossain – “The Endless” (2020)
Gwyneth Jones – “Red Sonja and Lessingham in Dreamland” (1996)
Richard Kadrey – “Surfing the Khumbu” (2002)
Khalid Kaki – “Operation Daniel” (2016) – translation by Adam Talib
James Patrick Kelly – “Rat” (1986)
John Kessel – “The Last American” (2007)
Cassandra Khaw – “Degrees of Beauty” (2016)
Christian Kirchev – “File: the death of Designer D” (2009)
Aleš Kot – “A Life of Its Own” (2019)
Nancy Kress – “With the Original Cast” (1982)
Naomi Kritzer – “Cat Pictures Please” (2015)
Lavanya Lakshminarayan – “Études” (2020)
David Langford – “comp.basilisk.faq” (1999)
Oliver Langmead – “Glitterati” (2017)
Fritz Leiber – “Coming Attraction” (1950)
Jean-Marc Ligny – “RealLife 3.0” (2014) – first translation by N. R. M. Roshak
Arthur Liu – “The Life Cycle of a Cyber Bar” (2021) – translation by Nathan Faries
Ken Liu – “Thoughts and Prayers” (2019)
Steven S Long – “Keeping Up with Mr Johnson” (2016)
M. Lopes da Silva – “Found Earworms” (2019)
James Lovegrove – “Britworld™” (1992)
Nick Mamatas – “Time of Day” (2002)
Phillip Mann – “An Old-Fashioned Story” (1989)
Lisa Mason – “Arachne” (1987)
Tim Maughan – “Flyover Country” (2016)
Ken MacLeod – “Earth Hour” (2011)
Paul J McAuley – “Gene Wars” (1991)
Sam J. Miller – “Feral Arcade Children of the American Northeast” (2021)
Misha – “Speed” (1988)
Janelle Monáe and Alaya Dawn Johnson – “The Memory Librarian” (2022)
Sunny Moraine – “I Tell Thee All, I Can No More” (2013)
Michael Moss – “Keep Portland Wired” (2020)
T.R. Napper – “Twelve Minutes to Vinh Quang” (2015)
Kim Newman – “SQPR” (1992)
Mandisi Nkomo – “Do Androids Dream of Capitalism and Slavery?” (2020)
Jeff Noon – “Ghost Codes of Sparkletown” (2011)
Brandon O’Brien – “fallenangel.dll” (2016)
Craig Padawer – “Hostile Takeover” (1985)
Victor Pelevin – “The Yuletide Cyberpunk Yarn, or Christmas_Eve-117.DIR.” (1996) – first translation by Alex Shvartsman
Harry Polkinhorn – “Consumimum Igni” (1990)
Gerardo Horacio Porcayo – “Ripped Images, Rusty Dreams” (1993) – first translation by the author
qntm – “Lena” (2021)
Jean Rabe – “Better Than” (2010)
Yurei Raita – “The Day a Computer Wrote a Novel” (2019) – translation by Marissa Skeels
Cat Rambo – “Memories of Moments, Bright as Falling Stars” (2006)
Paul Graham Raven – “Los Pirates del Mar de Plastico” (2014)
Justina Robson – “The Girl Hero’s Mirror Says He’s Not the One” (2007)
Pepe Rojo – “Grey Noise” (1996) – translation by Andrea Bell
Nicholas Royle – “D.GO.” (1990)
Rudy Rucker – “Juicy Ghost” (2019)
Erica Satifka – “Act of Providence” (2021)
Nisi Shawl – “I Was a Teenage Genetic Engineer” (1989)
Lewis Shiner – “The Gene Drain” (1989)
John Shirley – “Wolves of the Plateau” (1988)
Zedeck Siew – “The White Mask” (2015)
J.P. Smythe – “The Infinite Eye” (2017)
Neal Stephenson – “The Great Simoleon Caper” (1995)
Bruce Sterling – “Deep Eddy” (1993)
Bruce Sterling and Paul Di Filippo – “The Scab’s Progress” (2001)
Charles Stross – “Lobsters” (2001)
E.J. Swift – “Alligator Heap” (2016)
Wole Talabi – “Aboukela52” (2019)
Molly Tanzer – “The Real You™” (2018)
K.A. Teryna – “The Tin Pilot” (2021) – translation by Alex Shvartsman
Jeffrey Thomas – “Immolation” (2000)
Lavie Tidhar – “Choosing Faces” (2012)
James Tiptree Jr. – “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (1973)
Vauhini Vara – “Ghosts” (2021)
Marie Vibbert – “Electric Tea” (2019)
Corey J. White – “Exopunk’s Not Dead” (2019)
Yudhanjaya Wijeratne – “The State Machine” (2020)
Neon Yang – “Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points” (2014)
E. Lily Yu – “Darkout” (2016)
Yun Ko-eun – “P.” (2011) – first translation by Sean Lin-Halbert
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro – “wysiomg” (2016)

The Big Book of Cyberpunk will be published by Vintage Books on September 26. It is 1136 pages, priced at $32.50 in trade paperback and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover art is taken from a piece by Ociacia, with design by Joe Montgomery at Vintage.

See all our recent coverage of the best SF and fantasy in the publishing pipeline here.

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Eugene R.

Boy, I have a sudden itch to read a story titled “wysiomg”, a happy hybrid of 2 classic Internet tastes that taste great together.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Have been excited about this release for a while, for all the reasons mentioned above. Shurin has really delved deep 🙂
And delighted that my story title caught your eye–may it be savory in the best weird way…

silentdante

one of my top 3 genres so i might have to check this out, thanks!

Last edited 9 months ago by silentdante
silentdante

i am not sure if it’s separate enough but my favorite genre is sci fi PI, while a lot of PI type sci fi is cyberpunk esque, i like anything detective oriented in sci fi. and then the other top 3 would be hard boiled. well anything noir esque and gritty in mystery is great, and i blame my grandmother for that one, hahahahaat

contemplated having a tie, but a very close 4th would be sword and sorcery. i guess to round out the top 5 i will say grimdark, specifically because of joe abercrombie.

Last edited 8 months ago by silentdante

[…] Fiction (Black Gate): The Big Book of Cyberpunk is a feast of a book, 1136 pages of fiction from the biggest names in […]

N. R. M. Roshak

Jared was a wonderful editor to work with! I thoroughly enjoyed translating Jean-Mark Ligny’s story, “RealLife 3.0”. I appreciate you giving credit to the translators in your review, too. Could I ask that you correct my name in the review? It’s “N. R. M. Roshak”, with an R, not an L. Thank you!

Jared

I just finished The Big Book of Swashbuckling off the back of this recommendation, and it is absolutely terrific. The stories are a lot of fun, but I think the most impressive part (to me) was Ellsworth’s editorial voice – both in his introductions and his story selections. It was educational, in that I have a massive reading list off the back of it. But it was also really, really enjoyable, and his desire to share *stuff he loves* came through really strongly.

Agree that it is definitely one for every shelf (readers and editors alike). Thank you for the generous comparison!


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