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- Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 has undoubtedly reinvigorated the cyberpunk genre thanks to its phenomenal presence at E3 this year. Unfortunately, fans may not get the chance to actually play the game in the near future. Speculation suggests that the title may not make it until 2020 at the earliest, where it may be considered a cross-generational game. Regardless, there are plenty of books out there that cyberpunk fans can delve into in the meantime. The list below covers the genre’s prominent novels and Japanese influences. Each is guaranteed to give you a feel of the leather-studded, gritty future that awaits us. It’ll also help ease the wait for Cyberpunk 2077 enough to keep your normal life together.
Cyberpunk 2077 Books – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? follows the story of Rick Deckard as he hunts down a group of errant androids who wish to be free at any cost. As Deckard interacts with his targets, otherwise known as Nexus-6 replicants, the line between androids and humans begins to blur. Themes of survival and of rights to liberty are constantly raised. It’s ultimately a reflection on what it truly means to be alive.
Readers have come back to the book decades after its release to explore its philosophical musings. Its story may start slow, but this post-apocalyptic San Francisco setting is rife with cyberpunk imagery to keep you constantly engaged. What’s more is that its themes may suggest what Cyberpunk 2077‘s narrative will evoke. If the game manages to fit half of the imagination and discourse that Electric Sheep touches on, it’ll be one of the most intelligent and compelling titles the medium has ever seen.
Cyberpunk 2077 Books – Akira
Chances are that you’ve heard of Akira somewhere. This critically acclaimed franchise was the first complete manga series to be published in English, after all. Authored by Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira sought to discuss Japan’s fear of atomic warfare following World War II. It also talks about isolation in modern society. Needless to say, it tackled complex subject matter and issues that the manga community did not have at the time. In many ways, Akira was an evolution of both the medium and the cyberpunk genre.
Akira touches on the lives of different people living in squalor in Neo-Tokyo. Its main protagonist is Tetsuo, however, a boy born with telekinetic powers. As the narrative unfolds, gangs, the military, and other gifted individuals come together to stop the birth of Akira, a creative capable of destroying all life as we know it. The manga is gripping, tense, and insightful, if only to understand how it continues to inspire artists today.
Cyberpunk 2077 Books – Ghost in the Shell
Shirow Masmune’s Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk icon. Be it the original manga, the anime, or the live-action movie, you’ve probably heard of the franchise in some form. It’s warranted that Ghost in the Shell is so well known, though, as the series offers a lot of depth and complexity that encourages readers or viewers to interpret concepts through different worldviews. Its the definition of cyberpunk, as its aesthetic is inseparable from the philosophical themes of humanity and communication it poses.
Though there are many Ghost in the Shell manga and shows to highlight, the main premise tells the story of a prosthetic cyborg named Major. Public Security Sector 9 routinely tasks her and a group of soldiers with tracking down ghost hunters: cyber-criminals who turn cyborgs into their puppets. As Major learns about the world around her, the question of whether or not the ghost of humanity lies in machines is constantly raised. To think of a world where people are constantly connected to each other through networks in their brains is both exciting and scary. It’s essentially what the cyberpunk genre is at its core.
Cyberpunk 2077 Books – The Windup Girl
Paolo Bacigalupi’s 2009 novel The Windup Girl isn’t cyberpunk in the traditional sense. Instead of relying on the genre’s extreme aesthetic, the book decides to take a different approach in its setting. Despite this, it still evokes the cyberpunk themes we’ve come to love over these past few decades.
Taking place in the futuristic streets of Bangkok, Thailand, The Windup Girl trades technology for the bustle of Asian cultures who are forced to come together due to overpopulation and underfeeding. Emiko, raised by the Japanese as a model slave, finds herself in the middle of it. She eventually is caught in a conspiracy over the warring leaders of the city and must negotiate her will to find a solution to the problem with the limited amount of time she is given to live as a slave.
In case you couldn’t tell already, those same questions that make us question our humanity are here in full force. There’s also a dialogue here on the corruption of government and the ramifications of greed. It’s something that is no doubt relatable in our own world today.
For When Friends are Visiting – Cyberpunk 2020
Should you have friends over one night, the board game Cyberpunk 2020 could help ease your pain of not being able to play Cyberpunk 2077 yet. It is the main inspiration behind the video game, after all. The lead designer of 2020, Mike Pondsmith, is even advising CD Projekt Red on the title.
In case you haven’t memorized every detail yet, the story of Cyberpunk 2020 takes place in Night City. This will also be setting of the video game when it launches. It’s a west coast metropolis known particularly well for its chaos and oligarchy control. Board game players will have to choose from a host of player roles to progress. This includes social and class descriptors, which range anywhere from businessmen to hackers. This is very indicative of the RPG mechanics that fans will experience when 2077 actually hits storefronts.
There’s really no better excuse to get your friends together in between your daily readings of Ghost in the Shell and The Windup Girl. It’s also just a good excuse to see your friends in general and nerd out, as you usually do.
What book are you reading while you wait for Cyberpunk 2077? What are some other good cyberpunk-themes board games out there? Let us know in the comments below!