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Libraries Rock Out! The Good, The Bad, and the Virtual

In honor of this year’s Summer Reading theme, “Libraries Rock!”, I’ve created a handful of matching book lists and Spotify playlists. Here’s a taste of “Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk-Related Sci-Fi”.

Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui
At Tokyo’s Institute for Psychiatric Research, beautiful, 29-year-old psychiatrist Atsuko Chiba is effecting rapid cures of schizophrenia. Using devices developed by colleague Kosaku Tokita, a grotesquely obese and child-like genius, Atsuko enters patients’ dreams and participates in them, and she and Tokita have been short-listed for the Nobel Prize. But for reasons of professional jealousy, hubris, and twisted sexual desire, a doctor and a top administrator at the institute steal the devices and begin to “infect” staff members with schizophrenia. Only Atsuko can oppose them, and she must do that in both the real world and the nightmarish dreams of the victims. (Thomas Gaughan at Booklist) Also check out the amazing animated film!

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
Although less famous (and more deserving of praise) than Snow Crash, Stephenson’s other cyberpunk opus, The Diamond Age, tells the story of a virtual tutor — the “young lady’s illustrated primer” of the subtitle — and the social fallout that occurs when it lands in the hands of an urchin girl rather than the upper-class child it was meant for.

Joaquin Phoenix, […] plays Theodore Twombly, who writes letters online for people who can’t express their feelings. […] His wife (Rooney Mara) has left him. His best friend (an excellent Amy Adams) is distracted by her work as a video-game maker. No wonder Theodore feels he’s found the perfect woman in Samantha. The catch is she’s his computer’s operating system and knows him better than anyone; she’s programmed that way. (Peter Travers at Rolling Stone)

For the full experience, download this booklist and have a listen to the “Cyberpunk Sounds” playlist(Listening to the full tracks requires a Spotify account.)

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