Near Future Science Fiction (or Cyberpunk)

BloatedGuppy

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Feb 3, 2010
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Anyone know of any?

I'm talking...the next 20-30 years, or so. A world that generally resembles ours socially and politically, with some science fiction or cyberpunk elements.

Seems like all the well regarded sci-fi books are set hundreds if not thousands of years in the future, where everyone is immortal and there's talking robots on every corner or there are fabulous aliens boiling out of every nook. If I wanted something like that, I'd read fantasy. I want some hard science fiction.

Anything written in a light/engaging style will win my heart. Gibson can be a bit dense and lyrical at times.

And before anyone says Cory Doctorow, I can't. He refuses to have his stuff put on Audible due to copyright issues.
 

DoPo

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Jan 30, 2012
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Does it have to be a book? There is H+ [https://www.youtube.com/user/hplusdigitalseries] on YouTube - it's...dunno - miniseries, I suppose, with episodes being ~5 minutes. It started out promising - I watched the first few episodes but I haven't followed it closely since. Wanted to pile up some material and go through it in larger chunks.

That's it from me, but I'll be monitoring this thread closely.
 

souper soup guy

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Aug 8, 2011
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You ever play Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Its set in the very near future and one its big themes is trans humanism and the human response to it.
 

Xarathox

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Feb 12, 2013
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There's also Ghost in the Shell (which you probably already know about), if you're looking for something outside literature.
 

Soviet Heavy

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Jan 22, 2010
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The Will Smith I-Robot movie? (I know it's nothing like the book, it was renamed I-Robot for brand recognition but was based on an unrelated robot thriller script.)
 

Hardsuit

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May 20, 2011
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Not much to add really just my favs not directly listed.

Melissa Scott - Trouble and Her Friends (hackers in cyberspace after the gov't imposes laws changing the net)
Justina Robson - Quantum Gravity series (It's a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy. "Elves don't rock")

Vexille: 2077 Japanese Isolation Is also a good movie if you haven't seen it
 

The Ubermensch

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Mar 6, 2012
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I can't help but laugh a little bit when I hear people talking about how cyberpunk died in the 90s.

Nearly every large metropolis now has its own second life of location-based game layers; whole buildings are wrapped in screens. There are ads for video games on video billboards, and ads on billboards inside of video games ? sometimes even ads for other video games.Virtual Graffii is overlaid on the environment by portable computers. Anarchists and revolutionaries organize via encrypted virtual networks, And, really, anyone with the know-how can buy designer drugs or refined plutonium on secret websites using an experimental decentralized online currency.

Teenagers with smart phones wander the streets, wearing on them computers rivaling the most powerful consumer models from a decade ago. These youths wander around, compromising networks discretely from their phones, wreacking havoc and making a killing for themselves scanning other people's RFID Embedded credit cards and dumping the funds through multiple online bank accounts, while corporate executives plan the overthrow of state governments, with fascism creeping into politics and unmanned robots hovering in the skies. The hobos wander the rail tracks with backpacks full of movies and a laptop. New Eyeglasses allow seamless integration of life with the network and cyberspace

Police have come to fear the technology of protestors they suppress. Three letter government agencies plot increasingly intricate ways to monitor the population, from unmanned drones to city-wide CCTV installation to the questionably legal hacking of private CCTV networks and the use of facial recognition databanks to track people everywhere they go in the physical world while projects like Trapwire monitor everything they do online. New Brain-machine interfaces allow sensitive information like bank account and PIN numbers to be extracted form a person's brain involuntarily.

In the midst of the surveilance state, society begins to stagnate and the gap between the economic and political elites and the city-dwelling lower class widens into a gaping chasm. Hackers and whistleblowers risk life and limb to expose the activities of the surveilance state and expose the dangers of the powerful multinational corporations, travelling from hovel to hovel with backpacks full of high tech equipment just one step ahead of the authorities they oppose.

Once straight-edge white-collar tech workers go rogue, moonlighting as vigilantes of the information age, breaking into secure stores of information to free knowledge and give it to the public, facing the kind of persecution and threats which can drive men to choose death over the suffering.

Urban decay sets in over the cities of the west while in the east vast towering metropolises of Neon, LEDs and lasers fill the night sky with an arcade-scheme of lights and flashing images while on a cloudy night over New york city, the light pollution from skyscrapers that make mockery of the tower of Babel turn the sky the color of an old television set tuned to a dead channel.

Cyberpunk didn't die, it became reality. And now we all live in a bizarre warpath between an Orwellian and Huxleian dystopic future society where corporations are willing to kill thousands of brown people to sell YOU some Coca Cola?. That's what a monoculture is. It's everywhere, and it's all the same. And it takes up alien cultures and digests them and shits them out in a homogenous building-block shape that fits seamlessly into the vast blank wall of the monoculture. This is the future. This is what we built. This is what we wanted. It must have been. Because we all had the fucking choice, didn't we? It is only our money that allows commercial culture to flower. If we didn't want to live like this, we could have changed it any time, by not fucking paying for it. So let's celebrate by all going out and buying the same burger.
 

octafish

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Apr 23, 2010
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Gibson's Bridge trilogy? It might have dated, I haven't read since it came out, but it was set about nowish while written in the nineties. I really like his latest works but they are less and less cyberpunk.

Of course it goes.without saying that you should read Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.

Edit: What about Rendevouz with Rama...not cyberpunk but very rooted in reality...considering.
 

InsipidMadness

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Mar 26, 2010
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http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Church-Jeff-Somers/dp/0316053937 Picked it up on a whim and it's now my most favorited series ever. Very grounded with sci-fi elements. Worth every page, imho.
 

DeltaEdge

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May 21, 2010
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Hm, well if you can stand some anime tropes, then you might like To aru Majutsu no Index. It is a light novel series with 2 anime adaptations(3, if you count the spin off anime, and 4 if you count the sequel to the spin off coming this April), and a movie. There are currently about 28-30 novels, if I remember correctly, and each season of the anime manages to cover roughly 6 volumes. The anime is very good, it seems to be a fairly high budget anime, and due to the immense buffer, there is no filler.

I'm not quite sure if it counts as Cyberpunk though, as the main setting is in Academy city, which is 20-30 years more advanced than the rest of the world, but it is still technically in current time. There are also a multitude of points in which the main character leaves Academy city later in the series as well.

But if that counts, then if you are okay with a predominately teen cast of main characters, occasional fan-service(Played more for laughs than anything else, and relatively infrequent), then I think it should easily be worth checking out. The novels are in Japanese by the way, so if you want to read them, then you will need to find translated copies online. Here's a link to the website that I read all of them off of, free, and are available as .pdfs
 

Esotera

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Get the Best of SF anthology (I think the latest is about 25). It's a really broad spread of genres and it does tend to disproportionately cover near-future sci-fi.

Anyway, Bruce Sterling has a relatively good short story about 3D printers, and if you're looking for something more indepth, the Destiny's Children series by Stephen Baxter spans the near-future for basically a whole novel and is really good anyway so you should read it.
 

Niflhel

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I'd suggest A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.
It was written in 1977 and takes place in 1994, so it's very near-future.
 

Froggy Slayer

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The Ubermensch said:
The only thing that we're really missing is widespread cybernetic enhancement, and I think that even that is going to become big within the next few decades.
 

Korenith

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The Black Mirror series on UK's Channel 4 is a really good near future satire. Each episode is a standalone as well so you can watch them in whatever order you like and they should be easy to watch online.

In terms of novels I think Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood might fit the bill. It is half set in a post-apocalyptic world but the other half is set prior and tells how it got to that stage and its all relatively close to what science could potentially do in the next 30-50 years (well as far as I can tell anyway).
 

Joccaren

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Dark as Day by Charles Sheffield kinda meets those criteria. No aliens, people aren't immortal, there's no robots walking around and shit [Might have been a couple of receptionist VI, but that's probably about it], and sci fi. Set across our solar system, mainly around Ganymede and a few other moons of I think it was Jupiter, might have been a couple from Saturn.
Not sure what you count as light or engaging, so I can't really comment on that, but its a book I really enjoy.