By Corey J. White
The hacker first became a staple of science fiction with the advent of cyberpunk and William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer. Since then he’s gone on to become a figure as familiar to the genre as spaceship captains and mad scientists, and in recent years has been enjoying a resurgent popularity.
Julius Dax (JD) is one such damaged anti-hero, a veteran gamer in a world where the line between reality and VR has become more than a little blurred. JD lives in Neo Songdo, a company town run by the tech giant Zero Corporation, and he is a man with a particular set of skills that are in demand when it comes to stealing a package of software from Zero. Though it might not have been wise to trust an off-the-grid cult leader with a name like Kali.
As it turns out, the software in question is the world’s first sentient AI, and both Zero and Kali want to get their hands on it, with JD stuck in the middle. What follows is an action-driven plot that, perhaps not surprisingly, bears some resemblance to William Gibson’s latest novel, Agency. It seems as though cyberpunk is not only back but may have come full circle.