Earth lies prostrate beneath the lash of the Orbital powers, and Earth’s Balkanized nations have no choice but to let the Orbitals plunder their remaining wealth. Below the zone of Orbital control, buttonheads, panzerjocks, dirtgirls, and hustlers scramble for their ticket out of the gravity well.
But now, if the criminal underworld and the guerilla underground can join forces, there is a chance to shift the balance of power— in a war fought on the ground by hardwired commandos, in the air by high-flying deltajocks, and by genius hacker’s in the world’s neural interface.
As Roger Zelazny said, “Hardwired” is a tough, sleek juggernaut of a story, punctuated by strobe light movements, coursing to the wail of jets and the twang of steel guitars— glittering, nasty, and noble— and told in a style perfectly suiting its content. It has all of my favorite things— blood, love, fire, hate and a high ideal or two. I wish I’d written this one.”
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Though it involves a somewhat dark vision of earth's future, Hardwired is a fun, fast-moving cyberpunk thriller featuring flawed heroes.
Considered one of the novels that jump-started the cyberpunk movement (and released not long after William Gibson's Neuromancer helped cyberpunk achieve mainstream status), Hardwired is a different kind of cyberpunk novel -- one that details the attempts of a few individuals to remain free.
In some instances, it borders on space opera, but Williams' prose is lively and rich, and the book incorporates elements of post apocalypse urban cyberpunk alongside military SF and even some western elements.
So much cyberpunk is uniformly depressing (darkness, rain, etc), but Williams manages to evoke the spare, unforgiving landscape of the American Southwest, which ultimately releases the reader from a bout with what I call cyberdepression.
I first read it in the late 80s after hearing it was an homage to Zelazny's Damnation Alley, and I've read this novel several times since (when the covers fell off my original copy I bought another, and bought the ebook as soon as Williams released it).
Filled with deeply flawed heroes, deeply creepy bad guys and a lot of people struggling to be human (and failing) in often inhuman circumstances, Hardwired is pure fun -- a high-powered, high-octane adventure.more