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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell me it's not true!
The late Mr. Brunner predated the cyberpunk genre in this and it's two companion volumes (The Sheep Look Up and Stand On Zanzibar). Unfortunately for the cyberpunks, John Brunner was a far better writer than any of them, and his vision more far-reaching. The plots of all three of these books almost have to be absorbed rather than analyzed to get the full effect (show,...
Published on 14 Jun 1999

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Protean cyberpunk from an author tragically ahead of his time.
Although shorter than the epic Stand on Zanzibar, and similar in some ways to the mighty Sheep Look Up, Shockwave Rider is an overlooked classic of sci-fi. Like much genre fiction it suffers from weak characterisation, but draws comparison with Huxley's Brave New World, other 70s new wave, and of course the later cyber sci-fi of the 80s. That we are all riding the...
Published on 6 Sep 2006 by Anthony Alexander


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tell me it's not true!, 14 Jun 1999
By A Customer
The late Mr. Brunner predated the cyberpunk genre in this and it's two companion volumes (The Sheep Look Up and Stand On Zanzibar). Unfortunately for the cyberpunks, John Brunner was a far better writer than any of them, and his vision more far-reaching. The plots of all three of these books almost have to be absorbed rather than analyzed to get the full effect (show, don't tell), and each has at least one character that really stands out, in this case Nicky Halflinger. I still have the hardcover copy that I stole from the library, so I wouldn't have to keep buying it like I did Stand On Zanzibar, which was on its second go-round with me. Buy it, steal it, get it at the library, whatever. Just read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, 13 Oct 1998
By A Customer
Shockwave Rider tells a fantastic story of a none-too-distant future, where the internet can be accessed from a normal public phone, but has become the main instrument of social control. The hero, Nickie Haflinger, revolts against a pardoxically individualistic but uniform society.
The first half of the story is told in flashbacks during interrogation, and is spaced with ethical arguments between Nickie and his interrogator. In this way Brunner - as well as telling a fascinating story - brings in some very serious moral considerations. Where does freedom lie when all choices are known - and preguessed? In a fiercely individualistic society, what happens to the individual who stands alone?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal., 10 July 1998
By A Customer
I think I was 10 years old when I first read this book. Every summer after that, I would search for it in the library again. Then I would lock myself away from distractions so as to be totally immersed in the science that was not to be fiction for long. With sweaty palms, I would engross myself in the story of a child prodigy whose childhood was stolen from him by a society that only wanted to abuse him - and how he took it all back in spades. Imagine how ecstatic I am that it is still in print, and so many others have discovered and enjoyed it! As someone else mentioned, stick with it, even though the staging method takes some getting used to. Also, keep an unabridged dictionary nearby unless you have a PhD in English. Brunner really pulls out some obscure words, but that's one of the hallmarks of an excellent writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding., 5 April 2013
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This review is from: The Shockwave Rider (Paperback)
In terms of predictive, social sci-fi John Brunner is an author without peer. Everything else is in his shadow. This novel is one of the loose 'future shock' trilogy along with 'The Sheep Look Up' and 'Stand on Zanzibar'. Extrapolated fron Alvin Tofflers 'Future Shock' accademic treatise of the late 60's the trilogy is spookily accurate at predicting the world of now, the 2010's. 'Shockwave Rider's' primary focus is on the internet, hackers, viruses and governemt control and manipulation; and whilst the predicted technology and future here is a little different to what we have, it's certainly so close as to make no difference. But it's not predicting technology where Brunner stands out, it's predicting the culture and zeitgeist. Great sci-fi will expand your understanding of the world you live in and teach you something without being preachy or didactic and this book does that. I've read 'Zanzibar' which is in the SF masterworks series, and I'm just about to embark on an oversize large print version of 'Sheep' which is the only version available and what surprises me is that Brunners work is so hard to get hold of and is mostly out of print. This to my mind is a crime and a failing on the part of the publishing industry...perhaps his work is too seditious and too terrible and real for general consumption. Brunners work is REQUIRED READING!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Cyberspace fiction, 27 Nov 1997
By A Customer
Shockwave Rider is a book before its time - written in the early 1970s but still providing a vision for the future of computer networks today. The term 'Web' was used in this book (was it the real origin of the term?) decades before the Web as we know it emerged. A riveting story of freeman vs Big Brother society which contains the classic values of privacy still being debated vigorously today. Computer worms and self replicating code - all the cyber components. John Brunner's very best and a mandatory read for those who liked Neuromancer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what Science Fiction should be like, 27 Oct 1997
By A Customer
John Brunner's Shockwave Rider is a compelling novel successfully combining a stunning vision of a/the/our future society and a meticulously crafted plot that never lets you leave the book for anything but primordial necessities. The characters are intense and truly believable, while the social structure and technological developments are so realistic that their implications - especially in conjunction with where we stand today - leave you wondering whether the proper reaction should be a shudder down the spine or a thrill of joy. The only thing I dare question is the author's optimistic view of our intrinsic qualities, but that does not change anything about the quality of this novel. This is a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must read for people into dark future SF., 29 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This was an excellent read, Brunner created a world much like our own could be. A world where the rich are rich and the poor fight for what food they can get. Where science runs rampant and human contact is shunned in favot of the data network. This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys dark future gritty worlds.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Protean cyberpunk from an author tragically ahead of his time., 6 Sep 2006
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Anthony Alexander (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Shockwave Rider (Paperback)
Although shorter than the epic Stand on Zanzibar, and similar in some ways to the mighty Sheep Look Up, Shockwave Rider is an overlooked classic of sci-fi. Like much genre fiction it suffers from weak characterisation, but draws comparison with Huxley's Brave New World, other 70s new wave, and of course the later cyber sci-fi of the 80s. That we are all riding the shockwave of technological change is now more obvious than then, and Alvin Toffler's non-fiction 'Futureshock', mentioned in the preface, is the most important context to understand this book. Predicting in the early 70s a worldwide web of information accessed via phonelines is prescient. But as an unstoppable force for freedom of information and human rights, the book's conclusion captures the radicalism inherent in the internet. The brief visit to an ecologically sustainable community, in contrast to the technocratic mainstream society, is another factor of a 1970s perspective that has a strong reflection in present day thinking. Although these locations are not developed in enough detail to be hugely informative. If anything, Brunner's shocking pronouncements of a technolgical society going wrong are now so common-place in the news today as to seem glib. Brunner also suffered from trying to create futuristic idioms of language that date his work as badly as science fiction from the 1940s. Nonetheless when I read this aged 15, I thought it was pretty cool. To pick a single Brunner it has to be Zanzibar, and today I'd say Ken Macleod's Sky Road is a better value read, but in the history of sci-fi this is not insignificant.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating ideas, but poor plot and characters, 3 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Brunner has tried to pack to much into a short novel. Written in the mid-70s his vision of a 'datanet' which can be accessed from any phone is remarkable. However, there are to many lengthy political asides and the characters are to flimsy to sustain interest. By the end I was skimming rapidly to finish the book - the ending by the way is particularly poor.
Brunner can do much better than this - if you have the stamina for it try Stand on Zanzibar, a much better novel.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly precient book. The writing style is very 70's., 17 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This book is one of several John Brunner books that are frighteningly good predictions of today and the future.
The writing style may put some people off. It isn't as deliberately choppy as 'The Sheep Look Up' but it is still fairly jumpy.
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Shockwave Rider
Shockwave Rider by Brunner (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Feb 1978)
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