The best books that inspired neon science-fiction

Why am I passionate about this?

After experimenting with fictional digitized worlds for the greater part of a decade, my writing journey has led me to discover a new, never-before-tried flavour of science fiction. My name is Louise Blackwick and I am the creator of Neon Science-Fiction – a subgenre of sci-fi that combines stylistic, thematic, and aesthetic elements of Post-Cyberpunk, Cyber noir, and Nanopunk. The reading list I compiled includes five science fiction stories that both influenced and facilitated the birth of this fresh and hopefully thought-provoking new genre. I hope Neon Sci-Fi can be a stimulating new addition for science fiction readers and authors alike.


I wrote...

5 Stars

By Louise Blackwick,

Book cover of 5 Stars

What is my book about?

Five days before the inevitable end of humanity, five unlikely heroes find themselves on an impossible quest to outlive the apocalypse. Aurora, Stella, Rolf, Tümay, and Sorano must challenge themselves to beat the Neon God’s Algorithm in a crumbling, totalitarian, surveillance state complicated by crime, technology, and civil unrest. Under the ubiquitous eye of the Neon God, they set out to collect “Gold Stars” – an elusive, difficult to obtain, merit-based currency – and secure a seat on the last shuttle to Luna. In a desperate attempt to save her baby daughter, Aurora must navigate the Dark and do her utmost to survive the last technological remnants of a dying civilization.

A ground-breaking story, written in a never before seen genre of fiction - Neon Science-Fiction.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Louise Blackwick Why did I love this book?

Philip K. Dick’s famous dystopian science fiction novel is a thought-provoking, era-defining story, and the novel that facilitated the birth of Neon Science-Fiction the most. Retitled as Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the book’s dichotomous setting – both neon-shiny and depressingly bleak – has hugely inspired my work on my book. I remember reading about the new line of Nexus-6 androids and asking myself questions about the nature of consciousness.“What does it mean to be truly alive?”I remember my inner child squealing with joy when Deckard picked up that electric toad and decided synthetic creatures are just as entitled to life.

The book’s neon aesthetic, with its spectacle of ubiquitous advertisements and its decadent cityscapes was not just awe-inspiring, but foundational to my discovery of neon science fiction.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the eagerly-anticipated new film Blade Runner 2049 finally comes to the screen, rediscover the world of Blade Runner . . .

World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were…


Book cover of Ready Player One

Louise Blackwick Why did I love this book?

As a Jungian author, I’ve been fascinated with the subject of “escaping to a virtual universe” since the early days of the internet. Anything from compelling video games to immersive virtual realities holds a strange sway over me, both psychoanalytically and artistically. For that reason, Ernest Cline’s debut novel Ready Player One delivers the perfect social commentary on escapism, popular culture, and shared virtual realities. Equally pliant and rigid, the intrinsic laws of virtually-generated worlds are often fun and endearing, and provide a beguiling spectacle. Concepts such as avatars, virtual reality visors, haptic gloves, hikikomori, and non-playable characters (NPCs) were central to my discovery of Neon Science-Fiction and more than pivotal to my work on my book. I would recommend science fiction readers to give both novels a try.

By Ernest Cline,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Ready Player One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that…


Book cover of The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

Louise Blackwick Why did I love this book?

As one of the founding fathers of Nanopunk, Neal Stephenson’s writings form a straightforward bridge between Postcyberpunk and Neon Science-Fiction. His novel is a collection of exotic technologies like matter compilers, smart paper, immunity-enhancing particles, and foldable transportable mech-horses. Eventually, I found myself inspired to create exotic tech of my own (e.g. foods, arts, weapons, and technologies fully based on “Dark”, an unconstructed area of “empty space” featured somewhat heavily in my neon sci-fi novel). Stephenson’s novel also depicts an extremely globalized future, founded on molecular nanotech, rapidly assembled usable goods, and socio-cultural division. The title’s allusion to a “Diamond Age” fully based on nanotechnology (diamonds can be assembled from individual carbon atoms) is a complex commentary on economics and how an object loses its value through mass production.

By Neal Stephenson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Diamond Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

CULT AUTHOR NEAL STEPHENSON'S UNSTOPPABLE SCI-FI CLASSIC

The future is small. The future is nano . . .

And who could be smaller or more insignificant than poor Little Nell - an orphan girl alone and adrift in a world of Confucian Law, Neo-Victorian values and warring nanotechnology?

Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer: the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. It is illicit, magical, dangerous.

And it isn't Nell's. It was stolen. And now…


Book cover of Daemon

Louise Blackwick Why did I love this book?

There is something about digitized neon worlds that captures a reader’s imagination each time. In Daniel Suarez’ Techno-thriller and Postcyberpunk novel, Daemon, an eponymous operating system is activated to take over multiple socio-political and economic systems. While Daemon is never directly personified in the novel, its digital influence is so majorly interwoven with the novel’s many storylines I can easily consider it an honorary character. The novel’s “government by algorithm” was my inspiration for Algo, the A.I. behind the Neon God’s Algorithm introduced in my Neon Science-Fiction novel. To me, the book reads like a darker, more technologically-elaborate Ready Player One; one in which the morality of automated decision-making is profoundly questioned. More than a science fiction novel, Daemon is a cautionary tale of the software-ruled world we are building.

By Daniel Suarez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Daemon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Matthew Sobol is dead, but his final creation survives.

It begins with a bizarre murder, where the only possible perpetrator happens to be dead. As more killings follow, the police are completely out of their depth. It falls to the unlikely partnership of Sebeck, a computer-illiterate cop, and Ross, an enigmatic hacker, to realise the scale of the imminent danger.

The Daemon is seemingly unstoppable, and murder is the least of its capabilities. As it leaves a trail of death and destruction in its wake, Sebeck and Ross must face up to a terrifying possibility. Can they convince a disbelieving…


Book cover of I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream

Louise Blackwick Why did I love this book?

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is the first title on my list that is merely a short story. That said, what Harlan Ellison’s Hugo Award-winning sci-fi tale lacks in length, it makes up in complexity. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the story follows the horrific ordeal of five humans artificially kept alive by AM (Allied Master computer), a programme responsible for the near-extinction of humanity. AM derives its pleasure and purpose from endlessly torturing the last living humans, rendering them immortal and unable to commit suicide. This unique supervillain became my inspiration for the Neon God – a corrupt, mind games-obsessed A.I. announced in my Neon Science-Fiction novel. Ellison’s story, however, conjures up images of desolation and despair I’ve yet to encounter in a work of science fiction.

By Harlan Ellison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Ellison is a true virtuoso in his genre." PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY By law, one cannot copyright a title. If someone were stupid enough to do it, novels could be written and published with such titles as MOBY DICK, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, or GONE WITH THE WIND. But also, by law, ownership of a title can be guaranteed if it can be proved that the original author has established such a connection with the title that any duplication would infringe that linkage. How famous is this most famous of all Harlan Ellison's books? Well known enough that an English film company was…


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Trans-Mongolian Express

By David L. Robbins,

Book cover of Trans-Mongolian Express

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

What is my book about?

In the harrowing aftermath of Chornobyl's meltdown in 1986, the fate of Eastern Europe hangs by a thread.

From Beijing, American radiation scientist Lara, once a thorn in the Russian mob's side, is drawn back into the shadows of the Soviet Union on the Trans-Mongolian Express. She isn't alone. Anton, a Soviet scientist exiled for predicting Chornobyl's catastrophe, is on a quest to expose the truth. Amidst them, Timur, a Chechen giant fueled by vengeance, plots to destroy the already crumbling Soviet Union.

Suddenly, a murder on the remote tracks of the Gobi thrusts them into a deadly game of cat and mouse. As Chief Sheriff Bat races to solve the murder, their lives are thrown into jeopardy. Lara finds an unexpected ally in Gang, a reluctant assassin sent to end her life, and an illicit romance blooms amidst the chaos. But Gang isn't the only killer onboard. A hidden menace lurks, threatening to unravel all their plans.

In this electrifying ride across a historical backdrop, suspense and passion collide in an unyielding dance of survival and redemption. Who will survive the Trans-Mongolian Express?

Trans-Mongolian Express

By David L. Robbins,

What is this book about?

In the harrowing aftermath of Chernobyl's meltdown in 1986, the fate of Eastern Europe hangs by a thread.

From Beijing, American radiation scientist Lara, once a thorn in the Russian mob's side, is drawn back into the shadows of the Soviet Union on the Trans-Mongolian Express. She isn't alone. Anton, a Soviet scientist exiled for predicting Chernobyl's catastrophe, is on a quest to expose the truth. Amidst them, Timur, a Chechen giant fueled by vengeance, plots to destroy the already crumbling Soviet Union.

Suddenly, a murder on the remote tracks of the Gobi thrusts them into a deadly game of…


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