City Come a-Walkin'
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

City Come a-Walkin'

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  288 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Stu Cole is struggling to keep his nightclub, Club Anesthesia, afloat in the face of mob harassment when he's visited by a manifestation of the city of San Francisco, crystallized into a single enigmatic being. This amoral superhero leads him on a terrifying journey through the rock and roll demimonde as they struggle to save the city.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 4th 2001 by Running Press (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Neuromancer by William GibsonSnow Crash by Neal StephensonThe Diamond Age by Neal StephensonAltered Carbon by Richard K. MorganDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Best of Cyberpunk
60th out of 176 books — 745 voters
Neuromancer by William GibsonSnow Crash by Neal StephensonCount Zero by William GibsonThe Meat Market by James ChalkMona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson
Best cyberpunk books
56th out of 88 books — 231 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 659)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Really, just...holy shit. This book takes "amazing" to a whole new level. Aside from one typographical error (a capital A following a comma), not one piece of this novel was out of place.

Forewarning, I may just write "holy shit" a lot to convey my love of this book.

First off, if you read it, make sure you get an edition with the intro by William Gibson. I was hooked just from that, I didn't even need the narrative. It also provides a bit of context, not that you'll need it.

Now, just......more
Bart Everson
Oct 02, 2012 Bart Everson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of action-oriented sci-fi, people interested in punk and cyberpunk
Recommended to Bart by: Octavia Science Fiction Reading Club
Shelves: octavia-sf
Four stars for seminality. (Is that a word?) Two stars for my actual reading pleasure. So I split the difference for this rating.

This book really puts the "punk" in cyberpunk. In fact this is the first cyberpunk novel ever written. Future entrees in the subgenre tended to stress the "cyber" element more. But City Come a Walkin' is one of the most punk books I have ever read. That's a good thing. It's got punk attitude and one of the main characters is a rocker.

It's got a hard, tough edge, depi...more
Crabby McGrouchpants
John Shirley's breakout work — now back in print — presages a lot of "cyberpunk" fiction (even this review just draws off the Wm. Gibson introduction, the case is so obvious), albeit in a way that still is hard to pin down, quantify, categorize ... barring that it's rip-roaring, punk-rock, many-layered Fiction pleasure!

City — as realized, as a "character" — isn't your prototypical bad guy, good guy, or "anti-hero", either; rather, as a sort of Faustian bargain-maker for a world too sanguine abou...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
In the introduction to the 1996 edition of Shirley's original 1980 novel, William Gibson refers to Shirley as the Patient Zero of Cyperpunk. I'm in no position to contest that assertion, and it goes a ways towards explaining why the novel, while never seeming dated, seems so familiar. Shirley's imagined San Francisco of 2008 has the post-punk feel, vigilante dangers, and cynical corporate plots that are now the mainstay of sf in books, movies, and television. Shirley does seem to have gotten the...more
Phillip Dunham
This is the second one of John Shirley's books I've read. This and Transmaniacon. I really liked them both. (He references Blue Oyster Cult in both novels, and actually wrote lyrics for some of their later music. Much later, like post-2000.)
The characters in both novels fall into and create a series of violent and chaotic situations. It's like cyberpunk Tarantino.
Some of the sci fi elemts in this are a little dated (one of the charactres walks by a music store that cells CD-ROMS) but that's inc...more
Allan Dyen-shapiro
A classic. One of the books that inspired cyberpunk, considered by some to be the first cyberpunk novel. Set in San Francisco, with the city itself as a character, also with other great characters that come from the authors background as a punk rock musician. The idea that a city could be sentient was a completely cool notion, probably what inspired the sentient computer network in Gibson's Neuromancer. Great prose, compelling characters, great story.

A must read.
Whit Compton
A handful of the most ingenious, inventive and just downright creative ideas I've ever read in a science fiction novel. Period. Unfortunately it is a definite product of it's environment and it reads exactly like a cyberpunk novel from the '80s. At the time I'm sure that added to the coolness and creativity of it, but reading it in the new millennium it feels clunky and the computing just gets comical at some points. Great writer, great story, could use a touch up.
Jim Jewell
Jun 21, 2008 Jim Jewell rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jim by: A.hageman
Wow. How did it, why did it, take me so long to come to this book.

That from which all cyberpunk evolved. A damn fine read, compelling, and one that hooked me from the moment the City's overmind strode into Stu's club in his mirrored shades.

My edition has an intro by Gibson that I saved until after I finished the story, and nothing I can say about the book can compare to Willy.

Just go read this book if you have any shred of urban sci-fi interest in ya.
Really neat take on the sentience and personalization of cities. Set nearly exclusively in San Francisco with brief excursions to Santa Cruz and Sacramento. Plays with ideas of humanity, sentience and agency. Engaging, but not the best read in the world, the plot seeming a little stale at places.
Carolyn Chriss
As the first pre -dystopian, cyber - punk, sci -fi novel, it's amazing. It's prescient tech predictions are amazing. It was written in 1980!! The story doesn't hold up but no matter. that's not why this is an important book. The man created a genre here. How often does THAT happen?
Justin Howe
Oddly prescient while also dated -- I read this trying to remember what it was like reading SF at 16 years of age. A simple straightforward SF read in the same vein as Matheson's I AM LEGEND, Leiber's OUR LADY OF DARKNESS, and Dick's MARTIAN TIME SLIP.
Stew Weiss
Often described as patient zero for cyberpunk, this tale of the City of San Francisco mustering itself into an ass kicking Travis Bickle type avatar is classic early 80's sci-fi punk rock in its purest form.
Duane Poncy
I love this book for its raw creativity. While it is as much urban fantasy as cyberpunk, it has been very influential in the cyberpunk genre, inspiring no less than William Gibson.
Matt Maxwell
More magical realism and less cyberpunk, but worth the trip all the same. The spirit of San Francisco takes hold of a fractured nightclub owner in a dark, near-future.
Dustin C
Jul 10, 2012 Dustin C marked it as to-read
Shelves: up-next
Brave New World, which also featured Virtual Light by William Gibson, City Come A Walkin by John Shirley, and Tea from an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan. [note]
Florin Pitea
For a review of this proto-cyberpunk novel, please visit my blog:
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Speaker Stelios
super cool pre-cyberpunk book. Very joyful and energetic. I just loved it!
very cool book - highly recommended if ya like the punk variety
Adrienne Foreman
Interesting first cyberpunk novel.
Jamie Treadway
Jamie Treadway marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Rachael is currently reading it
Jul 16, 2014
H Anthony
H Anthony marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
Christopher marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2014
Olivia Senecal
Olivia Senecal marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2014
Koen marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2014
Devin marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2014
Stephen marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 21 22 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Synners
  • The Hacker and the Ants
  • Involution Ocean
  • Dr. Adder
  • Metrophage
  • Hardwired (Hardwired, #1)
  • The Shockwave Rider
  • Fury
  • Ambient
  • Life During Wartime
  • Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology
John Shirley is the author of more than a dozen books, including Demons; Crawlers; City Come A-Walkin’; Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories; and the classic cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. He is the recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award and won the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black But...more
More about John Shirley...
BioShock: Rapture Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection Eclipse (A Song Called Youth, #1) Constantine Demons

Share This Book