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Hardwired (Hardwired #1)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  2,781 ratings  ·  90 reviews

Ex-fighter pilot Cowboy, "hardwired" via skull sockets directly to his lethal electronic hardware, teams up with Sarah, an equally cyborized gun-for-hire, to make a last stab at independence from the rapacious Orbitals.

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 15th 1991 by Tor Books (first published June 1986)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
Cyberpunkv2

Struggling to slap a rating on this novel really crystallized for me the problem with the current star rating system. It's not a bad book. It was moderately entertaining and had some excellent moments of action, story and character interaction.

It doesn't deserve the stigma that is associated with the 2 star rating.

However, I also didn't "like it" enough to bestow the 3rd star and thus proclaim to the world that all should read this. Tis a quandary.

Thus, I figured I could either round up to 3 st
...more
Manny
You know the bit in Species where Natasha Henstridge sticks her tongue down Anthony Guidera's throat and out through the back of his head? It won the 1996 MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss, admittedly against a fairly weak field - Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was a nominee. But all the same.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was: if you liked that scene, then you'll probably like Hardwired too. Just my little tip for the day.
Monk
More than anything else, Hardwired has shown me how bad the author wants to be William Gibson. To Walter Jon William's credit, who doesn't?

Hardwired takes place sometime in the more distant than not future. The Earth is not doing well. The oceans have rise, pollution is rampant, and the nations that are left standing have balkanized. From low earth orbit, the Orbitals, a group of spaceborne corporations, are calling the shots. Governments answer to them as they have the ulitmate in air superiori
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Chuck
71 out of 100 for 2010

Honest and for true, this is the best novel to come out of the Cyberpunk movement; every time I read it I pick up on more layers-the way Williams uses myth, the ethical dilemmas the characters face, the postmodernity of the way much of the novel "lives" in the cultural referents of film and other Southwestern novels . . . really an amazing novel.

The novel has two protagonists, Cowboy, a former fighter pilot, and Sarah, a street smart "hired gun" who's trying to save her bro
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J.j. Metsavana
Tubli tükk rasket küberpunki ning märulit sellest kuidas sõjajärgsel maal üritavad ex-lahingulendur ning ihukaitsja-tsikk üht orbiidil lösutavat suurkorporatsiooni "maha võtta". Rõhuasetus on seejuures mitte niivõrd "jäämurdmisel" vaid raske rauaga kolistamisel ehk läbi ajuimplantaatide igasuguste lennumasinate-tankide juhtimisel. Kõik see on kirja pandud Gibsonlikult lopsakas stiilis ehk autor ei hoia sõnade arvelt kokku kui vaja kirjeldada kuidas kroom läigib ja neoon särtsub. Maailm ise on ma ...more
Dev Null
This classic piece of cyberpunk's history is all style over substance.

That sounds like criticism, but its not. Its style _over_ substance, not style instead of substance. There's a plot here, and its interesting enough, but its not the point. The point is the flash of neon on chrome and the sound of alcohol-fueled turbines drowning out the chatter of miniguns. Its raw and elegant. I liked the story, but if you're still reading to find out what happens next instead of _how_ it happens, then like
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Jonny Amalgamated
This here is some god damn good cyberpunk.

I will be reading the rest.
Mouldy Squid
Dec 19, 2012 Mouldy Squid rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of science fiction, old-school cyberpunk, military sf
Shelves: science-fiction
I am not sure how I managed to miss this gem. Hardwired is hard-core, old school cyberpunk which means lots of action, some introspection and all kinds of inventive technologies. While parts of the novel feel dated (and they are) the Williams manages to get the reader to invest in both of his protagonists; the wily and lethal Sarah and the just as wily and lethal Cowboy. Full of victories and setbacks, the action never flags and the heroes suffer betrayals and duplicities from all sides, includi ...more
Jamie Fessenden
One of the best cyberpunk classics. For fans of the genre, there is very little new here -- it hits upon all of the tropes -- but the author is a great writer who manages to make his prose poetic without being obscure (as Gibson often is). The author's understanding of technology is thorough enough to paint a post-apocalyptic world with a fair amount of realistic detail, and without resorting to excessive techno-babble.

The real strength of the novel is the characters. Cowboy and Sarah are famil
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Chris
I have had this book on my shelf for ten years. I don't know why I waited to read this book.

I enjoy cyberpunk novels. This has all the ingredients of a cyberpunk novel. Evil Corporations, Implants, Cybernetics, Drugs and the Anti-Hero.

Williams has captured the internal struggle between the common man and "the man", aka the people with the power.

I found it hard to put the book down. The story starts off slow but then slams into to you with full force. The plot isn't so intricate that you get l
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Raja
Good old fashioned cyberpunk. Impressively, it doesn't feel dated, although that may partly be my due to my love for the genre. The two point of view characters are both reasonably fleshed-out and appealing for different reasons. The tech is delicious, as it should be, and it's a very plausible mix of vehicles, computing, and biochemical developments.

The setting -- an Earth dominated by and completely dependent on orbital corporations -- is unique and chillingly plausible, and the narrative fit
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Tomasz
Książka, którą przeczytałem o 15-20 lat za późno. Wtedy pewnie by dostała 4 gwiazdki. Niestety świat się zestarzał, pognał naprzód, nie zostawiając zbyt wiele miejsca dla tradycyjnego cyberpunka spod znaku Sterlinga, Shirleya czy Gibsona. Dziś "Okablowani" (bo taki tytuł w Polsce nosi powieść Williamsa) trącą solidnie myszą, podobnie jak "Cyberpunk 2020". Pozostaje tylko zadumać się nad fenomenem fantastyki bliskiej przyszłości, która starzeje się szybciej od space oper traktujących o odległych ...more
Andrew
Ah the joys of cyberpunk, it was where we were all heading or at least that was what the 90s thought we were. Walter Jon Williams along with William Gibson were to me (and I will admit I am no expert on the genre) the vanguard or the genre. Their books were quoted and referred to, they were interviewed and reviewed to death and their books always got their highest profiles - and yet I had never read them.

And so the story goes that as I was heading off to Uni and my reading was expanding to takin
...more
Serena
If you are looking for a novel like 'Elysium' where those living on Earth are regarded as less than citizens and have to be ruthless to survive and have a chance at 'Orbital' and having a better life - do yourself a favor and read this book. It's set after the 'Rock War', which Earth lost to the wealthy Orbitals. Who literally look down at Earth fromabove.

There is Cowboy - a mail carrier, with a shipping name of Pony Express. He flies across the skies litterally plugged into his job. Although h
...more
Alexandra
I don't think I've read a Walter Jon Williams novel before. I've read some of his short stories, in anthologies, and generally loved them. Pretty sure I got this novel from Better World Books because it was in the bargain pile and I thought it would be an interesting enough place to start reading his work. Plus, I suspect I was in a cyberpunk zone.

ETA: No, I am stupid. Of course I have read other Williams books... This is Not a Game, AND Deep State, and The Fourth Wall. I can't believe I forgot
...more
Scott
I have a deep personal weakness for 80s cyberpunk, and though I waited many years to finally read this one, it delivers all the chrome and lasers and screaming cybernetic air battles and corporate skullduggery my teenage self could have ever desired. A gritty froth of all that was best and brightest in the SF cliches of a quarter century ago.
Jordan
This is Cyberpunk from its 1980s prime period. The novel spins a web of impersonal megacorporate interests and espionage, with the two lead characters trying to make their way through the dangerous lines. The action, though, is sharp as razors and ice cold vodka. The cover on the edition I read was pretty terrible, though.
Deadhacker
I first read this book soon after it was published; I guess that was about 1987. Back then, I saw Hardwired as a bad imitation of Neuromancer because it contains more action & less dreamy observations about humanity. That's how I saw it back then. This time, my opinions are almost totally inverted. Hardwired is every bit as good as Neuromancer. Where it has more action, it also has more character, & oh man(!) do these characters have fascinating personal hang-ups! It has multi-leveled be ...more
Apa
You need a soundtrack for this one - luckily I had just the thing: http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Deser...

Welcome to the dark neon chrome cyberpunk future of 80's. This is high octane cinematic action with action movie protagonists in a classic story of sticking it to The Man. Williams revels in genre tropes before they became cliches. There are the mandatory compliments to Gibson's ideas but enough originality for the book to stand on its own.

It's been at least 20 years since I last read the b
...more
Nicolas
Câblé nous raconte, dans un futur éloigné d’une petite centaine d’années, les aventures de Cowboy, pilote d’hovercraft par interface neurale, et de Sarah, combattante des rues. Difficile d’en dire plus sans déflorer l’intrigue, alors autant ne pas essayer.
Câblé est pour moi l’un des plus typiques, et, je dirais même, des plus purs, romans de cyberpunk que j’aie pu lire. Loin du Samouraï Virtuel de Stephenson, qui évolue dans une réalité elle aussi virtuelle, et des différentes aventures de Gibs
...more
Luke
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eija
Kirja ei selvemmin voisi olla cyberpunkia. Maailma on ankea ja kylmä paikka. Ankeus on hyvin kuvattu ja sen pystyy hyvin aistimaan, kun kirjaa lukee. Ihmiskehoja muokataan liukuhihnalla, huumeiden käyttö on arkipäivää ja päivän tappoluvuista lyödään vetoa. Tarinan pohjana on se, että edellisen sodan jäljiltä yhteiskunta on jakautunut kahtia. Sodan voittanut osapuoli asuu taivaassa kiertoradalla ja tämä eliitti hallitsee ja manipuloi markkinoita. Sodan hävinnyt osapuoli asuu rappeutuneen Maan kam ...more
Jerico
If I was still 15, this book would have 11 stars.

This is old school, OG cyberpunk. It's got steel guitars, hovering tanks, Orbital colonies dropping asteroids on the old decaying governments of Earth, you name a cyberpunk cliche, this kills it and did it before it was a cliche. Gibson's the literary intellectual of 80s SF, Sterling it's molotov wielding genius, and Walter Jon Williams is its pure genius.

He's also another of those guys who isn't quite as famous as he should be, in genre and out.
...more
Ayelmar
Another excellent book by Walter Jon Williams!
Like "Angel Station," I'd read this many, many years ago (probably the summer before I started college), and I'd managed to forget almost everything about the plot, characters...everything except the title and a couple of vague impressions, so this was like a new book to me!
The "future" as presented in this story, which was written in the latter half of the Reagan administration, may seem at the same time as dated as the Soviet Union -- and as fresh
...more
Jason
I bought this novel when it first came out in 1986--the apex of the cyberpunk movement. I wanted to see what this sub-genre was all about & I found it to be as exciting as the key-tar was to New Wave Music. One reviewer summed it up as complete "style over substance" & I think this hits the nail on the head.

The characters were one dimensional & I was incredibly bored with the book. So bored in fact it just solidified my whole hatred for the cyberpunk movement--the "too cool for sci-f
...more
Drmorton
This is a Fun Action oriented Cyberpunk sci-fi novel. Williams novels are often more interesting for the environments then the characters who are often cliche. This book was engaging and easy to get into, entertaining pulp science fiction.
Micke Nimell
Self-confident and unembarrassed cyberpunk. A little weak in the middle but full of action and moxie like an 80's action movie. The book's total lack of irony is both admirable and what makes it a bit too campy.

3.8/5
Minea
Tää olis varmaan englanniksi luettuna ansainnut kolmannenkin tähden. Kammottava käännös teki lukukokemuksesta jokseenkin tuskaisen ja muistutti liikaa oppilaiden tekstejä :D
Roger
Back when cyberpunk first arrived on the literary scene, I ravenously read any book I could find of this exciting new genre. "Hardwired" was among the most enjoyable of the cyberpunk books I have read.

Cyberpunk sometimes has a short shelf life. Technological advancements can render cyberpunk outdated. Hopefully, "Hardwired" will hold its own upon re-reading. I have not read "Solip:System" the novelette that links "Hardwired" to its full length sequel (set 100 years after), "Voice of the Whirlwi
...more
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48960
Walter Jon Williams has published twenty novels and short fiction collections. Most are science fiction or fantasy -Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, Aristoi, Metropolitan, City on Fire to name just a few - a few are historical adventures, and the most recent, The Rift, is a disaster novel in which "I just basically pound a part of the planet down to bedrock." And that's just the opening chapters ...more
More about Walter Jon Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Hardwired (2 books)
  • Voice of the Whirlwind (Hardwired, #2)
Destiny's Way (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #14) Ylesia (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #14.5) This Is Not a Game (Dagmar, #1) The Praxis (Dread Empire's Fall, #1) The Rift

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