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Hardwired (Hardwired #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,103 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Hardwired features high-tech thrills and unforgettable heroes in the great tradition of William Gibson's Neuromancer. According to Locus, Hardwired is Walter Jon Williams's "best book to date".

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 inde
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Night Shade Books (first published June 1986)
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Neuromancer by William GibsonSnow Crash by Neal StephensonThe Diamond Age by Neal StephensonDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickAltered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Best of Cyberpunk
29th out of 220 books — 909 voters
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Best cyberpunk books
16th out of 125 books — 317 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Sep 23, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
I don't know why I never got around to reading this back when I used to see it all the time in the bookstores, even knowing that I was such a cyberpunk fan and the whole field was blowing up left and right. Maybe it was all the hardware and the focus on guns and metal that turned me off. I didn't really care about this kind of "punk" so much as I cared for the "cyber".

Granted, back in those days, I might have picked it up, read the blurb, maybe a few random dozen pages, and concluded that it was
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.
Jan 12, 2009 Monk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 08, 2010 Chuck rated it it was amazing
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
J.j. Metsavana
Jun 03, 2015 J.j. Metsavana rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 21, 2011 Dev Null rated it really liked it
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
Mouldy Squid
Dec 19, 2012 Mouldy Squid rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 04, 2015 Lee rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Just ya regular action packed gun toting scifi. Not much to write about, other than hits what it needs too and keeps you interested. Pulp scifi really. I will probably continue with the series.
Nov 12, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
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.
Jonny Amalgamated
Apr 13, 2015 Jonny Amalgamated rated it it was amazing
This here is some god damn good cyberpunk.

I will be reading the rest.
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
Jamie Fessenden
Dec 18, 2011 Jamie Fessenden rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, cyberpunk
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
Jul 26, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, cyber-punk
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
Apr 24, 2013 Raja rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Joshua Sorkin
Dec 17, 2015 Joshua Sorkin rated it really liked it
Seriously, what is it with these visionary sci-fi novels and their terrible third acts?

This book is amazing for the most part. It is a vivid depiction of a high-speed, high-tech society that is continuously falling apart at the seams. It is studded with cheeky in-universe headlines and advertisements that give it a kind of gonzo atmosphere, projecting the reader into the work by demanding that you interface directly with the same products that the characters do. There are many clever innovations
Apr 30, 2014 Tomasz rated it liked it
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
Aug 11, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
-Ideas y escenas que no terminan de casar con fluidez desde la perspectiva global del libro.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En unos Estados Unidos de América futuristas, en las que el verdadero control político y social recae en las corporaciones con sede en la órbita terrestre, Cowboy es un antiguo piloto de combate que debió redirigir su vida profesional hacia el pilotaje de blindados, mediante conexiones neuronales a la máquina, unos vehículos que normalmente se usan para activida
Sep 21, 2014 Serena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2014 Alexandra rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
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
Jan 25, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cyberpunk when it was in vogue. But still worth the read today, since it examines, in science fiction calling, the ramifications of early space travel on social economic structures, in the gritty realism of true vintage cyberpunk. The man-machine interfaced fighter jets and 'panzer' hovercrafts battles are pretty cool too.

PS Many have tried to compare Williams to Gibson. So I must mention, IMHO, that Williams , in the long run, deserves as much accolades as Gibson. Hardwired (and sequels), timel
Apr 18, 2014 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ĝan Starling
Jan 19, 2016 Ĝan Starling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: volas-traduki
Read this in softcover when it came out, then again some years later, and again recently as an audiobook. I liked it very well. I had paid to begin translating it into Esperanto. But, alas, I got behind and my two-year contract ran out before I was finished. Still, I've preserved those chapters I had got translated, and at some point I'll try and renew. To my mind, Williams is right up there with Gibson, Stephenson in his mastery of this genre. I also liked several others of his, more in the reg ...more
Jul 05, 2015 Deadhacker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2014 Apa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, cyberpunk
You need a soundtrack for this one - luckily I had just the thing:

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
Javier Muñoz
Apr 12, 2016 Javier Muñoz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-sci-fi
hardwired es uno de los primeros ejemplos que salen a la hora de hablar de libros de temática cyberpunk, junto con neuromante de william gibson y snow crash de neal stephenson, tenía grandes espectativas antes de empezar a leerlo y no me ha defraudado.

en el cyberpunk la ambientación lo es todo, se podría decir que en este tipo de literatura el estilo siempre debe de estar por encima de la sustancia, sin descuidar las tramas, que han de ser complejas e interensantes, pero lo importante es la form
Glen Engel-Cox
This is another Williams novel that owes something to Zelazny--this time to the action/adventure masterpiece, "Damnation Alley." (I feel safe in making this assumption, considering that part of the inscription reads, "And special thanks to Roger Zelazny, who let me play in his Alley.") And the first section of the novel confirms the inscription. Originally called "Panzerboy" (it appeared in Asimov's in the April 1986 issue), this is Cyberpunk Alley and Williams treads the line between both style ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Luke rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 18, 2012 Eija rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Hardwired (2 books)
  • Voice of the Whirlwind (Hardwired, #2)

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