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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  1,361 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
In Synners, the line between technology and humanity is hopelessly slim. A constant stream of new technology spawns crime before it hits the streets; the human mind and the external landscape have fused to the point where any encounter with "reality" is incidental.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 2nd 2001 by Thunder's Mouth Press (first published 1991)
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53rd out of 251 books — 950 voters
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Community Reviews

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Oct 20, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi

Is it all pretty much a mess wrapped up with mirror shades and spinal shunts, hacking and guns?

NOT this one!

Well, it was pretty much a mess of characters and mediots for more than half the novel and I'll be honest, I was rather mystified and wondering where the novel was going or whether it WAS going anywhere. It felt like a random number generator approach to novelization. We had a bunch of friends all interconnected on the media-train in all different positions or outside of the co
Jul 31, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Slow and difficult to start this is an incredibly complex and clever book that really pays off in the end.

For the first 30% I was mostly baffled, the next 30% was slow but interesting, and the last 40% was just pure OH GOOD GOD THIS IS BATSHIT GENIUS. Hard to believe that this was written 27 years ago about imagined technology rather than as contemporary social commentary because it's SO relevant. It's worth the investment; give it to your brain.
Sylvia Kelso
Jan 07, 2013 Sylvia Kelso rated it it was amazing
Took me three times through to be fairly sure I had all there was in this book, when I first read it back in the early 90s. It's dense. It's cryptic. Its narrative cuts are very, very sharp. It's got its own slang and a heap of expert-IT-argot and it bristles with wicked lines. "If you can't eat it or fuck it and it can't dance, throw it away." - "Ninety percent of life is being there, and the other ten percent is being there on time." And the key-motif, the one the whole book's about: "Change ...more
Viv JM
DNF @ 116 pages

I gave this a shot but can't muster any enthusiasm to continue. I have no idea what is going on (but nothing about it has inspired me to persevere to discover) there are too many characters to keep track of, and I am finding the writing style jarring. I don't think cyberpunk is my thing.
This was the pick of the month for the #LadyVaults on #MagicalSpacePussycats and so, naturally, I read it. It was my first foray into Cyberpunk, and it was MiNdBeNdInG! This was written during the early stage of the web, and yet it is jammed full of new ideas, and ideas which really have happened. A story filled with hackers and VR, simulations and big bad corporations...definitely a little scary when compared to our world, but also very imaginative!

One element which I did like about this was th
Sep 01, 2011 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011

I'd kinda forgotten how much I love good cyberpunk until I read this. Turns out I really really like it.

Interestingly, in many ways this feels like a prequel to much of the cyberpunk I've read. The main contention is the invention of putting sockets into people's heads to allow them to experience and manipulate the datelines (read: internet) more directly... the result of which, or something similar, is what Gibson and Scott and their friends are basically examining. So from a 'getting started'
Oct 17, 2016 MichaelK rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not get very far with this one. I found Cadigan's writing extremely irritating. I felt like she was trying too hard to be cool, down with the kids. The story is about tattooed druggie hackers who listen to rock music and go against a big corporate record label, or something.

At the start of chapter 2, one character (who is of course very cool) is in court, wondering whether she will be found guilty of anything and charged. The speculation concludes with:

'Fuck it, what difference did one m
Jan 06, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sf
What if the tech revolution, instead of being made by start-up and college geeks, was driven by MTV-era creatives? That's essentially Cadigan's premise in this cyberpunk classic. It's impossible, obviously, not to read this 1991 novel with 2014 eyes, but I suspect that simply enriched the experience (particularly as I find cyberpunk mostly irritating as a rule). It's why a lot of this review will focus on the future-vision of Cadigan.

Cadigan got some things spot on - the concept not only of buil
I have often joked at work that I can't wait for the day when I can just plug in and let my company use my brain-power while I entertain myself with a book. It's a fun thought, but Synners explores what that might really be like. What if we could get information out of our heads as easily as thinking? What if we could experience things virtually by inputting sensory information directly into our brains? For Gina, Gabe, and Visual Mark the invention of "sockets" in conjunction with brain mapping ...more
Apr 30, 2012 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, statunitensi
Cosa ti sembra questa –una finestra aperta o una ferita aperta?

Sarebbe troppo scontato partire dalle forti analogie di questo romanzo con il più celebre Neuromante, fosse solo perché di entrambi non si capisce niente. Eppure ti piace. Molto. Forse proprio perché non ci capisci niente.
In realtà Sintetizzatori umani pare molto più ricco e complesso del romanzo simbolo del cyberpunk, pur conoscendo, tuttavia, cadute di tono e uno stile comunque più grezzo di quello di Gibson. La differenza tra i du
In many ways this book simply reinforced my opinion that I don't really like "cyberpunk". Apparently another of the leading beacons of the sub-genre and another that I have broadly not liked.

The story contains an interesting premise and explores what might happen (and go wrong) when the brain and cyberspace become too closely connected. But there were several things about the way this was executed that I didn't like.

For one thing, there was a large number of (not particularly memorable) characte
I really wanted to like this book because I enjoy cyberpunk-ish stories. The novel has innovative elements, my favourite being Sam's "potato" powered computer!

I suspect that when it was published most people were unaware that computers could have viruses. (Given that I had an Amiga computer from 1989, I was well aware that viruses could and would infect a disk whenever they could - if only the characters in this story could have slid the write-protect tab to prevent infection).

Overall, I had two
Jun 05, 2016 Haley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Haley by: puppy
Synners is a whirlwind of stream of consciousness sensory overload and 90s aspirational hacker slang. What it loses to inscrutability it more than makes up for in atmosphere. I'm a sucker for early cyberpunk and am certainly guilty of giddily tweeting out passages about memes or Never Going Off-line but it's okay because this book doesn't take itself too seriously.
In addition to being a fast-paced proto-vaporwave romp, Synners does address some interesting themes about AI, consciousness, and hum
Jun 09, 2016 Brook rated it liked it
I wanted to love this, but I found it pretty dense and hard to read. I couldn't really dig into any of the characters, and kinda disliked everyone but Sam, who sadly didn't feature enough in it. Everything got super philosophical and WEBNETLIFEHAXOR to be a cohesive narrative. I would 100% go reread trouble and her friends than read this. It's better than a lot of cyberpunk, but I really wish this'd been a little less complex. Perhaps it's me, but I had a super hard time keeping up with who was ...more
Sep 01, 2014 intrepideddie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cyberpunk
I love a good cyberpunk novel and "Synners" tries hard, but falls short. The problem is, the author spends all her time mimicking other cyberpunk novels rather than doing her own thing. At times it felt like I was reading bad fan fiction for another author.

Another nit to pick was the author's liberal use of references to pop culture from the 80s -- there were way too many 80s colloquialisms, and this really ruined the illusion of the story taking place in a future setting.

I'm a bit surprised tha
Dec 27, 2012 Gary rated it it was ok
I was disappointed because I've found Pat Cadigan's stories imaginative and enjoyable. This is supposed to be a classic and when it came out way back when it was probably futuristic and 'far out' but reading it today it is rambling and often incoherent. I'm afraid it is dated and somewhat tedious to my eyes that are accustomed to cutting edge technology and a tighter plot style. I can't recommend you buy it but if a friend has a copy borrow it and decide for yourself.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I've been curious about this ever since someone, I don't remember who, mentioned Cadigan's thoughts on pornography in conjunction with this book. I don't remember if this interview was specifically cited or linked, but you can read them there.
Cory Brandley
Nov 05, 2015 Cory Brandley rated it really liked it
My biggest problem was that the book didn't flow as smoothly or present as strong of a storyline as I would have liked. Having said that, it was still a very interesting take on the future of technology and artificial intelligence and I'm glad I stuck to it and finished the book
Aug 29, 2011 Fran rated it really liked it
Any cyberpunk library collection needs to include Pat Cadigan's Synners. And a potato clock.
SJ Higbee
Nov 22, 2016 SJ Higbee rated it it was amazing
This cyberpunk winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award takes a while to get going as the group of disparate characters are established amongst a tech-heavy world in a near-future where everyone is increasingly reliant on their technology. Given that this was written and published back in 1992, before many of our current technological gismos were in current use, Cadigan’s world is eerily prescient. I felt very at home with much of her near-future predictions, which is a tad worrying when considering ...more
Nov 24, 2016 Catherine rated it it was amazing
I bounced off this book twice before I really got into it and even then, it took me a while to finish. It's genius, and a mess and incredibly ground-breaking and seriously, should be considered a science fiction classic and every damn list of great genre novels. Question any list of "great/classic SF" that doesn't include this book - the compiler doesn't know what they're talking about. I had the privilege of being on a cyberpunk panel with Pat Cadigan at a recent World Con and she mentioned ...more
Daniel Beck
Sep 21, 2016 Daniel Beck rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, but it took a long time for me get hooked on the characters and plot enough for me to read a whole chapter in a sitting (though not the setting, which was engaging from the start). Early in the book, you're introduced to a lot of detail and characters and it's hard to know what's world-building texture and what's something significant that you need to hold on to. If you're willing to stick with it, you'll be rewarded, but there's a bit too much, too soon in Synners.
Allan Dyen-Shapiro
Aug 02, 2016 Allan Dyen-Shapiro rated it it was amazing
As much as I enjoy cyberpunk, I had never read this, one of the classics of the field; I had only read more recent stuff from Cadigan. And in that, she was much more conventional, a single protagonist, well-developed character fiction, to go with the ideas. Here, what she achieves is a completely immersive experience. Much like William Gibson in the same period, Cadigan chooses third person, limited, multiple POV, with lots and lots of characters given POV time, none more central than the ...more
Dec 29, 2015 Jani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Synners is a wonderfully ambitious novel that reinvented the young yet already torpid genre of cyberpunk. While the ideas about the future of computer use and hacking have not quite come through, the characters and mostly engaging writing keep the novel readable twenty odd years after its release.

Cadigan's follows a group of people whose lives are tied to computers and computer-based entertainment industry in future California. Whether corporate lackeys, visionaries, or hackers the characters'
Sep 19, 2016 Macha added it
3 and a half stars
May 28, 2015 Alis added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 90s kids, cyberpunk fans, Secret World players who're confused about John
Shelves: sci-fi, read-2015
I really wish I'd read this book fifteen-plus years ago, back when I was a teenager and trying to convinced myself I was "into" cyberpunk.

Synners is startlingly modern in a lot of ways, and displays a startlingly diverse cast (no all-white all-straight all-male LA on show here, thank gods, and who caught the casual, passing reference to same-sex marriage?). The book's technology is also prescient, predicting everything from ubiquitous in-car GPS to internet memes to debates around hyper-tailored
Apr 17, 2016 Louis rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It can take a bit to get in to because you're introduced to a buttload of new characters and in different contexts so it's not entirely clear who the protagonists are at first but all those different plot thread interweave and come together in a way that's very satisfying. It also help the book's world feel more vast as you do see it from the perspectives of different social classes and positions.
Some of the technology does feel dated but a lot of it feels quite cont
Nov 24, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok
I read this book because I heard Pat Cadigan was a good author, and in the era in which it was published, the only female member of the seminal Cyberpunk "Brat Pack" (which included Bruce Sterling, Willian Gibson, John Shirley, and a few others.) The novel was so incredibly dense, however, that I finished it never understanding what the plot or conflict was.

What the author DID catch, and did well and presciently way back when, is the image overload of our current culture where impecably fashione
Joseph Hirsch
Aug 24, 2016 Joseph Hirsch rated it did not like it
I've read my fair share of cyberpunk. Actually, I know this is kind of a heresy, but I read Cadigan before I read Sterling or Gibson. And I found her shorter works like "Dervish is Digital" to be gratifying additions to the growing cyberpunk canon.

I started "Synners" with the highest of hopes, but I could just not find an entry point to this novel. There is a ton of what feels like unnecessary background characterization and rambling romantic subplots, and while I know the whole point of cyberpu
Jul 30, 2008 Chloe rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in dystopian worlds and rock and roll
This is a fun read. It seems better structured and more thought out than the previous books of Cadigan's that I've read. This is in every way a "typical" cyberpunk book: standard setting- Los Angeles after its crumbled from the Big One, standard characters- misfit band of hackers against a snooty corporate middleman who unwittingly unleashes new technology into the world with unforeseen consequences. That in no way denigrates the appeal of this novel, formulas work for a reason.

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The Sword and Laser: Synners by Pat Cadigan 7 37 Jun 29, 2013 04:46AM  
SF Masterworks Group: Synners, by Pat Cadigan 1 3 May 31, 2013 11:55AM  
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Pat Cadigan is an American-born science fiction author, who broke through as a major writer as part of the cyberpunk movement. Her early novels and stories all shared a common theme, exploring the relationship between the human mind and technology.

Her first novel, Mindplayers, introduced what became a common theme to all her works. Her stories blurred the line between reality and perception by mak
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