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Hardwired (Hardwired #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,642 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
In Walter Jon Williams' classic cyberpunk novel, the remnants of a war-ravaged America endure in scattered, heavily armed colonies, while the wealthy Orbital Corporations now control the world. Cowboy, an ex-fighter pilot who has become "hardwired" via skull sockets directly to his lethal electronic hardware, is now a panzerboy, a hi-tech smuggler riding armored hovertanks ...more
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Published July 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published June 1986)
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(showing 1-30)
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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
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.
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mouldy Squid
Dec 03, 2012 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
J.j. Metsavana
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jonny Illuminati
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
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jamie Fessenden
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Very definitely a cyberpunk novel, right down to the Gibson-esque "multiple narrators telling interweaving stories."

There's some good action here, and the premise is solid, but it doesn't stand tremendously well on its own as a novel. I have not read the two sequels, and they may improve on the milieu, but independently, the book sets up a bunch of threads that are left dangling, and the conflict is resolved via a completely ridiculous deus ex machina that is only hinted it in one sentence elsew
Mar 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Desiree Sotomayor
Be still my mirror-shaded cybernetic heart! ...ok, I get why a lot of reviewers are saying this guy is basically a William Gibson wannabe. In the words of my boyfriend, this is a "bad movie made into a book." But overall, the action scenes were fun to read and I liked the stylistic writing...admittedly, it was a little predictable, but the cheesiness won me over. Turn on your synthesizer music, pop your polyester collar and enjoy.
Apr 02, 2014 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.
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still a classic late '80s favorite of mine. A fun story, which happens to include a perceptive foretelling of tech we now have in-hand and anticipate in our near future, and some predicted glimpses into how society has already adopted new norms to that tech. Go Go Google Glass, anyone?
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old favorite. A sentinel book in cyberpunk with some great western flavor. Some of the character through lines aren't wholly satisfying but the vibe and flavor of the book makes it worth a read.
I don't remember a lot about this book, but I do have a very vivid picture of the way Sarah assassinates the guy in the first few chapters.
Hologram Dystopia
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vote: 8,5
Read more reviews at Fragments of a Hologram Dystopia

The Earth is a dystopian place, where people struggle to survive while the Orbitals - the richest people, the major companies, those who sit next to God - live in their orbiting platforms. Years ago the Orbitals bombed the Earth during a war destroying the major cities and ensuring the planet’s submission. What were once smaller towns have taken bigger roles, and people still live there: dirtgirls and mudboys, people stuck on Earth wh
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've been reading a lot lately, and to be honest a lot of it has been dross. This isn't. It's pure 100% quality. In fact, I'm gutted that I have finished; it's the sort of book you want to go on forever, immersing you in a well written, coherent world. A must read, if you are into science fiction.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: syfy
Decent but a bit long to be great..
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Malcolm Little
Jan 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sf-gems
I am an avid fan of cyberpunk, so it amazes me how I managed to miss this treat of a novel for so many years. I had only heard of Walter Jon Williams in passing, an afterthought next to the titans of Gibson, Stephenson and Sterling. As I am now myself an author of little repute, the thought of arguing merit based on popularity irks me more now than it ever has. So I grabbed myself an eBook copy (courtesy a Kobo sale) and leaned back in my chair. I expected a rollicking scifi tale – expectations ...more
Javier Muñoz
Jan 27, 2016 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
Joshua Sorkin
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2014 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
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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
More about Walter Jon Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Hardwired (2 books)
  • Voice of the Whirlwind (Hardwired, #2)

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