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The Shockwave Rider

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  3,215 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
One man has made it his mission to liberate the mental prisoners. to restore their freedom in a world run mad.

Nickie Halflinger, the only person to escape from Tarnover- where they raise hyper-intelligent children to maintain the political dominance of the USA in the 21st century – is on the run, dodging from loophole to crevice to crack in the computerised data-net that b
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Del Rey (first published 1975)
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Erik Angle Neither of the works mentioned use the term "cyberpunk". That word was coined by Bruce Bethke when he was looking for a title for a short story he was…moreNeither of the works mentioned use the term "cyberpunk". That word was coined by Bruce Bethke when he was looking for a title for a short story he was writing. That story, "Cyberpunk", was eventually published in 1983, a year prior to "Neuromancer". A critic later applied the term to several like-minded authors (Gibson, Sterling, et al), and the (sub-)genre was born.(less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-sf, biopunk
TSR is not a plot book, and it is also not a character book, but it IS an idea book. Brunner was ahead of the curve (or the shockwave) on so many things, and managed to write about the modern Internet in 1975, anticipating terms like 'bandwidth' and 'computer worm'. This is great social SF.
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
This book starts out a little rocky and disjointed (possibly an intentional style by the author to match with the subject material), then pulls together and ultimately soars by the last third. Written in 1975, much of the technology forecast in this book is amazingly prescient, especially that relating to the Internet ("datanet"). I'm not usually a fan of the elliptical writing and shallow characterization typical of older sci-fi, and I'm not a huge fan of puns (wordplay is used liberally throug ...more

Three and a half stars, rounded up.

This is an unusual book, one without a plot exactly, and which ends with a question for the reader rather than an actual conclusion. But considering that it was published in 1975, it felt less outdated in its prediction of a wired future than one would have thought when I read it in 2004 or thereabouts.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, 1paper, 2fiction
I think the futuristic lingo is a little over done - makes it a bit more difficult to read than it has to be - he is painting a very scary look at a future that is now here in very many ways. This is pretty remarkable when the main thrust is a computerized society that was only beginning in 1975 & the Internet was a twinkling in ARPANet's juvenile eye. Well worth reading.
A proto-cyberpunk text by Brunner that I didn’t warm to that much but fairs alright in hindsight(and as a piece with quartet, sometimes refered to as his "American Quartet".), the images aren't as vivid and the plot is more opaque. Some interesting moments with an ending somewhat echoing Bester’s Tiger! Tiger! (Fine, Stars my Destination, blah!) Interesting book (especially the thoughts on identity which seem very prophetic for the identity theft age) some elements seem to have been better handl ...more
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1975 yılında yazılmış olan Şok Dalgası Süvarisi, yazıldığı döneme göre çok orijinal bir konuya sahip ve yazarın uzağı çok iyi öngördüğünü göstermekte.

Gelecekte devletler güvenliklerini ve üstünlüklerini sağlamak için genetik mühendislikten ve bilgisayarlardan yararlanarak yeni bir toplum düzeni yaratmak istiyorlar. Tüm insanlar tek bir veri ağına bağlanmış durumda, gelecek veya herhangi bir konu ile ilgili tahminler yapılırken tüm insanlardan alınan veriler ile gerçek değerlere ulaşılmaya çalışı
Brian Clegg
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've recently re-read one of my favourite SF novels from the 1970s, John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider, and it has more than lived up to expectations.

Okay, like any book using future technology it gets some things wrong. Its early 21st century tech is mostly too advanced (but then they still use tapes to store information). However, this book absolutely sizzles with ideas, some taken from Alvin Toffler's far effective readable futurology book, Future Shock.

Just one example - the protagonist is i
Tony Daniel
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Prescient proto-cyberpunk classic. Highly influenced by Alvin Toffler's Futureshock, down to having a Toffler-like philosopher quoted in the book and a Toffler blurb on the back. Used the idea of the computer worm and virus (called a phage in the book) for maybe the first time in sci-fi. Eventually devolves into a 70s aging hippie luddite critique of of technological advancement, completely failing to foresee the individual, antitotalitarian empowerment the information revolution brought about. ...more
S. Barker
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Estoy generosa: a lo mejor no se merece las 5 pero ¡qué coño!, me lo he pasado estupendamente leyéndolo y ya está.

Mi pequeña cabecita alcanza a formular reflexiones pero no le da para desarrollarlas del todo; leyendo este libro me ha dado por preguntarme cómo es posible que alguien en los 70 fuera capaz de percibir la trampa y las falsas religiones que surgirían a partir del desarrollo de los ordenadores, pero no fuera más allá de imaginar un aparato que sería aún más engañoso: el smartphone.

Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Shockwave Rider is a book before its time, published in 1975, the book provides a vision for the future of computer networks today. The term 'Web' was used in this book years before the Web as we know it emerged. A riveting story of freeman vs Big Brother society which contains the classic values of privacy still being debated vigorously today. Computer worms and self replicating code - all the cyber components.

The increasing rate of change has sent most Americans into mental distress. Every
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great book about hacking, megacorps, evil government, and revolution through information... from 1975. It will sound terribly dated and so suprisingly damn relevant - trust me.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970s, sci-fi
The Shockwave Rider is considered a classic in the sci-fi genre. It's a story full of ideas, many before it's time.

Plot Summary
Nickie Halflinger has lived many "lives." He was raised alongside other extremely intelligent children at Tarnover. Instead of living the life they intended for him, in which he is supposed to help control the populace, he escapes, and is constantly changing his identity. Much of his success is because he can "hack" into the data-net and infiltrate it with "worms" to co
The Shockwave Rider is the final installment in John Brunner's Club of Rome Quartet, and in many ways the most prescient of the lot. Previously, Stand on Zanzibar drew from Paul Ehrlich to deal with over-population, The Sheep Look Up covered Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and ecological breakdown, and (less successfully) The Jagged Orbit covered racial tensions and the medicalisation of everyday life by 'Big Pharma.' The Shockwave Rider imagines a future that must have seemed a little... if no ...more
Micah Horton hallett
Fun and frolicsome cyberpunk with an optimistic edge. Solidly written, with characters that grow on you even if they aren't immediately engaging. The Shockwave rider was thought provoking, currently terrifyingly relevant, and with a page count that doesn't outlive the narrative. Good stuff.
Daniel Hollington
May 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just trash, ain't it
I think I just don't like "philosophical novels."

People laud "The Shockwave Rider" for predicting stuff like the Internet. Well, it was written in '75, and communications networks were out there. Brunner's continental network is more like Ma Bell than the World Wide Web. Nothing really caught me as a gee-whiz prediction.

The ethos of the story, on the other hand, is like a hippie version of Atlas Shrugged. Again, this was written in the Seventies, in the immediate aftermath of Watergate and Vietn
John Defrog
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I’ve never read John Brunner before, and I confess the main motivation for starting here is the fact that this 1975 novel – in which Nickie Haflinger, an escapee from the mysterious Tarnover facility, uses a stolen code to hack computers and forge new IDs for himself to evade capture – is generally cited as an ancestor of the cyberpunk genre because it was one of the first SF novels to feature computer networks and hacking as a central concept. Obviously it’s hard to read this without comparing ...more
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No sé si os acordáis de las pelis de hackers. Hubo una época, por los 80 y 90, en la que estaban de moda. Lo que ocurría con aquellas películas es que, dado que ver a un tío escribiendo código ante una pantalla era algo bastante aburrido, convertían el asunto en algo mucho más épico. Dibujitos de colores, etc... El jinete de la onda del shock no cae del todo en esos clichés porque es un poco más antiguo, porque en cierto modo es PRECURSOR de toda esa movida, pero eso no quita que aquí de vez en ...more
Colin MacDonald
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Re-read on 2016-07-10.

For a book written 40+ years ago (1975), this holds up surprisingly well. It doesn't say precisely when it's set, but it's around now - after 2010 and before 2025. It gets a bunch of stuff wrong, but it's eerily on-target in a lot of ways. It was written when the Internet was still just a research project, but envisions it pretty well as we know it - its role in our lives, if not the technical details. One of the big themes is government surveillance of internet traffic. Th
Ralph McEwen
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
The book written in 1975 uses technological terms (IE: bandwidth) with a foresight unlike any before it. It's a up dated version of other "Big Brother" type stories but very readable.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

En av grundpelarna i genren är generellt teknologi och dess effekter på samhällen och människorna i dem, något som gäller för Heinlein och Asimov lika mycket som för de som skriver idag. Det är nog en av orsakerna till att jag håller genren så högt som jag gör, ständigt relevant. Men sällan har det nog varit så träffande som när man talar om Cyberpunk och de som lade grunderna för den. John Brunner skrev en ofantligt massa och bland annat två proto-cyberpunk romaner, "Stand on Zanzibar" och den
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 1975. Since then, many of the things that he has predicted have come true. Most commentators have focused on his predictions about the net and what is now being known as 'big data'.

But I think his predictions run deeper than that. In the troubled times that we live in, it is becoming clear that much of what happens is manipulated by a group of oligarchs who have bought and control the media, as well as the politicians.

John Brunner's book is almost an essay on the con
Pedro Enguita
En términos generales, debo decir que no me ha convencido. De John Brunner leí Todos sobre Zanzíbar y me encantó. En este caso, sin embargo, la obra tiene muchos "peros".

Hay que decir que empieza bien. La ambientación es excelente y la calidad literaria notable. Me resultó muy grato ver cómo Brunner acertaba en cómo sería la red... En 1975.

Sin embargo, en seguida empiezan los problemas. Los diálogos son densos, farragosos y -en ocasiones- parecen más los de un escritor novel que los de un autor
Kat La russe
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Overall I really liked this book. Written in the 70's, it's amazing how relevant it is today. I also enjoyed tracing the roots of cyberpunk all through this particular take on the 21st century.

Of course, some things jar - (view spoiler)
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, cyberpunk
43 years ago, foresaw the web, viruses, cyber-surveillance, cellphones and FOMO: "In this age of unprecedented information flow, people are haunted by the belief that they're actually ignorant...because there's literally too much to be known....[and because] data exists that we're not allowed to get at."
Also "jehad in the Yemen", the Great Bay Quake and the ensuing off-the-grid hippie communes.
Oh, and a White House controlled by organized crime: "the syndicate's first attempt at the presidency w
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
No plot to speak of and, therefore, an unsatisfying progression and resolution of events. However, the ideas the author is wrestling w/ in this work are still relevant, probably even moreso than at the time of writing. Up for discussion are consumerism and invasions of privacy taken to their extremes and the damage operating in such a context can levy on people. I'd argue that the author is not far off in describing what we're living in 2018, but with the caveat that his idealism in meting out j ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Egdares Futch
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As many reviewers have mentioned, it is a book that foreshadows the current state of affairs in which corporations know more about you than yourself. You will find many things where you say "this is exactly what happens today!" but it is not an easy read, because of the authors style, completely non-linear. A complete sci-fi classic. ...more
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Considering this was written in 1975, Brunner's knack for prescient writing predicts the Internet, smartphones, and many of the Computing tools we now take for granted. Not much in the way of a plot, and at times, disjointed, but nonetheless awesome.
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do like Brunner and I think he's an excellent storyteller. I'm just not a huge fan of dystopian fiction.
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John Brunner was born in Preston Crowmarsh, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire, and went to school at St Andrew's Prep School, Pangbourne, then to Cheltenham College. He wrote his first novel, Galactic Storm, at 17, and published it under the pen-name Gill Hunt, but he did not start writing full-time until 1958. He served as an officer in the Royal Air Force from 1953 to 1955, and married Marjorie Ro ...more
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“There are two kinds of fools. One says, "This is old, and therefore good." And one says, " This is new, and therefore better.” 70 likes
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