Reading List: 60 Sci-Fi Books On Virtual Reality

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Reading List: 60 Sci-Fi Books On Virtual Reality
December 26, 2016

In Alphabetical Order

 

1.Accelerando (Singularity) by Charles Stross

“It is the era of the posthuman. Artificial intelligences have surpassed the limits of human intellect. Biotechnological beings have rendered people all but extinct. Molecular nanotechnology runs rampant, replicating and reprogramming at will. Contact with extraterrestrial life grows more imminent with each new day.”

 

2.Alterworld by D. Rus

“A new pandemic — the perma effect — has taken over Earth of the near future. Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris!”

 

3.Armada by Ernest Cline

“Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.”

 

4.Better than Life (Red Dwarf) by Grant Naylor

“When Holly, the Red Dwarf’s computer, suddenly goes dumb, David Lister, the holographic Arnold Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten, the cleaning robot, become trapped in a game called ‘Better Than Life,’ and it is up to a talking Toaster to save them all.”

 

5.Bluescreen (Mirador) by Dan Wells

“Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni — a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen — and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.”

 

6.Brasyl by Ian McDonald

“Three characters, three stories, three Brazils, all linked together across time, space, and reality in a hugely ambitious story that will challenge the way you think about everything.”

 

7.Caverns and Creatures (4 books series) by Robert Bevan

“Tim and his friends find out the hard way that you shouldn’t question the game master, and you shouldn’t make fun of his cape. One minute, they’re drinking away the dreariness of their lives, escaping into a fantasy game and laughing their asses off. The next minute, they’re in a horse-drawn cart surrounded by soldiers pointing crossbows at them.”

 

8.Complete Atopia Chronicles by Matthew Mather

“The Atopia Chronicles are an exploration of love, life and the pursuit of happiness in a near-future world teetering on the brink of post-humanism and eco-Armageddon. What could be worse than letting billions die? In the future, be careful what you wish for.”

 

9.Daemon by Daniel Suarez

“When a designer of computer games dies, he leaves behind a program that unravels the Internet’s interconnected world. It corrupts, kills, and runs independent of human control. It’s up to Detective Peter Sebeck to wrest the world from the malevolent virtual enemy before its ultimate purpose is realized: to dismantle society and bring about a new world order.”

 

10.Disclosure by Michael Crichton

“An up-and-coming executive at the computer firm DigiCom, Tom Sanders is a man whose corporate future is certain. But after a closed-door meeting with his new boss — a woman who is his former lover and has been promoted to the position he expected to have — Sanders finds himself caught in a nightmarish web of deceit in which he is branded the villain.”

 

11.Donnerjack by Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold

“In our world, called the Verite, he is a Scottish laird, an engineer, and a master of virtual reality design. In the computer-generated universe of Virtu, created by the crash of the World Net, he is a living legend. Scientist and poet with a warrior’s soul, Donnerjack strides like a giant across the virtual landscape he helped to shape. And now he has bargained with Death himself for the return of love.”

 

12.Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card

“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut — young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.”

 

13.Epic by Conor Kostick

“On New Earth, society is governed and conflicts are resolved in the arena of a fantasy computer game, Epic. If you win, you have the chance to fulfill your dreams; if you lose, your life both in and out of the game is worth nothing. When teenage Erik dares to subvert the rules of Epic, he and his friends must face the Committee. If Erik and his friends win, they may have the key to destroying the Committee’s tyranny. But if they lose . . .”

 

14.Elusion (2 book series) by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

“The mind-blowing beginning of a futuristic series about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.”

 

15.Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

“When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname…”

 

16.Eye In The Sky by Philip Dick

“When a routine tour of a particle accelerator goes awry, Jack Hamilton and the rest of his tour group find themselves in a world ruled by Old Testament morality, where the smallest infraction can bring about a plague of locusts. Escape from that world is not the end, though, as they plunge into a Communist dystopia and a world where everything is an enemy.”

 

17.Fantasy In Death by J. D. Robb

“In this thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling In Death series, it’s game over for the criminals who cross Lieutenant Eve Dallas as she investigates the murder of a virtual reality wunderkind.”

 

18.Feersum Endjinn by Iain M Banks

“Count Alandre Sessine VII has already died seven times. He has only one life left — one last chance to catch his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy beyond his own murder. For a catastrophe is fast approaching the earth from which there is no escape — until a loophole through apocalypse is discovered.”

 

19.For The Win by Cory Doctorow

“It’s the twenty-first century, and all over the world, MMORPGs are big business. Hidden away in China and elsewhere, young players are pressed into working as “gold-farmers,” amassing game-wealth that’s sold to Western players at a profitable markup. All the way over in L.A., young Wei-Dong, obsessed with Asian youth culture and MMORPGs, knows the system is rigged, knows that kids everywhere are being exploited. Battling for real-world rights in a virtual environment, they must overcome corrupt cops, determined sys ops, and social indifference to beat the game.”

 

20.Halting State by Charles Stross

“In the year 2018, a daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. But Sergeant Sue Smith discovers that this virtual world robbery may be linked to some real world devastation.”

 

21.Headcrash by Bruce Bethke

“When Jack Burroughs, a brilliant young computer programmer, is given his pink slip, he is offered the opportunity to use his skills for a little industrial espionage. Donning the guise of his online alter ego, Max Kool, Burroughs transforms himself into one of the hippest cybernetic surfers on the InfoBahn.”

 

22.Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde

“In the virtual reality game Heir Apparent, there are way too many ways to get killed — and Giannine seems to be finding them all. Which is a darn shame, because unless she can get the magic ring, locate the stolen treasure, answer the dwarf’s dumb riddles, impress the head-chopping statue, charm the army of ghosts, fend off the barbarians, and defeat the man-eating dragon, she’ll never win.”

 

23.In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

“Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer — a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn.”

 

24.Insignia (3 book series) by S. J. Kincaid

“The earth is in the middle of WWIII. The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.”

 

25.Killobyte by Pierse Anthony

“Paralyzed while in the line of duty, policeman Walter Toland faces a bleak future, until he discovers Killobyte, a virtual reality computer game that enables him to experience adventures.”

 

26.Lock In by John Scalzi

“Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent — and nearly five million souls in the United States alone — the disease causes “Lock In”: Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.”

 

27.Mirror World (3 book series) by Alexey Osadchuk

“A new LitRPG series set in a virtual world of a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG).”

 

28.Mortality Doctrine (3 book series) by James Dashner

“This 3 book series is rom MAZE RUNNER author James Dashner. An adventure that takes you into a world of hyper advanced technology, cyber terrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams, and your worst nightmares.”

 

29.Neuromancer by William Gibson

“Case had been the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run.”

 

30.Otherland (4 book series) by Tad Williams

“Surrounded by secrecy, it is home to the wildest dreams and darkest nightmares. Incredible amounts of money have been lavished on it. The best minds of two generations have labored to build it. And somehow, bit by bit, it is claiming the Earth’s most valuable resource — its children.”

 

31.Permutation City by Greg Egan

“In Permutation City life is just electronic code. You have been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. A Copy of a Copy. For Paul Durham, he keeps making Copies of himself, but the issue is that his Copies keep changing their minds and shutting themselves down.”

 

32.Phantom Server (3 book series) by Andrei Livadny

“From the popular Russian science fiction author Andrei Livadny, Phantom Server merges virtual reality with hard science fiction and space exploration.”

 

33.Play To Live (7 book series) by D. Rus

“Whenever you play your favorite online game, beware: your mind might merge with the virtual world and dump its comatose host. Woe be to those stuck forever in Tetris! And still they’re the lucky ones compared to those burning alive eternally within the scorched hulls of tank simulators.”

 

34.Presence by Richard MacManus

“In the year 2051, virtual reality bleeds into real life. After attending a mixed reality march in Washington DC, protesting against the government’s insidious Drone Defense Network, Gats Holloway makes a shocking discovery. Her best friend Adrian has been shot dead. Determined to find his killer, Gats explores the dark side of Doppel, a massively popular virtual world and the Facebook of its era.”

 

35.Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge

“From the four time Hugo Award winner Vernor Vinge. A science-fiction thriller set in San Diego, California in 2025, the book brings us a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in.”

 

36.Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines — puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.”

 

37.Reamde by Neal Stephenson

“Enter ‘REAMDE,’ an online virus that brings together a super-rich CEO, a Chinese hacker, a rogue Russian mafioso, an assimilated East African beauty, an itinerant Hungarian software programmer, two insanely prolific fantasy writers, and guns, guns, guns.”

 

38.Rim: A Novel of Virtual Reality by Alexander Besher

“In the wake of a mega-earthquake in 2027 Japan, the virtual-reality entertainment empire Satori Corporation attempts to rescue thousands of people trapped in virtual worlds, including the ten-year-old son of professor Frank Gobi.”

 

39.Saga by Conor Kostick

“Ghost is part of an anarcho-punk airboard gang who live to break the rules. And there’s a good reason — their world, Saga, has a strict class system enforced by high-tech electronics and a corrupt monarchy. Then Ghost and her gang learn the complicated truth. Saga isn’t actually a place; it’s a sentient computer game.”

 

40.Schismatrix Plus by Bruce Sterling

“Against a background of self-contained space habitats, interplanetary conquest, and bioengineering, two former friends — separated by politics and the death of the woman they both loved — slowly stage elaborate revenge plots. Over the course of several centuries, the two embody the ideological and political conflicts between the Shapers and the Mechanists.”

 

39.Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

“A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain.”

 

40.Simulacron 3 by Daniel F. Galouye

“Douglas Hall is part of a team that builds an artificial environment to simulate reality. This enables them to get public opinion polls without waiting for the opinions of people around them. But then something goes terribly wrong and his partners on the program start disappearing.”

 

41.Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

“In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.”

 

42.Solarversia by Toby Downton

“Solarversia is the story of an epic year-long game played by 100 million people inside a virtual world modelled on the real world Solar System. Given three lives, three vehicles, and told to master The Science of Solarversia to stand a chance of winning, players compete for the £10m grand prize, and the chance to help design the next game, starting in 2024.”

 

43.Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

“Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.”

 

44.Tea From An Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan

“How can you drink tea from an empty cup?”. That ancient Zen riddle holds the key to a baffling mystery: a young man found with his throat slashed while locked alone in a virtual reality parlor. The secret of this enigmatic death lies in an apocalyptic cyberspace shadow-world where nothing is certain, and even one’s own identity can change in an instant.

 

45.Terminal Connection by Dan Needles

“In a setting reminiscent of THE MATRIX and in the man-verses-science spirit of JURASSIC PARK, the players in this techno thriller novel move between reality and virtuality, finding danger, death, and betrayal in both worlds. What if a terrorist were a computer virus, its weapon a defect, and its target the U.S. military’? Welcome to the present, where the lines are blurred between terrorists and governments, virtual worlds and reality.”

 

46.The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

“The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history’s cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin’s arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror.”

 

47.The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

“Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life — and the entire future of humanity — is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.”

 

48.The Dragon’s Wrath (3 book series) by Brent Roth

“When Brent Roth suffered a workplace accident that rendered him temporarily immobile, he found himself lying in bed dreaming of a better life. He dreamed of a life where maintaining his health was no longer a daily struggle and then when he had lost all hope, he had discovered a new virtual reality game on the horizon. A VR-MMORPG that offered him everything he lacked in real life, everything that had eluded him.”

 

49.The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy by Stanislaw Lem

“Bringing his twin gifts of scientific speculation and scathing satire to bear on that hapless planet, Earth, Lem sends his unlucky cosmonaut, Ijon Tichy, to the Eighth Futurological Congress. Caught up in local revolution, Tichy is shot and so critically wounded that he is flash frozen to await a future cure.”

 

50.The Hacker and the Ants by Rudy Rucker

“The most destructive computer virus ever has been traced to your machine. Computer programmer Jerzy Rugby spends his days blissfully hacking away in cyberspace — aiding the GoMotion Corporation in its noble quest to create intelligent robots. Then an electronic ant gets into the machinery, then more ants, then millions and millions of the nasty viral pests appear out of nowhere to wreak havoc throughout the Net.”

 

51.The Leveller by Julia Durango

“Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual-reality gaming world — and she’s frequently hired by irritated parents to pull kids out of the mazelike MEEP universe. But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career.”

 

52.The Peripheral by William Gibson

“Flynne Fisher lives down a country road, in a rural near-future America where jobs are scarce, unless you count illegal drug manufacture, which she’s trying to avoid. Her brother Burton lives, or tries to, on money from the Veterans Administration, for neurological damage suffered in the Marines’ elite Haptic Recon unit. Flynne earns what she can by assembling product at the local 3D printshop. She made more as a combat scout in an online game, playing for a rich man, but she’s had to let the shooter games go.”

 

53.The Reality Bug (Pendragon) by D.J. MacHale

“The territory of Veelox has achieved perfect harmony. Fifteen-year-old Bobby Pendragon arrives on this territory in pursuit of the evil Saint Dane, but all is peaceful on Veelox — because it’s deserted. The inhabitants have discovered a way to enter their own personal dream worlds, where they can be whoever they want, wherever they want. Their bodies lie in stasis while their minds escape to this dream realm.”

 

54.The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu

“Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.”

 

55.The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

“On Mars, the harsh climate could make any colonist turn to drugs to escape a dead-end existence. Especially when the drug is Can-D, which translates its users into the idyllic world of a Barbie-esque character named Perky Pat. When the mysterious Palmer Eldritch arrives with a new drug called Chew-Z, he offers a more addictive experience, one that might bring the user closer to God. But in a world where everyone is tripping, no promises can be taken at face value.”

 

56.The Way of the Shaman (4 book series) by Vasily Mahanenko

“Barliona. A virtual world jam-packed with monsters, battles — and predictably, players. Millions of them come to Barliona, looking forward to the things they can’t get in real life: elves and magic, dragons and princesses, and unforgettable combat. The game has become so popular that players now choose to spend months online without returning home.”

 

57.Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Tom Sweterlitsch

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow is an insightful exploration of humanity’s relationship with evolving virtual environments and an accurate portrayal of how the technology that was developed to connect people inevitably isolates them.”

 

58.User Unfriendly by Vivian Vande Velde

“It’s the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you’re really there-in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries. The game plugs directly into your brain — no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked, and no hope of rescue when the game goes horribly, deathly wrong.”

 

59.Virtual Light by William Gibson

“2005: Welcome to NoCal and SoCal, the uneasy sister-states of what used to be California. Here the millennium has come and gone, leaving in its wake only stunned survivors.”

 

60.Vurt by Jeff Noon

“Vurt is a feather — a drug, a dimension, a dream state, a virtual reality. It comes in many colors: legal Blues for lullaby dreams. Blacks, filled with tenderness and pain, just beyond the law. Pink Pornovurts, doorways to bliss. Silver feathers for techies who know how to remix colors and open new dimensions. And Yellows — the feathers from which there is no escape.”

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