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Bethke, Bruce

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1955-    ) US author best known for his short stories, in particular his first professional publication, "Cyberpunk" for Amazing in November 1983, which appeared there after circulating in manuscript and almost certainly inspiring Gardner Dozois's use of the term Cyberpunk to designate the new movement, in an exclamatory fashion ironically distinct from Bethke's own jaundiced view of the "romance" of Cyberspace. A novel based on this story has been projected for some time under the title "Def Cyberpunk", but Bethke's first book was a Sharecrop: Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens 5: Maverick (1990). Far more interestingly, his first autonomous novel, Headcrash (1995), is a Near Future Satire, precisely targeted on "neuromantic" illusions of glamour in the new Virtual Reality worlds coming on tap. The tone is deceptively light, but as the self-deprecating (but ultimately hapless) protagonist is forced to realize that he is a pawn in a ruthless corporation world, it begins to cut fairly deep. What it reveals is what William Gibson's novels reveal, but without the allure. Headcrash won the Philip K Dick Award for 1996. [JC]

Bruce Raymond Bethke

born Milwaukee, Wisconsin: April 1955



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