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The Circle by Dave Eggers (Knopf, 2013)
The titular “Circle” of Dave Egger’s novel refers to (fictional) world’s largest and most powerful search engine. Main character Mae lands a job u2013 a company that sounds like whole lot like Google u2013 and starts realizing that she is perhaps not as lucky to work there as she thought.
A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins (Penguin, 2013)
In Hutchins’ debut novel, his main character Neill works for a small team trying to build a computer that can pass the Turing Test. They use Neill’s dad’s 20-year diary. But as the computer learns, it starts asking questions about why its memories stop, and Neill has to deal with his father’s suicide all over again.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Doubleday, 1968)
The 1982 movie Blade Runner was based on Dick’s 1968 post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about a bounty hunter tasked with retiring six androids.
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin, 2013)
Pynchon takes readers back to the dot com bust. Investigator Maxine Tarnow starts digging into the finances of a cyber-security firm. Things get shady. Coders, hackers, and bloggers start turning up dead.
The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman (The Dial Press, 2010)
Goodman’s book centers on two sisters and their relationships, one of which is the MIT- educated CEO at a Silicon Valley company that handles large scale data storage and retrieval.
Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (HarperCollins, 1995)
Coupland’s book, which originally appeared in Wired Magazine and then later expanded, is written as a series of diary entries from Microsoft employee Danielu2013 a microserfu2013 who eventually busts out of the “geek house” where spends his life coding for Microsoft, and heads to Silicon Valley. Microserfs isn’t exactly a loving portrayal of Microsoft in the 90s.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Crown, 2011)
In 2044, most people spend their free time in a virtual reality called OASIS. The program’s creator has hidden nearly impossible to find lottery tickets of sorts that would bring the finder great wealth u2013 if they can make it through all the puzzles. Main character Wade finds the first one.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (Gnome Press, 1950)
Asimov’s a heavy-weight. His 1950 book is comprised of nine thematically-linked short stories, recounted by Dr. Susan Calvin.
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (Random House, 2010)
While Super Sad True Love Story is, in fact, a love story, it takes place in a future where main character Lennyu2013 a lover of “printed, bound media artifacts” (books) and a keeper of maybe the last diaryu2013 is a rare bird, and one who is hanging on to humanity while the rest of the mostly digital world deteriorates.
Bonus round: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (short story, 1961)
If you ever feel like you’ve got too many distractions keeping you from coherent thought, be glad you can put your phone on silent. In Vonnegut’s dystopia, the exceptional are made average through the enforcement of handicapsu2013 things like weights and headsets that play periodic loud and distracting noises, meant to equalize people’s physical and mental abilities.