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Shadowrun is an RPG (Role Playing Game) is heavily influenced by Gibson’s vision of the future, where corporations hire “shadowrunners” who are basically mercenaries for hire who have specialized skills be it hacking, magic, weaponry or sneaking. They then infiltrate rival companies and either sabotage or steal information as requested by their employer.

Very fun campaign system that makes you think on multiple levels at once because the companies have not only physical security systems but also magical/astral and online ones as well. There are also the traditional fantasy humanoids in this game as well, including Elves, Dwarves and Trolls. They are called metahumans and started appearing as magic began to reemerge into the world.

Oo, I was reading over the wiki article and they have a very good breakdown of why the world (alternate future) happened the way it did:

“The emergence of magic, the outbreak of the VITAS plagues (Virally Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrome), the Computer Crash of 2029 (caused by a complex and nearly unstoppable computer virus called “The Crash Entity”), the Euro-Wars, in which the western-European countries once fought off an invasion from neo-communist Russia and then a pan-Islamic invasion like that of 800 years ago, and the fevers for independence of Amerindian tribes, Chinese provinces, etc. left the world’s governments tumbling and falling. With the fall of the existing political structures, mega-corporations emerged as the new superpowers.” - wikipedia, Shadowrun

Very fun game and is just as fun to read up on the history (future?) of it.

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Yay Cyberpunk! What a rock’n genre, which recently has gained some popularity thanks to the Matrix movies. Gibson is considered the father of cyberpunk and coined the term cyberspace. In fact, a lot of the words that are common vernacular in respect to internet came from his books.

The first book he wrote is Neuromancer, which is the first book in his “Sprawl” trilogy. Neuromancer brought about the concept of the “console cowboy” as well as the matrix used interchangeably with cyberspace, which is “a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions.” (Wikipedia, Neuromancer) and is obviously where the Wachowski brothers got the idea.

Well this sprawl trilogy takes place on near future earth where pretty much everyone is jacked into the matrix for entertainment and education. You can also get cybernetic enhancements and a slot in your head where you can stick in a disk that lets you learn anything (sound familiar?) Also an important thing about the world is that corporations pretty much own and control everything. These corporations conduct armed and covert ops against rival companies in attempts to gain the technology they are producing. It’s a very dog eat dog world, and shows how capitalism could eventually take over everything if not kept in check.

There are also AIs which were built for several reasons, one of which is to maintain the ICE (Intrusion Countermeasure Intrusion) around corporations HQs. One of the themes of Neuromancer is that an AI is trying to get free, so that it can join it’s other half (was split in half by the government for fear of it being to powerful) and become complete. Gibson also uses these “entities” that live in cyberspace which are voodoo like deities who can affect people and data inside cyberspace, possibility even real life too.

Very fun reads which give you this gritty feeling to the world that I’ve not found in any other author I’ve read so far.

William Gibson on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_gibson

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