The Shockwave Rider

John Brunner

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Edition Qty
Unsigned Edition - identical to the limited edition except no signature page - NOTE: These copies are new but the jackets have some edgeware!
was $75.00 Special Price $45.00
Limited Edition

Being born a genius isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it comes with a steep price. For most, that price is governmental indoctrination. But aiding the administration in its efforts to boost its defense may not sound all that bad. That is, until you realize what they’re really after. Then, like Nick Haflinger, you split Dodge and ride the wave for as long and as far as it takes you.

Set in the aftermath of a mammoth earthquake with severe economic repercussions, The Shockwave Rider tells the story of “rent-a-child” orphan turned cyber folk hero, Nick Haflinger, shortly after being recaptured, hooked up, and strapped in like a lab rat, forced to relive his fugitive days from Tarnover — the government facility where human experimentation is conducted in the name of genetic engineering. But it’s not their secrets they’re worried about recovering…at least, not yet. There’s just one simple question they want answered: why?

Through Nick’s flashbacks we learn about his hacking literacy, living the plug-in lifestyle, and his ability to punch in a new identity at any phone booth. But his skills allow for more than just mere evasion. While under another identity, he discovered massive file backups that would hint toward a network outage. This gave him his first taste of rewriting and then creating his own “worm” to protect the call center, Hearing Aid, from any nefarious intrusion.

But he has something bigger in mind, something the authorities can’t see, and hiding won’t be an option. However, he must first break loose, which is the toughest option of all. And the powers that be have finally found something to make him crack. The question now is: how long can he now ride their wave?

Published when personal computers were in their infancy, The Shockwave Rider offers a prescient glimpse into a future where personal data is always up for grabs, self-medication is an epidemic, and the planet is just one strike away from Armageddon. Sound familiar? Brunner may have missed the mark with his timing, but he wasn’t far off base prefiguring our modern world or that of the cyberpunk genre.

But much like our own world, Brunner’s future is one that already sees domination in both the legs race and the arms race. Now, it’s time for the third stage of human social evolution: the brain race. All that’s left to dominate is the human race. As prescient as he was, one can only hope that not all his literary notions come to fruition.

Their new edition of The Shockwave Rider has artwork by Karl Fitzgerald and Francois Vaillancourt, custom lettering by Dan Sauer, and a new introduction by Michael Swanwick. The 500 copies are signed by Swanwick, Vaillancourt, and Sauer. It has a top-edge stain, ribbon marker, and illustrated endpapers.


  • Limited to 500 copies, each signed by Michael Swanwick, Francois Vaillancourt, and Dan Sauer.
  • Introduction by Michael Swanwick.
  • Bonus interview with John Brunner.
  • Dustjacket and title page artwork by Karl Fitzgerald and interior and reverse dustjacket artwork Francois Vaillancourt.
  • Stamped cloth, ribbon marker, head and tail bands, and top-edge stain.
  • Original book price: $100.
  • Published March 2024.
  • Book size 5½ × 8¾ inches.
  • Number of pages: 400.
  • ISBN 978-1-61347-308-5.
More Information
Publisher Centipede Press