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If HARLIE lived in a world without computer networking, The Shockwave Rider saw the network as the most important part of new technology and one that could massively affect human society — and thus qualifies as a genuinely visionary pre-internet SF novel.
In the novel, worms and counter-worms are sent into the network to do battle by proxy on behalf of their writers; this often involves deception and identity theft. The nature of online identity, the role of online groups in shaping society, and the symbiosis between human and networks are all themes that bear examination more than 30 years on.
Photo credit: Cybermage