Most of us have probably read Neuromancer, the canonical work by William Gibson, the loose basis for the Matrix movies, and, arguable, the first major book of the cyberpunk genre. Can you tell I'm a fan?
I bring this up because this is the book's 25th anniversary. MacWorld took a fun look at what Gibson correctly predicted, what's still a long ways off, and what matters from a techie point of view in the book. Most importantly, as the article points out,
The prognostication in Neuromancer that rings most true today is the novel's idea of a World Wide Web. The concept of an Internet already existed when Gibson wrote Neuromancer in 1984: In the early eighties, several universities had strung together various systems of servers via a telecom link. What Gibson introduced was the idea of a global network of millions of computers, which he described in astonishing detail--though the World Wide Web, as we know it today, was still more than a decade away. Imagine the novelty of that idea in 1984 when the personal computer was still a fairly new idea. Of course, things start getting really interesting only in the nineties, when technology linked all of those computers together.
My suggestion? If you haven't read it (and the remainder of the so-called "Sprawl Trilogy", Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive), then read them. Otherwise, this is one heck of a summer reading project for high schoolers. The themes, the predictive value, and the relevance in what has largely become a hyper-connected society are hard to deny.
Happy Summer Reading!