Beach reads for tech junkies

Need a new book or two to read on the beach this summer? Check out our recommendations for technology fans.
1 of 17 Amazon

The Laundry Files

Beginning with the Atrocity Archives and authored by Charles Stross, The Laundry Files merges the red tap of the UK government with mathematics, Turing theorems and magic. If you unintentionally capture of the interest of the secretive department -- in the same way Bob, a low-level tech support guy managed to -- you could find yourself smuggled away and silenced, or sent out into the field to keep the unwitting population safe from summoning, demons and threats from other dimensions.

$7.99 paperback | $9.33 kindle


2 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Altered Carbon

It took me a chapter or two to get in to the story, but Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon is a great choice for the readers among us who enjoy futuristic tech. The story -- the first in a series -- follows Takeshi Kovacs, who acts as a private investigator in a world where death has been redefined through technology. After being "sleeved" in a host body and his consciousness recovered from storage, Kovacs is sent on a mission to track down a killer -- and becomes intertwined in a story of politics, sex and an exploration of what "self" actually means.

$8.84 paperback | $9.35 kindle


3 of 17 Amazon | Michael O'Shea


A must-have for cyberpunk enthusiasts, William Gibson's Neuromancer follows the life of Case, a hacker in a highly technological, gritty world which doesn't stint on the sex, black markets and anarchy. The hacker, who specializes in data theft, finds himself crossing the wrong types of people in the business who take their revenge in a big way -- by burning him out and killing off his talent. However, he can have a second chance... for a price.

$4.60 paperback


4 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Malcom Gladwell's David and Goliath might not be considered a typical book for tech fans; however, if you're looking to launch a startup the book is well worth a read. While occasionally over-simplifying themes, Gladwell presents an interesting discussion of what it means to fail, how discrimination works, and whether problems and disadvantages are truly objects in the road to success.

$12.50 paperback


5 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet


An easy read on the beach which includes zombies, politics, viruses and technology: what more can you ask for? Mira Grant's Feed binds post-apocalyptic horror, politics and social media in a new twist on the genre which is likely to both appeal to our inner geek and those tired of the same recycled plot lines in the horror genre.

$8.48 paperback | $8.86 kindle


6 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Hatching Twitter

Ever wondered how Twitter moved from struggling startup to household name? Nick Bilton's Hatching Twitter tells us the full story through reporting which goes beyond the technology -- and into a realm of power struggles, clashes and a battle for control. The story is fast-paced and utterly engrossing as you view the platform's growth behind the scenes.

$12.98 paperback | $9.33 kindle


7 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Circle

Dave Egger's The Circle is a highly plausible story concerning Mae Holland, a woman hired by the world's most powerful Internet company. Based in California, The Circle connects up email, finance, social media and other data to give individuals a single online identity. But what are the repercussions of this in modern life -- and how does Mae's climb up the ladder and rising levels of scrutiny from the public eye affect her personal life?

$11.22 paperback


8 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

Bruce Schneier, a well-respected technology expert, has published a new book which explores data collection, your digital identity and surveillance. Following on from previous books which explore the evolution of such technology and elements such as cybercrime, Data and Goliath send you on a journey which discusses why and where surveillance is used -- and the personal price we all pay for this "protection."

$14.64 hardcover | $16.29 kindle


9 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

One of the more technical reads in this list, Cliff Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg is the tale of an IT manager tracking down a member of a spy ring in the days before data breaches, identity theft and cyberattacks were so commonplace. What began as a 75-cent billing error turns into an absorbing tale of deception, surveillance and government red tape.

$11.60 paperback


10 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Second Machine Age

 The Second Machine Age is a novel which explores the economy, growth, technological enhancement and how businesses must transform in order to have a future.  Authored by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the book explains and defines concepts relating to these fields in an easy-digestible way -- and paints a future full of upheaval, evolution and change which will shift our fundamental infrastructure, cities and lives.

$12.71 paperback | $16.28 kindle


11 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Tomorrow War: The Chronicles of Max

Contributed by ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:

If dystopian fiction featuring cyber warfare, AI, gritty action, and an economic collapse that spirals the world into a post-apocalypse nightmare is your thing, then Tomorrow War: The Chronicles of Max [Redacted] is the novel for you.

Commissioned military officer J.L. Bourne has written a nonstop action thriller highlighting how vulnerable our digital world has become, and how everything would change as soon as the lights went out, the Internet disappeared, and money became valueless.

After a few pages, I was sucked into the world that Bourne had created for the hero, Max. Not only does he go into meticulously detail about how society crumbles, but he also gives you an insight into the skills and mindset you'd need to survive such a landscape.

$13.86 paperback | $18.66 kindle


12 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is an enjoyable read about a futuristic world, entrenched in steampunk, where pizza delivery is controlled by the Mafia and one of the delivery guys, Hiro, uses his technical know-how to combat a new designer drug called Snow Crash which is flooding the market. Add in sarcasm, Sumerian myths, parody and a hefty dose of irony and you have a fast-paced novel which is a breath of fresh air in the sci-fi scene.

$8.29 paperback


13 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Ghost in the Wires

Ghost in the Wires is the fascinating story of Kevin Mitnick, an old-school hacker who was able to crack open the systems of major companies including Motorola, Sun Microsystems, and Pacific Bell. The memoir highlights just how far we've come in terms of technology and cybersecurity -- but also how no matter what the decade, law enforcement agencies are often scrabbling to catch up.

$11.32 paperback


14 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Future Crimes

Future Crimes, written by Marc Goodman, is one of my favorite books i've read this year. As our world becomes even more deeply connected through mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT) and advances in medical devices, networking and nanotechnology, criminal opportunities increase. From taking over a connected car and killing the brakes to hacking into medical devices to inject lethal doses, the opportunities for exploitation are endless -- darker sides discussed without rose-tinted glasses throughout the book.

$15.55 paperback


15 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

One Second After

Contributed by ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes:

The low-key premise behind One Second After is what makes the tale particularly chilling.

It takes only a second for an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) to silently take out every piece of technology, from the cellphone in your pocket to the entire power network. Not a single shot is fired, not a single bomb dropped, and not a single hacker had to take to a keyboard.

Set against the backdrop of a small North Carolina town, One Second After shows us how rapidly the shelves can clear of food, the drugstores run out of medicine, and society decent into anarchy, madness and violence. At no point does Forstchen turn away from the hardship and horror that the survivors face, which makes this a particularly gripping page-turner.

$12.16 paperback | $6.99 kindle


16 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

The name Elon Musk is well-known to most techies out there. The entrepreneur has been followed throughout this career as he formed Tesla and launched the SpaceX project, and more recently engineers have mused over Musk's Hyperloop high-speed transit system. If you'd like to know more about the Silicon Valley entrepreneur, consider reading Ashlee Vance's biography: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

$21 hardback | $12.53 kindle


17 of 17 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Difference Engine

Co-authored by William Gibson and Bruce Stirling, The Difference Engine is another classic steampunk novel which is likely to appeal to tech fans out there. The novel follows the Industrial Revolution of 1855, in which steam-powered engines are commonplace -- and the computer era arrives a little early in the form of "Engines." Part steampunk, part detective thriller, you follow the story of three main characters on the hunt for a set of cards which are the focus of political strife.

$11.33 paperback | $7.79 kindle


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