Hardwired (#1)

Next: Solip:System

Earth lies prostrate beneath the lash of the Orbital powers, and Earth’s Balkanized nations have no choice but to let the Orbitals plunder their remaining wealth. Below the zone of Orbital control, buttonheads, panzerjocks, dirtgirls, and hustlers scramble for their ticket out of the gravity well.

But now, if the criminal underworld and the guerilla underground can join forces, there is a chance to shift the balance of power— in a war fought on the ground by hardwired commandos, in the air by high-flying deltajocks, and by genius hackers in the neural interface.


“Fast-moving, hard-driving […] stirring and heartening.”


“HARDWIRED is his best book to date […] as the parallel plotlines of a hotshot contraband flyer and a sleek bodyguard/assassin develop and gradually intersect, the book takes on a life of its own.”


“Fans of high-tech SF will enjoy Williams’s sizzling prose and fast-moving, taut story.”

Library Journal

“A combination of fast action, gritty realism, and high-tech polytechnics that is certain to be popular with Williams’ growing audience.”


“The story moves with the speed of a hovercraft, the climax has all the action and excitement of Star Wars and the ending has a delightful twist.”

The Providence Sunday Journal

“Williams has created a three-dimensional world, characters who develop believably, and a fast-moving story. Any writer who has done all this shows enough respect for his readers to deserve theirs in turn.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“The story moves at a breakneck pace through a set of twists and twirls […] But the real wonderfulness of HARDWIRED is the language […] He plays with your mind, makes you work with him to create his world as he spews the mindscape with argot, slang, advert slogans with no explanation in sight. But even without the slang, the language pulls the reader willing or not into Williams’ vision. “

Other Realms

“Williams’ use of language is as explosive and as techno-tinged as the world he describes. Reading the book is like taking a jet ride across a futuristic America, with the acceleration forcing you back in your seat all the way.”

The Rockland Courier-Gazette

“I found this to be William’s most intense book to date, very compelling reading.”


“Cowboy is no Rambo; he is a thoughtful, intelligent hero. He and Sarah are two of the many good things about HARDWIRED. Another is the world they inhabit–an incredibly detailed future of personality transfers, bizarre drugs, cybernetic implants, and complex political and economic power maneuvers. Williams tells their story with a propulsive yet almost elegant prose. HARDWIRED is always on the move. Yet its greatest strengths are the mythic overtones of Cowboy’s story and the intricate power plays that that pervade the novel. For at its cold, brutal heart HARDWIRED is about power–and about what happens to enduring American myths when events conspire to render them obsolete. It is one of the best SF novels I have read in years; heartily recommend it.”

Fantasy Review

“HARDWIRED seems shorter than it is because it keeps you sprinting for the full distance. Williams knows how to hold a fine pace while fleshing out characters we care about–including the weasel-wielding Sarah, whose kiss can be horrifyingly lethal. Intrigued? Good; just remember to set your inputs at a few million baud, because Walter Jon Williams is on a UHF band.”

Dean Ing, The New York Times bestselling author of The Ransom of Black Stealth One

Awards & Accolades