New cyberpunk thriller coming January 2

My debut novel STELLARNET REBEL will be released in just two weeks, and I’m hard at work on the sequel.

My publisher is calling SR a “cyberpunk thriller,” but that’s entirely accidental. What I mean is, I didn’t sit down thinking “I’m going to write a cyberpunk thriller.” I sat down to write the kind of story I wanted to read — one that seemed to be missing from a literary landscape dominated by steampunk, zombies, werewolves, vampires, and epic space operas that resembled fantasy as much as science fiction.

I was also inspired by Alex Steffen’s article, “Science Fiction, Futurism and the Failure of the Will to Imagine.” I wanted to write about a future extrapolated from current technology and social trends. The result was “cyberpunk.”

Wikipedia defines cyberpunk as a SF genre that focuses on high tech and low life, hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations, set in a near-future Earth rather than a far-future galactic vista. Cyberpunk Review defines cyberpunk as having such elements as:

1) Negative Impact of technology on humanity
2) Fusion of man and machine
3) Corporate control over society
4) Story focused on the underground
5) Ubiquitous Access to information
6) Cyberpunk visuals: Dirty “lived in” look, darkness contrasted with neon

STELLARNET REBEL is set in the squalid confines of an extra-solar space colony where humanity not only connects via personal devices, but all things — walls, ceilings, tables, clothing, even bottles of whiskey — are interactive and connected to the Net. It features computers, video games, virtual reality, hackers, the Internet (or, as it’s moved beyond Earth, the “Stellarnet”) and rebellion (thus the title, uh huh see what we did there? lol). But technology is portrayed as a good thing, enlightening, entertaining and connecting humanity, rather than oppressing and depersonalizing us.

Some people claim the term “cyberpunk” is overused, misused, or out-dated. When you hear the term “cyberpunk” or “cyberpunk thriller,” what do you think of? Share your thoughts here in the comments for a chance to win a prize package with promo items, your very own nagyx “soul stone,” and a $10 gift certificate to ThinkGeek. Contest ends at midnight EST January 2, 2012.

– J. L. Hilton

You can read an excerpt of STELLARNET REBEL on Shelfari and pre-order it on AMAZON or B&N. It will also be available through and in ePub format directly from the publisher at CarinaPress.

For more information about the book, check out Advance copies are available through for review. Follow the author at or Facebook, Twitter, deviantART, Goodreads and Google+.


  1. Cyberpunk == William Gibson.
    I just re-read the original trilogy for probably the 9th time, and I’m still in awe of the style.
    I also just read that until he was writing the third book, “Mona Lisa Overdrive”, he had never touched a computer. He wrote “Neuromancer” and “Count Zero” on a manual typewriter.

  2. Okay, I confess, I’ve never read cyberpunk, but I think I may be missing out.

    I loved the description of your book.

    Congratulations on your release!

    1. Thank you, Shawna. 🙂

  3. In my opinion, “Cyberpunk” is the concept of how technology changes human identity. It sounds simple, but as you start to unpack the ramifications it’s pretty huge. It encompasses the exploration of every technological impact on the human race since the industrial revolution and gathers Wikipedia’s “elements” under a broad net.

    The term “cyberpunk” has been abused and pigeon-holed since it was created, but with the real world catching up to the concept, the cliches are starting to fall by the wayside to make room for newer explorations of the interface point between what we are and what we create to explore, control and interpret the world around us.

    I look forward to seeing where it leads us.

  4. I expect cyberpunk to have a melding of humanity with technology. I love the stuff. I expect a thriller to have an exciting adventure.

    Stellarnet Rebel sounds like a great read. The space colony setting make it extra appealing for me.

    Best of luck with release day!

  5. Thanks for explaining cyberpunk to me. Whenever I see the word ‘punk’ I think of punk rock music, so to me cyberpunk (and steampunk) should also embody certain anti-establishment elements. Stellarnet Rebel sounds a perfect example of cyberpunk!

    1. You’re welcome. I agree with you on the “punk” part! Even the way it’s being published is a bit “anti-establishment” in that I went with an eBook publisher, bypassing much of the traditional book distribution route and embracing the growing trend toward digital.

  6. I have to admit, I’ve never read (I don’t think at least) any cyberpunk, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep).

    Sounds like a great read. Congrats on your upcoming release 🙂

    1. Thank you, Seleste! (btw, everyone, Seleste is the author of “Badlands,” a steampunk novella that I thoroughly enjoyed! which is saying something because to be honest I don’t usually enjoy much steampunk fiction…)

      Blade Runner. Very awesome movie.

      I think Stellarnet Rebel has more humor. 🙂 SR isn’t dystopian. It’s not utopian, either — I was kind of aiming for something more realistic between the extremes. Technology is not something that makes people less human — I hoped to show how it enhanced their humanity and brought them together. And the novel is hopeful, more about heroism and individuals helping each other in spite of the odds — rather than melancholy and noir.

      We’ll have to see what people think after they read it!

      1. *blush* Thanks! I’ve been on vacay, so I didn’t see this until tonight (sorry about the delayed response).

        Great explanation of your world and I can’t wait to check it out 🙂

  7. Being mostly innocent of the genre, I can’t help thinking “I, Robot”, and think that I am probably mostly wrong there. I just know that “cyberpunk thriler” sounds quite interesting!

    Congrats on the release!

    1. Thank you, Melissa!

  8. So, a cyberpunk with humor AND a more upbeat tone? I’m in! Let me go tweet it…just saw your post on the cpauthors loop.

  9. The deadline for the giveaway has arrived, and the book is officially released today! It is available on Amazon, B&N, Sony, iBooks, Google books and wherever ebooks are sold. The audio book is also available on

    I used the old-fashioned method of selecting a winner — writing names on slips of paper and drawing one out of a cup. And the winner is Shawna Thomas.

    There will be a chance to enter another giveaway on the Carina Press blog on Wednesday morning, when I will be guest posting about Stellarnet Rebel — specifically, the topic will be women in SF.

    But please feel free to continue to comment on this post. Thanks, everyone, for the wonderful feedback and support!

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