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Bruce Bethke, science fiction author, in 2001
Bruce Bethke (born 1955) is an Americanmarker author, best known for his 1980 short story "Cyberpunk" which led to the widespread use of the term, and his novel, Headcrash.

Bethke's collected thoughts on the cyberpunk subculture are collected on his website, in an essay entitled "The Etymology of Cyberpunk".


Bethke lives in Minnesotamarker where he works as a developer for supercomputer software.

Published fiction


Written from an outline by Isaac Asimov in 1990, this novel was one of a series of novels set in Asimov's Robot universe.


Bethke's first published novel, Headcrash is the story of Jack, a male in his mid twenties, who lives with his overbearing mother, works a dead-end job at a software firm, and escapes to the salve of virtual reality on the internet. The sites of questionable legalities cause the geeky Jack to find himself in a legal quandary when he is approached to hack into a Super User's company. This novel was awarded the Philip K. Dick Award.

This work is credited with the first use of the word "Spam" as a term for junk e-mail.

Rebel Moon

A collaboration with Vox Day, Rebel Moon was the novelization of the prequel of the game Rebel Moon Rising. The main plot is similar to The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, though the book itself focuses on a few individual characters and their battles in the war, and not the political and economic ramifications of a battle for independence on the moon.

Wild Wild West

The novelization of the critically panned steampunk film Wild Wild West. Bethke summarily dismisses the novel on his website, stating it was how he paid for a new roof for his house.

Unpublished fiction


Initially written as a series of short stories in 1980, the culminated novel was purchased by a publisher via an exclusive contract which forbid Bethke from selling a novel to any other publisher. The publisher decided to not release the novel, causing several years of legal battles over the rights to the book. Bethke has a downloadable version of the novel available for five dollars on his website.


  1. "The Etymology of Cyberpunk" from Bethke's website trough Internet Archive

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