Cypulchre is a novel by Joseph MacKinnon. With a name like that, you know it has to be cyberpunk — and if you are familiar with the genre, you will be on comfortable, familiar ground. We've got a virtual world released before it had its bugs ironed out — bugs that can turn you into a vegetable. We have the misunderstood, psychologically unstable genius. We've even got healer, a tank, evil megacorps sucking out your money, and security firms with massive technology and no need to make excuses to use firepower. And of course, we have the massive divide between the haves and the have-nots.
The plot is fairly standard fare; but it is not without its fun. I enjoyed reading another's thoughts on where technology could take us, as well as its possibilities for helping people who don't fit the standard mold. However, I was dismayed to find the idea presented was that becoming the standard mold was the cure for those who didn't fit within.
The world building is decent. You can tell the author spent quite a bit of time envisioning his world. It's complex; he thought out social class, the economy, as well as science and technology in the world. I'd like to see in the future how he handles different countries within it, and other cultures.
The book, however, has its flaws. Characterization leaves much to be wanted. We've got a group that could be the cast of a Shadowrun one-shot game or any standard RPG. Characterization isn't shown or told, so much as said, and said repeatedly. The main character's name (Paul), is written between 1-3 times every paragraph, for the greater majority of the book, as if the author fears we will forget what we are reading, and who he is, without constant repetition. The book aches for a need of words other than standard proper, formal nouns, and for just a bit more of editorial polish. This isn't to say Cypulchure is a bad book — it is not — but a firmer touch could have made the difference between the book being OK and it being great.
If you enjoyed Neuromancer, some of Critchton's later works, or Blade Runner, you may enjoy this book. It's an average-sized novel, with a reading time of about six hours.