Bruce Bethke

Bruce Bethke is an American author best known for his 1983 short story Cyberpunk which led to the widespread use of the term, including for the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. His novel, Headcrash, won the Philip K. Dick Award in 1995 for SF original paperback published in the US.
Bethke's collected thoughts on the cyberpunk subculture are available on his website, in an essay entitled "The Etymology of Cyberpunk".
Bethke served as a judge on the Philip K. Dick Award in 2013.


Bethke lives in Minnesota where he works as a developer of supercomputer software.



Initially written as a series of short stories in 1980, the culminated novel was purchased by a publisher via an exclusive contract which forbade Bethke to sell the novel to any other publisher. The publisher decided not to 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.
When asked, during a 2005 interview, "Why was your book Cyberpunk never published when you sold it to a publisher in 1989?" Bruce replied, "Ah, well, hindsight is 20/20. The book was never released because the publisher hated the ending and I refused to rewrite it. What the publisher wanted me to write was a "Frazetta cover" ending; you know, the hero, center stage, with a mighty weapon in his hands, a cowering half-naked babe at his feet, and the blood-smeared corpses of his many enemies piled high all around. To get to this ending I would have had to end the book with the lead character committing a massacre inside a school—which is what the publisher specifically asked me to write—but even 10 years before Columbine, I found that idea utterly revolting. So I refused to write it. Perhaps the publisher was right. Perhaps the book would have sold well with a blood-soaked adolescent revenge fantasy ending. But sales aren't everything."


Bruce Bethke won the Philip K. Dick Award for SF original paperback published in the US.
Bethke is currently creator and Editor in Chief of the monthly anthology series "Stupefying Stories" which he began publishing in 2012.