As I've already mentioned, I'm working on a sci-fi novel.
One of the main feelings that I wanted to represent when I started is the sense of a vast, empty, artificial world, mostly cold and uncaring of human life; the kind of impression you can have glancing at Tsutomu Nihei's landscapes in manga such as Blame! or Biomega.
Being inspired by his works, and other masters of the cyberpunk genre, I started to work on my novel. While I did manage to give out that feeling (according to some beta readers) I wonder if something could be done better, hence the question.
How do you show an hard and uncaring world?
How do you picture a stark contrast between the characters' struggle and an uncaring, hostile environment?
I'm mainly interested in stylistic devices (e.g. the use of certain images, similes, pairing up the character's internal emotion with a description of the outside world ...) that I could employ to make the difference even more clear cut.