Introduction to Cyberpunk

What is Cyberpunk

A subgenre of science fiction set in a lawless or highly regulated subculture, usually in an oppressive society or a society with some degree of breakdown or change in social order. This is normally complemented by dominant computer technology or advanced forms of technology including, but not limited to, cybernetics and information technology.

It is almost always set in the future. Although there are some exceptions.


Origins

Cyberpunk was born in the 1980’s as a sort of literary movement – an arm to hard science fiction if you will. Instead of focusing on one particular event or instigating incident, Cyberpunk evolved as the onset of the future as affected by a whole range of intermingled elements.

It often focuses on high tech and low life situations usually depicted by changes in the social order. Many time cybernetics and information technology contribute to the plight of the downtrodden in an often post-industrial society. With a dystopian flare, Cyberpunk often pulls on film noir techniques.

Cyberpunk settings range from online in cyberspace (like virtual reality elements – think LawnMower Man), to technology that enhances through cybernetic implantation (going to extremes in RoboCop), networked computers, and even collective consciences. There are frequently multinational corporations with political and economic control that have set up barriers between different classes of society.

The main character often has little to no choice on the situation they find themselves in. This usually leads to rebellion and action as a type of revolution of sorts.

While Blade Runner is the quintessential movie for Cyberpunk, and William Gibson’s Neuromancer for books, there are many animes that have explored this theme as well.



Examples

Books:
Neuromancer (1984)
Count Zero (1986)
Snow Crash (1992)

Authors in general:

In Film:
Bladerunner (1982)
The Matrix (1999)

TechNoir you may not have realized there are derivatives of Cyberpunk:
Terminator (1984)
Robocop (1987/2014)
Hackers (1995)
12 Monkeys (How I love this movie) (1995)
The Lawnmower man (1992)






Anime
Akira (1988)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Bubblegum Crisis (1998)
Technolyze (2003)
Ergo Proxy (2006)







Games:
Matrix Online (R.I.P) (2005-2009)

Series:
Metal Gear
Deus Ex
Syndicate
System Shock

Future?
Cyberpunk 2077 – but I’m starting to lose hope that this Cyberpunk game by the Witcher team will ever eventuate.

These lists are by no means complete, just a general reference to some of the more prominent examples of Cyberpunk in fiction, film, anime, and games.

I'm actually going to drop Almost Human in here too - this was another of Fox's cancelled-way-too-soon series. And it's freaking good. 



Cyberpunk Attire
When you think Cyberpunk attire, you probably first think of Neo in The Matrix. You wouldn’t be wrong. But there are varying degrees of cyberpunk attire, and many variations can be found at: In search of the missing light.









Epitome
Bladerunner
For me at least, Bladerunner was my first experience with Cyberpunk – many, many years ago. It has everything I love about the genre, from the dark and gritty feel of the streets, to the overboard technology addictions prevalent in its characters. It left a very lasting impression.


1 comment:

  1. Ive always thought it would be cool to combine cyber and steampunk. A character from a cyberpunk future travels to a steampunk past. I don't have the attention span to actually write stories, so the idea is free to steal lol. Love your blog. Also, i recently watched an anime movie i think would possibly be cyberpunk, although maybe a bit mythpunk or dieselpunk. Its called 'Harlock the space Pirate' you haven't seen it, i highly recommend it, and id like to know what you would categorize it as.
    -thanks, VintageSongBird

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