Cyberpunk: A Genre, A Culture

Cyberpunk is the single coolest subgenre of futuristic science fiction there is. However, I do realize that there are not many subgenres in science fiction, so that proclamation may not hold as much weight as I hope.

Set in the future, cyberpunk features a society of advanced technology and science with some aspect of a dystopia or a breakdown of society, in some way or another. The first novel on cyberpunk and the one that created the whole movement was William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer, which came out in 1984. Now, the world considers authors such as Harlan Ellison, Philip Jose Farmer, Roger Zelazny, and Philip K. Dick to be some of the most influential in the movement.

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Since the publishing of Neuromancer, there have been numerous movies, tv shows, and books following the theme. Blade RunnerThe Matrix, and Total Recall are a few of the most famous cyberpunk movies.

In a cyberpunk-style world, corruption, illegal drug trades, gangs, and vice are always present in the electronic societies. Among all the politics and authority, insurgency and upheaval are certain. Big corporations and advanced computer technology in an urban setting will certainly result in a disastrous abuse of power. Cyberpunk is therefore very anti-authoritarian.

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With every brutal high-tech future where individual freedoms are threatened, you can bet there will be some sort of antihero challenging the ruling powers.

To get an idea of the cyberpunk ideology, try watching Altered Carbon on Netflix. Altered Carbon is set off the 2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan that has been considered one of the most famous cyberpunk novels. The show takes place in a dystopian society, more than 350 years in the future. It is filled with adventure and suspense as it follows the journey of former U.N. soldier, Takeshi Kovacs, as he attempts to win his freedom by solving a murder. The show is said to be a faithful adaptation of the book and has a very traditional science-fiction theme.

Did I leave out any important details? Be sure to let me know in the comments below!

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