Jump to content

Who here reads cyberpunk?

prophetik music

Recommended Posts

i've got a presentation coming up about science fiction in adolescent literature, and i'd like to reference to some extent the cyberpunk genre of writing.

if you read it (any level, not just 13-17 year old reading level stuff), what do you read? why is it good?

i've always been interested in the genre and just never knew where to start.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

William Gibson's "Neuromancer"'s an oldie but goodie

First book I had on the genre back then.

It reads similar to that of a good noir film imo :)!!

and I like noir :)!!

edit: Turns out they did a rerelease on that book :o


I have no doubts there are better books on the genre right now though...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll second both Neuromancer and Snow Crash as being fantastic novels, written way ahead of their time with grace, style, and a scary amount of accurate foresight.

Mona Lisa Overdrive was alright, as was The Diamond Age.

It's sometimes called "steampunk," which I suppose is *close* to cyberpunk, but China Mieville's writing ability exceeds the above authors, and his stuff is amazing. Read Perdido Street Station then The Scar.

Yes, I'm pimping our aStore shamelessly, BUT I'm also being helpful :nicework:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ironically, Cyberpunk is the genre I chose for the Screenplay I'm writing for my senior project in FIlm School. I researched the genre quite a bit. Here's my two cents:

I third Neuromancer. In it, Gibson coins the term Cyberspace (Jeoperdy question) But he also envisions virtual reality and the internet before their invention in a fusion which he calls, "The Matrix"

Welcome to Cyberpunk....

Cyberpunk as a genre is about rebelling against the system. It's about individuality. It's about personal freedom. It's also a realist vision of the future. Most other SF envisions a future that is either Utopian (Where everyone is happy) or a Dystopia (where every thing's gone wrong). Cyberpunk is realist SF, an Anti-Utopia, but not oppressive enough to be a Dystopia. The worlds and issues explored are things that might actually be.

A very common theme in Cyberpunk is what is machine and what is human.

A good piece of reading before you read Cyberpunk is Richard Dawkins' book, The Selfish Gene. I'm not advocating a world view, but Dawkins' writings on Meme relate to the themes in Cyberpunk books and some writings quote his words and ideas directly.

Another good Cyberpunk Author author is Bruce Sterling.

A really good resource (Just a resource mind you) is R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk 2020 Pen & Paper RPG. If you can find a copy of the core rulebook, it gives a good run down of the tone, style, and origins of the genre. But, CP2020 is also an amalgam of every Cyberpunk style on the planet.

Snow Crash is one of my favorite books, but it's post cyberpunk, the decendant of the genre and they are slightly different. Cyberpunk is about technology changing culture and rebelling against culture. In Post Cyberpunk, Technology is the new culture. In Cyberpunk, Main Characters are between a rock and a hard place and are cynical pessimists if not complete nihilists. Main Characters in Post-CP are people trying to make the world better. In Cyberpunk, a Hero's Journey out of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces isn't possible, In Post-CP it is.

In terms of Comics and Manga. you need only remember one name: Masmune Shirow. Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Dominion.

Because I'm a film major, I suggest the following films and TV series to you. These might not help you as much because they're not literature:

1. Bladerunner: This IS Cyberpunk. Every SF book written after its release owes something to it.

2.Johnny Mnemonic: Written by William Gibson from his short story. The acting for the most part, sucks bad... But, it's cyberpunk.

3. Max Headroom: One of the definitive representations of a Cyberpunk future. Hard to find though.

4. Robocop: Cyborgs and Megacorporations. Oh yeah.

5. Ghost in the Shell: Based off of Masamune Shirow's Manga, this movie is really good.

The spin-off TV Series, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is the posterchild for Post-Cyberpunk. Also really good.

GiTS takes a lot of ideas from The Selfish Gene.

6. Serial Experiments Lain: This revolves around the Net aspect of CP. BUt, it's ver existential and is very confusing, so you'll have to chug through it. (I have trouble watching it.)

7. Bubblegum Crisis: Owing a lot to Bladerunner and having 2 characters named after it, this show is the Feminist side of Cyberpunk.

8. Dominion Tank Police: One of my favorite shows, it is set in a future with crime so bad the police have to start using tanks. Also from Shirow.

That's all I got.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to say this, but since you're never gonna find a copy, emulate the Sega CD game Snatcher. It's pretty much the best Cybepunk game around, and the soundtrack is absolutely amazing.

The main theme is a jazz sax number called "One Night in Neo Kobe", and to make things even better, the game is by Hideo Kojima :).

Your navigator is called "Metal Gear".

I hope I made your life a bit better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you haven't already considered him, Philip K. Dick has some novels that could be considered Cyberpunk, specifically "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which the movie Bladerunner is based on. The book "Bladerunner" is entirely different, but still good. Also, look into Harlan Ellison and "Repent Harlequin, Said the Ticktockman," which is about what happens when schedule rules a society. As for how it relates, the book is actually simply asking "what makes us human?", something that almost all Cyberpunk stories seek to answer, with varying degrees of success.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The main theme is a jazz sax number called "One Night in Neo Kobe", and to make things even better, the game is by Hideo Kojima :).

Bifecta'd. Great game.

Also, hey this seems like a good spot to plug this..

I'm not much of a reader, but my friend also says you should read Neuromancer. And anything Ghost in the Shell is great, though the manga may be a bit above the adolescent level [those who read it know what I'm talking about. Yay lesbians!]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, No, No, No, No

Cyberpunk is about this:

"Whatever you can do to a rat, you can do to a person, and you can do ANYTHING to a rat"

Cyberpunk is about life being cheap. Cyberpunk was about the future, and is now about the present day. Cyberpunk is dead, and by the very fact we have the internet now, the closest anyone can get is post-cyberpunk or classic cyberpunk, written ironically.

Start with Neuromancer. Don't stop there, because everyone else does and thinks that's what cyberpunk is about. Instead, continue on to Bruce Sterling, who ACTUALLY invented the genre, even if Gibson gets the credit.

I met Bruce Sterling at a con once. Brilliant, facinating man, and he signed my copy of Schismatrix. Read that. Also Noir by K.W. Jeter, it's about a world where pirating basically has the death penalty, and has the greatest opening line of any book ever.

Chi by Alexander Besher is fun, it's about Ladyboys.

Oh, and there is no such thing as Cyberpunk film. Cyberpunk was dead the first time someone tried to visualise it. When you read Neuromancer, note the depth of imagery and tell me if you think film could ever do that justice.

But you want adolecent fiction? Right.

The Web series, various authors. Pulply but fun young adolecent cyberpunk about a metaphorical internet and its repurcussions

Synners, I THINK by Pat Cadigan but could be wrong. (Also note in this one the stark difference in sexual imagary that was pointed out by a lecturer I had a while back. In an adolecent Lit class. She pointed out that in Neuromancer, you "Jack in", but in Synners, you "Take the wire".)

Also, I'd recommend "So Yesterday" by Scott Westerfeld first for being excellent adolescent lit and second for being a great example of post cyberpunk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow that might've been the most elitist post I've ever read.

Hahaha, yeah. Or comes very close.

Just because the internet exists doesn't mean people can't create new cyberpunk. Hell, Deus Ex was 2000.

Also, as far as cyberpunk on film, I'd say Terminator, Total Recall, Blade Runner, The 5th Element, etc did a fucking great job as far as imagery is concerned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quoted for emphasis and truth :lol:

Quoted for emphasis and truth :)

Yeah, I'm a cyberpunk elitist. Actually I was hoping to stir up some interesting controversy. Like this:

Just because the internet exists doesn't mean people can't create new cyberpunk. Hell, Deus Ex was 2000.

Deus Ex was post-cyberpunk, though it could be argued to be on the cusp. Consider, the game explored it's ideas through the format of a video game (played through a computer) where actual computer literacy skills (Typing in username and password, reading email etc) were used to a limited extent. That is to say, the game could not have made its point in the same way without playing on understandings of contemporary levels of tech, of the sort that cyberpunk is usually focused on

However, Deus Ex is Cyberpunk, not post-cyberpunk in content - it did NOT focus on the hacking, that was a means to an end. The actual content was focused on near-future techs such as nanotech which did not actually exist, and a focus on a society that was not yet around. (It's about an anti-terrorist coalition, and plays on a lot of things that didn't happen until september 11 the year later - an interesting bit of prophacy.)

The fact that it merges unironic use of these themes along with the connection between input within and out of the game world (your keyboard is the keyboard in game!) brings a slightly post-modern aspect into things which is why I would classify it as post-cyberpunk. More to the point, it plays around with tropes of cyberpunk. Remember, Cyberpunk was a flash literary genre that worked because it came out of nowhere and did things no-one had seen before. The fact that Deus Ex follows genre conventions means it is aware of genre conventions, which firmly pushes it into post-cyberpunk territory.

There wasn't a second-gen of cyberpunk, really. Writing to ANY genre conventions was against the ideal and ethos of cyberpunk, so anyone doing it must do so with intentional or unintentional irony (much like a manufactured punk music band is ironic).

The fact that Deus Ex does this really, really well, and still manages to tell a good story and make an interesting social comment despite the irony of it's genre tropes simply shows that it is a brilliant work in any case.

Have fun picking out all the holes in that argument, I'm hungover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...