Cyberpunk Review » io9 Is Looking for America’s Most Cyberpunk Places.

September 5, 2011

io9 Is Looking for America’s Most Cyberpunk Places.

Source: io9, and a few other places.

io9’s Charlie Jane Anders is looking for the most cyberpunk places in the USA. Think you know of a place that qualifies?

Cyberpunk is no longer the future. We’re living in an age in which many of the visions of creators like Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Pat Cadigan and Ridley Scott are invading our world today. (Opening paragraph from io9 article)

But you already knew that. Right?

We’ve been following the technologies and events that show how we are rapidly advancing to a cyberpunk world, even if some of it is by accident. Hacker wars, cybernetics, the Internet, megacorps, … these are now part of everyday life. And io9 is looking for places in America that show the country hasn’t devolved into an ultra-conservative tea-fag-party run by brainless rape magnets. There are people who do read Gibson and Sterling, opting to use Ayn Rand for kindling for their oil-barrel fires. While other cities of the world have already made such the conversion, and inspired the cyberpunk vision, io9 wants America to join the party, whether it’s a private hackspace or a major metropolitan sprawl fulfilling the cyberpunk prophecy.


From theory to practice. The sudden interest in finding cyberpunk places can be traced to an essay, Cyberpunk Cities: Science Fiction Meets Urban Theory by Carl Abott that was published in 2007. You can download the essay from here via the Pasta & Vinegar blog. P&V found the essay interesting, but this particular paragraph caught his attention:

Because the cyberpunk subgenre draws on ideas that ascribe power to technological change and global capitalism as all-encompassing forces, it offers relatively little direct guidance for planners. However, it does suggest the need for flexibility, for seeing plans as reflexive processes intended as frameworks for responding to inherent instability. It also suggests the value of creating opportunities for spontaneous and informal social institutions by loosening building codes, preserving low-rent commercial spaces, and making information infrastructures as ubiquitous and cheap as possible.

In other words, planning should be less like “planning” and more like “adapting”. Are there any places that are like that in America?



Vegas, baby! You want to focus on the underground? Las Vegas would be the place to start. Beneath the glitz and glamor of the strip…

… lies a very different reality of Vegas.

More pics like these can be found on the Place Hacking urban exploration blog, where they find not only a moment of clarity regarding their activities, but an underground economy that could very well be the definition of cyberpunkness:

Given that our crew has now started squatting space in London, are we really all that different? And if we are bridging the gap between urban explorers and hobos, tramps and bums, following Anderson, what are we? Does that dreaded monstrosity the prohobo – the hobo that chooses to be homeless yet retains the ability to photograph, blog and scam the internet for money as well as picking pockets and robbing Liddle for fixtures to BBQ vegetables looted from the skip actually exist? Is this Donna Haraway’s cyborg, neither nature nor culture, human nor computer, neither employed nor homeless? Are we becoming as liminal as the spaces we increasingly reside in? Are we finally getting close to the meld? I hope so, cause I can’t wait to pop.

OmniCorp Detroit. (Official OCD website/blog) The former Motor City has been one of the U.S.A.’s most cyberpunk cities for some time now.

Just a couple of minor details to make it complete.

OCD is best described as a group of artisans and tinkerers who are into, as they put it, making, breaking, reshaping and hacking all sorts of things! They hold events like Maker Faires and Open Hack Nights. Sound like the kind of group that could be helpful in an urban wasteland.


Microsoft’s House of the Future. Touch-top tables? Refrigerators that can order food when you run low? A hot tub with an underwater music system?

A full-size model already exists, complete with digital devices for walls and tabletops in the kitchen and living room. It’s the kind of pad that only corporate-type cyberpunks - like Bill Gates - can afford. Dare to dream.


Other points of interest. Some other spots include a hackerspace in New York City, a latino art gallery in San Francisco, and a converted Los Angeles warehouse.

Think you know of a place that qualifies? Shoot an email to, and if it does, it just might appear in io9’s next issue of The Most Cyberpunk Places in the U.S.A.

This post has been filed under Internet Find, Essays, Cyberpunked living by Mr. Roboto.


[…] Cyberpunk Review » io9 Is Looking for America’s Most Cyberpunk … From theory to practice. The sudden interest in finding cyberpunk places can be traced to an essay, Cyberpunk Cities: Science Fiction Meets Urban Theory by Carl Abott that was published in 2007. You can download the … Source: […]

September 10, 2011

Dmpstrbaby said:

Need to upgrade your artificial eye to military standard. Want to buy credit cards without tracing ship in them? Looking for reflex enhancing drug? Or maybe you just have lots of dollar to spend in a black market!

Come visit us! Kowloon is waiting for you!

September 11, 2011

Smart said:

Ayn Rand as kindling? You’re an idiot.

September 12, 2011

SSJKamui said:

Sounds interesting. In the new forums, we have a thread for this, too.

I also found some interesting CP Places in some bigger cities near my hometown. Some photos of this are posted in this thread I mentioned.

September 18, 2011

saintsally said:

Dude, were the “fag” and “rape magnet” monikers REALLY necessary? In this day and age, you don’t come off as edgy or hardcore by using those; just kind of backwards and moronic. I thought the point of this post was that we are no longer existing in 1986…?

In terms of most cyberpunk places in America, I’d cast my vote in for New York - it seems to be developing in that direction, if not there entirely yet.

September 25, 2011

Katalyst said:

I will be following this intently.
Vancouver is fairly hightech although not a lot of low life…

If you search Surrey Central Mall in Surrey BC, you can find something comparable to cyberpunk although the cyber isn’t all there.

October 1, 2011

Akodo Akira said:

No one has mentioned Singapore? High Tech industries, ulra modern buildings, densely packed, urban social stratification, and glittering perfection mixed with rubble strewn poor tenements.

Wow. Check it.

November 12, 2011

Jin the Ninja said:

@ Smart, Ayn Rand isn’t even worthy of kindling. It’s worthy of toilet paper at best.

November 26, 2011

Smart said:

She’s worthy of a Pulitzer. Don’t cry just because you’re too lazy to move up.

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