Cyberpunk Review » Neon Ocean: The Sub/Superculture, Overness and Overarchingness of Cyberpunk

May 5, 2008

Neon Ocean: The Sub/Superculture, Overness and Overarchingness of Cyberpunk

Every so-often, someone declares cyberpunk is dead… mostly out of wishful thinking. When that happens, there are others who declare cyberpunk is still alive and kicking (ass). Wired’s Bruce Sterling discovered a blog by chirsminotaur that starts off with a question: “Is Cyberpunk Over?” Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell us where the question, or the discussion it triggered, was located. Instead, his reflection of the question becomes a rather interesting read as he gives his own answer:

Cyberpunk isn’t over- in more than one sense, cyberpunk is (becoming) everything.


Let’s put the future behind us. Among chisminotaur’s inspirations include a blog by Charlie Stross, who rips into sci-fi and explains his own attraction to cyberpunk. Stross sees SF being threatened by several factors:

1) Star Wars and how every SF novel wants to be like it.
2) Today’s technology has made sci-fi less necessary to prepare for the future:

We don’t need SF for pre-adaptation to the future: the future is now.

3) Sci-fi for baby-boomers won’t work for the millennium generation.
4) Advances in computer technology itself has made highly realistic special effects for movies and TV:

Meanwhile, we’re competing in the special effects stakes with TV, film, and increasingly, computer games. Back in the 1950s or even 1960s, special effects were so poor that, for real sense of wonder, no visual medium could compete with written literature. But today, if you’re a writer who strives for versimilitude or believability, you can’t compete with film! (After all, you know damn well you can’t hear explosions in space, even if those bloody franchise productions insist on putting them in …)

The gap between the visual imagination of things, and the literary imagination of the universe, has narrowed.

While there seems to be nothing to cure #2 and #4, Stross sees cyberpunk as a relief from #1 and #3.


One more thing… A link from WordPress’ blogroll gives this blog from David Mendoza, who proudly proclaims that CP is NOW.



UPDATE: Ryan “Winter” Span gives his two bytes. Our burgeoning Street scribe also has something to say about cyberpunk’s “death:”

From Street of Eyes:

What we’re doing now in science-fiction — what I certainly am trying to do — is to investigate the effects of these predicted futures (increasing computerisation of humanity, the promise of true artificial intelligence, the growth of the internet) on the individual human psyche, rather than some great collective unconscious or Earth itself. We’re using characters as characters rather than set-pieces in some big statement about human nature or the dangers of science. We’re taking modern-day phenomena and anomalies that no one foresaw twenty years ago, and we’re running with them. Instead of showing you a window through which you can look at causes, effects and possibilities, we’re trying to figure out how the future is going to feel to each of us. I’ve seen many visions of how it’s going to turn out. What I want to look into is how we’re going to cope.

Anyone who’s still not convinced that CP is still operating should head over to the Street of Eyes, order his book, and READ IT!!!!!

This post has been filed under Internet Find by Mr. Roboto.


May 5, 2008

Pearry Teo said:

Nice find!

In my opinion though, I always find the people writing those ‘CP or any culture’ is dead to be pretty insulting. It really does put CP into a category of the ‘in’ thing or whatever. Personally, I like to think of CP as something that belongs to someone, probably personally. Whether or not it is dead should be of no concern, since CP in instead is not a mainstream culture or an ‘in’ thing that people get involved in. What is alive and kicking and what is dead is usually reserved for the ‘Star’ and US Weekly’ magazine hoarders and I like to think of CP as my own. :)

Ryan V said:

I suppose the question might be, to phrase a different Sterling article I read recently, for all the cyber we indisputably have, how punk are we?

I think the very arguments and devotion to cyberpunk are enough reason to say that it’s still around and thriving, else there wouldn’t be anyone to defend it.

Me, I’ve always been a cyberpunk. But I’m trying to make sense of the ungodly amounts of information crawling around so I can begin to use it!

n30 said:

the real information comes for the lack of it… everything is manipulated and reworked all the time as a big puzzle with a bunch of same pieces… who knows in what to believe or not, maybe the CP culture was all designed in our backs and we never had seen… i just believe in the fact that the truth is in our hearts, minds and actions and not in articles and books and movies and on and on… media is a big bunch of trash made to keep you busy instead of take action… maybe this is about the real CP angle or view… to keep yourself away from the self proclamed truth and to make u build your won one trough facts and privacy breaks (social engineering and hard hacking actions in personal bases)…

know what… the truth comes in the facts… it’s all… i feel cyberpunk not as a style… but as a way of life… this is much more then a million of people can write in years and years of articles… this is in my blood…

Haywire said:

Saying cyberpunk is dead is like saying Noir Fiction or Film Noir is dead. Now that it seems the future has caught up with us and the trappings of classic cyberpunk no longer seem to extrapolate to the “real future” accurately. Cyberpunk has become similar to Steampunk, a genre that exists outside time, it isn’t the past nor is it the future. Cyberpunk, has now undergone a similar transition and now embodies a writing style and an atmosphere, not a timeline.

May 6, 2008

stn said:

I think the main problem with cyberpunk is its negative impact of technology. 20 years ago, when computers didn’t really exist, nanotechnology and biomedecine were to developp. The future that lies before is so great thanks to technology, cyberpunk fails in its “mission” to foresee upcoming dangers.
While it is very interesting from a narrative point of view, and as SF, it has helped the readers / viewers to imagine the future in their very own way, i think that it only reflects fears and not reality.

May 19, 2008

Fer The Angst Boy (Mx) said:

I hope you will speak soon about the cyberpunk in a semiotical meaning…

Nowadays the word cyberpunk can refer to other phenomena
Cyberpunk like an adjective that designates dynamic relations of control - conduct, appearances and possible realities.
Virtuality and reality.

We´re only dreams_

I like this cyberpunk place.

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