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Monday, March 8, 2010

A Word About Genre: Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a portmanteau (one of the greatest words ever!) of cybernetics and punk. The plots are based upon developed technologies, especially information technologies, artificial intelligence and hackers who manipulate the intended purposes or control of these technologies. The protagonists are frequently hackers, misfits, dissenters, criminals - essentially anti-heroes and cowboys. I find that it is easy to connect and love these heroes because they are typically flawed and damaged people.

Another classic element is dystopia, oppressive societies, fascist dictators, overly powerful corporations, etc. The world is generally in social decay. Often, the setting is Earth in the present and not too distance future. Societal critique is often present, linking this genre to social sci-fi. The prophesied futures tend to be on the paranoid side, our worst fears about where technology may lead us.

Classics Examples:
Neuromancer - William Gibson
The Matrix Series - Wochowski brothers
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (AKA Blade Runner) - Philip K. Dick

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