General info: Cyberpunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction. Cyberpunk stories are often set in a near-future environment where digital technologies and virtual reality have only exacerbated social inequality and society’s vices. The term “Cyberpunk” was invented by American writer Bruce Betke, who in November 1983 published a story of the same name in Amazing Science Fiction Stories, which he had written three years before. Moreover, Betke’s character was a “cyberpunk” in the story for only two reasons: he was a hacker and wore a punk hairstyle. A little later, the famous critic and editor Gardner Dozois, reviewing the work of Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, used the word invented by Betke as a term in his interpretation.
Cultural overview: William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Jack Womack, Jeffrey Noon, Lewis Shiner, Walter Jon Williams, George Alec Effinger.
The founding of the cyberpunk movement is often credited to the American authors Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. Subsequently, it was Sterling who became the main ideologist of the literary movement. The release of William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer is recognized as the real date of birth of cyberpunk as a literary phenomenon.
Meaning: Cyberpunk tales revolve around the corruption of a technologically developing world, further cementing class disparities and leading to the rise of monolithic governments and/or corporations. Technology has advanced to the point that cybernetics and interfacing directly with computers is commonplace, but unrestrained capitalism has resulted in a kind of social breakdown. Main characters in Cyberpunk stories often live in the lower rungs of society Gardner Dozois defined cyberpunk as high tech/low life, meaning that the genre tells about a high-tech world, but extremely poor, financially, morally, and spiritually.
Most used keywords: #Virtual reality #cyborg #biorobot #MegaCorps #urban, #slums #eternal life #high-tech #futuristic #luxury #mafia
Distinctive traits of symbols:
At one end of the Cyberpunk world lies perverse luxury, while at the other end there is an absolute lack of personal rights, hopeless poverty of urban slums, the lawlessness of megacorporations, (mostly) corrupt law enforcement agencies, and domineering mafia clans. The visual style of cyberpunk is detective noir dressed up in futuristic clothes, diluted with the mythology of the Western genre with its cult surrounding that of the loner-type character.
Some of the most popular topics in Cyberpunk are new technologies like virtual reality and physically connecting to cyberspace, various human transformations and improvements: i.e. biorobots, cyborgs, the possibility of eternal life, and so on.
Another feature of classic cyberpunk is its heroes, who are usually outlaws. In the context of Cyberpunk, these are not necessarily criminals, although they are often perceived as such by society. Usually these are conscious outsiders who do not want to “keep pace” at the behest of those in power.