Guest Post: The Pursuit of Cyberpunkness

Here’s a guest post by guest writer Scrivener talking about cyberpunk’s place in our current world. He echoes some of the points I’ve written about, how the old concept of cyberpunk has become our reality. He also makes an great call to action in the last paragraph, and I’d also love to hear your thoughts to his question.


We picture cyberpunk in our minds. We picture it in visuals and concepts, aesthetically and emotionally. We’re drawn to a future that is filled with the dystopian rhythm born from a world exploring its unknown, advancing, adolescent self. We’re drawn to the slick style of the (usually) technologically savvy inhabitants, the seamless or invasive fusion of man with machine in all aspects of life, and the bleak concepts and intriguing ideas only a cyberpunked world can provide. We catch glimpses of these elements and concepts ever-creeping upon our modern time, always feeling like a cyberpunk future is just around the corner — “achievable” (as written by Sinnyo).
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Cyber/Gothic

Cyberpunk is a curious beast – it feels just as virtual as cyberspace itself, and yet it’s based in shocking reality. There’s an art to it all; with all the dingy alleyways, cyborg fashions and towering industrial complexes we see in comics, films and games, cyberpunk feels more fantastical than it wants us to believe. Of course, it is a theme within science fiction – just like space opera, steampunk and raygun gothic adventures – but it’s always felt so much more real, and dare I say, achievable than the others.

I’m not really qualified to talk about how cyberpunk works through exposing realistic human conditions, and I would be stating the obvious when citing its ‘near future’ setting, rather than the distance of a re-imagined past or alien world. That’s all a given. Instead I wonder, how is it that cyberpunk manages to look and feel like it’s only one turn away down a street corner?

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Interview: Dragonkhan from Dragon*Con

I went to Dragon*Con earlier this month as a speaker and as a fan of many aspects of geekdom. The great thing about the conference is that you can meet people of from every sort of fandom possible. It’s a huge convention in Atlanta, spanning across 5 hotels.

One panel I wanted to make sure to see was one on Ghost in the Shell. I arrived early only to find a line already waiting. Luckily I was able to get in and listen to the panel.

One of the moderators was Dennis, aka “DragonKhan”. He also started and moderates the LaughingMan Squad Yahoo! group. What was interesting is that Dennis didn’t fit the stereotype of a “cyberpunk fan”. For one thing, he’s older than Bruce Sterling. But, he was obviously a true fan and I enjoyed the discussion on the panel and wanted to talk to him more.

I asked Dennis to answer some questions about himself and the group. Do check out the Yahoo! group and perhaps contribute. After all, it’s always nice to talk to other enthusiastic fans!

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Interview with William Gibson on NPR

NPR recently had an interview with William Gibson. Although they mentioned his new book, Zero History, they didn’t talk much about it. Instead, it’s a great conversation about science fiction in general.

You can listen to a recording at: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/09/17/midmorning2/

(Thanks to my good friend Christine for pointing it out!)

Read on for some of my thoughts about the interview.

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Users the world over engage in a virtual, multi-user environment in which they, playing the protagonist, must work their way up an increasingly violent learning curve. They share their experiences, of the struggle and of the enemies which seek to destroy them. It is a finite experience, and their journey does have an end; once this endgame arrives, they will start the process afresh.

If you’ll forgive my cheesy comparison, this is not merely a summary of the World of Warcraft-style MMO grind; it is Mercerism, the semi-religious practise carried out in Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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Our Twitter broke

Yeah, not surprising. Well, actually, the problem was on our side. :) The plugin we used to echo posts to Twitter broke because Twitter changed how they accept posts. I posted a few manual updates to Twitter for some posts that didn’t get mentioned. Anyway, I updated the plugin and things should be back to normal.

…famous last words, right?

EDIT: Oops, the tweet went to my Psychochild account instead of the InternetCrashed one. Fixed that up, things should be doomed. I mean fine….

“Virus!” on AfroCyberPunk

Jonathan Dotse from AfroCyberPunk just posted an abridged version of the first chapter of his upcoming novel on his site: Virus!. Go check it out, then continue on for some of my thoughts.

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Cyberpunk movie blurbs

Sorry for the lack of posting recently. Real life has caught up to some of the writers and I was off to a conference across the country.

Anyway, here are some brief thoughts about three cyberpunk type movies: Blade Runner, Inception, and Ghost in the Shell.

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The Cyberpunk Medium

Whilst nobody would have cause (or would wish to) write cyberpunk’s obituary just yet, it’s clear that the theme has diversified, and its ideals have been adopted by many more media, since the 1980s. Lawrence Person wrote to Slashdot about the modern-day iteration of this theme, labelling them ‘post-cyberpunk’. Our own Psychochild has speculated upon the post-cyberpunk future too.

Cyberpunk works have taken a different tone, partly because writers today grew up with this science fiction sub-genre. The content has arguably changed because its once-radical themes have become passé, just as space travel once held a much larger sway in science-fiction. We see cyberpunk everywhere from games to comics and blockbuster films, and not just in our cult bookshelves. Does this dampen the message, or does it actually lend it strength? Are we losing sight of the way cyberpunk is delivered?

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Want to write about cyberpunk?

I started this project asking for volunteers. I was pleasantly surprised by the response I got for the site. But, real life takes its toll and some of the people who originally wanted to write for the site have found their free time in short supply. I certainly do appreciate the interest and effort they put into supporting this project.

But, this site is a lot to do with just a few people who want real social lives. Therefore, I’m asking if any of you, our enthusiastic readers, are interested in stepping forward to write for the site. I’m looking for people who can post up interesting cyberpunk topics to discuss. If you’re interested, send an email with a proposed article to admin@theinternetcrashed.com for consideration.

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