Saturday, March 25, 2017

CyberPunk Defined

CyberPunk: What every fan needs to know

Cyberpunk: a genre that focuses on the juxtaposition of a world filled with high technology and a crumbling/breakdown of  the established social order

Have you ever heard the term 'cyberpunk' and you don't know exactly what that means? Does it intrigue you and yet confuse you a bit at the same time? No worries! We'll dig down deep to the root of the genre and figure out what it's all about.

First of all, cyberpunk books, movies and stories have elements of science fiction that focus on major advancements in technology that should change the world for the better. Medical tech, communications, transportation and finances are just some of the ways that technological advancements might change the way society operates. The unfortunate aspect of cyberpunk that makes it more dystopian than not, is that these advancements are usually the harbingers of the end of democracy, humanitarianism and social order in general. The glaring differences in the glamour of high tech and the dysfunction of broken society makes cyberpunk an often evocative storytelling platform. 

Have I seen cyberpunk and I didn't know it? Well, sure! Let's look at some popular books or movies that could be labeled cyberpunk, but very rarely are.

Though often labeled horror, Brian Lumley's Psychomech Trilogy has so many cyberpunk traits that I don't think it can be ignored as a reading choice for cyber fans. A blind man is taken in by a seemingly well-meaning man who believes in the powers of ESP. Using high-tech machinery, the blind man explores the powers of the human mind and everything that exists beyond. A definite must-read.

Initially appearing as a serial in Young Magazine in 1982, Akira is a manga by Otomo Katsuhiro that takes place in futuristic Tokyo. The story features Tetuso Shima, a gang member in  Neo-Tokyo after the devastation of World War III. While riding in the ruins of the city he has an accident and latent psychic powers are unleashed. Set with a backdrop of political and scientific upheaval, Tetsuo discovers a mysterious man named Akira. 

I had to add this movie here, because it's one of my favorites. When I first watched it I had no idea what genre the movie fit into, I just loved it. 

Set in an alternate 1999, during the craziness of the Y2K hysteria, a cop-turned-street hustler discovers a conspiracy to cover up the murder of a rapper named Jericho One by police. The cop's evidence comes in the form of data disks that record life through a person's eyes. "Jacking in" to the disks is like a drug in this version of 1999 LA, and our cop is an addict. 

So now you have an idea of what types of movies, books and manga are cyberpunk. There are many other examples, of course, but you get the idea! Now that you know what makes cyberpunk special, it's time to get out there and discover more in this genre. Lovers of dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and SF novels will surely find something to love in cyberpunk. 

If I've interested you in cyberpunk, give my newest novel REDSHIFT a try. Redshift melds the elements of cyberpunk with romance, adventure and a bit of time-travel just for fun. Redshift is currently available for preorder and it will release on March 27th. 

A mysterious wormhole appeared on the edge of the Nevada desert in 2018, and Dr. Rand Hazen and his team were first on site to study it. When the wormhole went into flux it took the town and Rand's lover with it. Rand followed her, desperate to find her, and found himself in the far, far future in the last days of humanity. 

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