Let's Talk Cyberpunk...

Huntn

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I am not all that knowledgeable about Cyberpunk as a genre, but I have seen several movies that impress me and a game I am currently playing Cyberpunk 2077 that is very impressive.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of low-life and high tech"[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2] Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, John Brunner, J. G. Ballard, Philip José Farmer and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction.


  • Bladerunner (1982)
DC728704-4DF8-422D-8D15-74199A36A7FE.jpeg
  • Bladerunner 2049 (2017)
25546719-E8AC-4655-9B68-42B296D92E32.jpeg
  • Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
CF4A6CEF-B921-4C80-A172-8025B3540A5F.jpeg
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)- video game.
FA9DE8A1-F8F3-43FD-BE59-1E49BD03B775.jpeg

List of Cyberpunk movies: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/best-cyberpunk-movies/
One huge difference between Bladerunner 2049 and Cyberpunk 2077, is that Bladerunner looks like a giant slum as in most of the city, while CP77 has parts that look great, although there are run down neighborhoods. I think it was an artistic and possibly a technology decision to film Blade Runner dark, with a lot of emphasis on pollution.
I don’t know if I’d categorize Minority Report as Cyberpunk, would you?
 
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Alli

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Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of low-life and high tech"[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2] Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, John Brunner, J. G. Ballard, Philip José Farmer and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction.
Some of my favorite authors. I love cyberpunk.
 

Huntn

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Some of my favorite authors. I love cyberpunk.
I’ve read quite a bit of Phillip Dick, and Harlen Ellison, a while back. Any others you have read? He did not write cyberpunk, but one of my favorite SciFI authors of that time period was Ray Bradbury, as I think of The Martian Chronicles which described the colonization of Mars and the dead race of Martians. The stories are intriguing, some sad, they moved me.

D79334C1-BB8F-44E3-AB68-ED566F5E3447.jpeg
 

Alli

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I’ve read quite a bit of Phillip Dick, and Harlen Ellison, a while back. Any others you have read? He did not write cyberpunk, but one of my favorite SciFI authors of that time period was Ray Bradbury, as I think of The Martian Chronicles which described the colonization of Mars and the dead race of Martians. The stories are intriguing, some sad, they moved me.

The Martian Chronicles is a beautiful collection. Don't forget the father of all cyberpunk, William Gibson! He pretty much created the genre.
 

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I am not all that knowledgeable about Cyberpunk as a genre, but I have seen several movies that impress me and a game I am currently playing Cyberpunk 2077 that is very impressive.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of low-life and high tech"[1] featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.[2] Much of cyberpunk is rooted in the New Wave science fiction movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when writers like Philip K. Dick, Roger Zelazny, John Brunner, J. G. Ballard, Philip José Farmer and Harlan Ellison examined the impact of drug culture, technology, and the sexual revolution while avoiding the utopian tendencies of earlier science fiction.


  • Bladerunner (1982)
  • Bladerunner 2049 (2017)
  • Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)- video game.

List of Cyberpunk movies: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/best-cyberpunk-movies/
One huge difference between Bladerunner 2049 and Cyberpunk 2077, is that Bladerunner looks like a giant slum as in most of the city, while CP77 has parts that look great, although there are run down neighborhoods. I think it was an artistic and possibly a technology decision to film Blade Runner dark, with a lot of emphasis on pollution.
I don’t know if I’d categorize Minority Report as Cyberpunk, would you?
If you want to dive into the genre, start with William GIbson's Neuromancer and then read the whole Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer 1983, Count Zero 1986, Mona Lisa Overdrive 1988). The whole genre is "punk" with some really cheap pulp level stuff, but the idea of a "modular human being" was really well established there. Gibson had to rewrite Neuromancer when Blade Runner came out because the two were very much alike and he was concerned that his book will be considered a rip off of BR. Now I think he was very very much inspired by Tron, when he describes Black Ice rolling through cyberspace. Yet again, what I like about the genre is it isn't trying to pretend to be original, yet its originality emerges with the big picture.

The Matrix was on the margin of plagiarism, the way it was inspired by Ghost In the Shell and Neuromancer. Even the cyber Rastas were something Gibson really emphasized. Fun fact Gibson was much better at finding the right kind of music for the genre than the makers of Matrix: Dub Techno.

The next stop is Ghost in the Shell the movie (the first is a classic). Then Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex... My frustration with the genre is that these are supposed to be cautionary tales of morality and tech and not fucking blueprints to tomorrow's dystopia.

Then I highly recommend the Black Mirror Anthology, which has some exquisite cyberpunk stories.

And then you can enjoy West World's season #3 which is like a mash up of Neuromancer and GITS.

Altered Carbon season #1 was also very very good. It also has been a great wink out to Gibson about how the acquisition of alien tech can lead to our downfall if our morals lag behind the technology.
 
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Altered Carbon season #1 was also very very good. It also has been a great wink out to Gibson about how the acquisition of alien tech can lead to our downfall if our morals lag behind the technology.

Season 2 was based on a different book if I'm not mistaken. It lacked the character building though, which made me sad.
 

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If you want to dive into the genre, start with William GIbson's Neuromancer and then read the whole Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer 1983, Count Zero 1986, Mona Lisa Overdrive 1988).

The next stop is Ghost in the Shell the movie (the first is a classic). Then Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex... My frustration with the genre is that these are supposed to be cautionary tales of morality and tech and not fucking blueprints to tomorrow's dystopia.

Then I highly recommend the Black Mirror Anthology, which has some exquisite cyberpunk stories.
Yeah, I've been reading Cyberpunk since I started reading fairly "adult" type literature in my early teens. I quoted most of this post as I think it's a great reference / starting point (see bold ...)

The ONLY place to start is with Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy. Side note, his collaboration with Bruce Sterling on The Difference Engine is consider the foundation work that started the Steampunk genre, and for Sterling - more on topic - I'd recommend Schismatrix and some of his anthologies like Mirrorshades.

Another +1 for Ghost in the Shell, and Black MIrror, the latter always has a bit of Cyberpunk-ish-ness to it (it's kind of Zone + Outer Limits + <the modern dilemma of tech dependency>), I'd say the EPs range from decent to mostly "pretty good", to a few "this is some of the best TV I've ever seen". YMMV.

I'd highly recommend Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, it's certainly Cyberpunk, but it can be taken as a bit of a parody, incredible concept ("crashing" a human being by introducing virus based on language). Also The Diamond Age, by him, it's a less "punk", in fact, I've seen it called "Post-Cyberpunk", but still terrific.

Also, the comic series, Transmetropolitan, incredible writing and art,the writer, Warren Ellis also was the showrunner for the superlative Castlevania animated series (er, that's not Cyberpunk ... ;D), but he was also involved in some sexual coercion of assistants, etc., last I read he had left most projects and claimed to be getting hit shit together.
 

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The (seriously superb) author Scott Lynch has written a couple of wonderfully good cyber punk short stories.
 

Huntn

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The Martian Chronicles is a beautiful collection. Don't forget the father of all cyberpunk, William Gibson! He pretty much created the genre.

If you want to dive into the genre, start with William GIbson's Neuromancer and then read the whole Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer 1983, Count Zero 1986, Mona Lisa Overdrive 1988). The whole genre is "punk" with some really cheap pulp level stuff, but the idea of a "modular human being" was really well established there. Gibson had to rewrite Neuromancer when Blade Runner came out because the two were very much alike and he was concerned that his book will be considered a rip off of BR. Now I think he was very very much inspired by Tron, when he describes Black Ice rolling through cyberspace. Yet again, what I like about the genre is it isn't trying to pretend to be original, yet its originality emerges with the big picture.

The Matrix was on the margin of plagiarism, the way it was inspired by Ghost In the Shell and Neuromancer. Even the cyber Rastas were something Gibson really emphasized. Fun fact Gibson was much better at finding the right kind of music for the genre than the makers of Matrix: Dub Techno.

The next stop is Ghost in the Shell the movie (the first is a classic). Then Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex... My frustration with the genre is that these are supposed to be cautionary tales of morality and tech and not fucking blueprints to tomorrow's dystopia.

Then I highly recommend the Black Mirror Anthology, which has some exquisite cyberpunk stories.

And then you can enjoy West World's season #3 which is like a mash up of Neuromancer and GITS.

Altered Carbon season #1 was also very very good. It also has been a great wink out to Gibson about how the acquisition of alien tech can lead to our downfall if our morals lag behind the technology.
I‘ve started Neuromancer, very easy to slide into, reminds me of film noir, pulp fiction, even Dixon Hill. Thanks for the suggestion, both of you! :)

You mentioned the Matrix, surprised to see something called Matrix in Neuromancer. I’m waiting to see if this is the Cyberspace, an artificial reality. They mentioned Night City which also pops up in Cyberpunk 2077.

Westworld Season 3 turned me off just because. ;) After the first 2 seasons, it was like changing gears into something I did not care for.

Also watching Altered Carbon (Netflix). Maybe it’s a fad that will pass. ;)
 
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I‘ve started Neuromancer, very easy to slide into, reminds me of film noir, pulp fiction, even Dixon Hill. Thanks for the suggestion, both of you! :)

You mentioned the Matrix, surprised to see something called Matrix in Neuromancer. I’m waiting to see if this is the Cyberspace, an artificial reality. They mentioned Night City which also pops up in Cyberpunk 2077.

Westworld Season 3 turned me off just because. ;) After the first 2 seasons, it was like changing gears into something I did not care for.

Also watching Altered Carbon (Netflix). Maybe it’s a fad that will pass. ;)
I mean, the Matrix was very much "inspired" by Neuromancer. But if you read through the Sprawl Trilogy (don't want to spoil it), Gibson had a much much more intriguing story to explain the events. Something only Altered Carbon touched upon when it comes to TV/Movies.

I absolutely hated WW season 1 and 2 it was a big pile of bluff while the makers were desperate to come up with an actual story, which they succeeded with in Season 3. So yeah, if you anticipated a continuity with S1 and S2 it was a let down, if you started watching the show at S3, then it was great IMHO.

Altered Carbon season 1 really captured the essence of Cyperpunk. Like the totally unnecessary violence and nudity stretched to an extreme to make it comical, but also relevant in displaying how our emotions towards our bodies change if they are modular/exchangeable.
 

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Oh and another unexpected cyberpunk:
Haruki Murakami (Nobel laureate in literature) - Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. What amazed me about the book is that it was written in 1985, but reading it on the subways of Tokyo in 2017, I really thought it was a recent book. How to make tech/cyberpunk not go obsolete in 3 decades is really really an impressive feat.
 

Huntn

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I mean, the Matrix was very much "inspired" by Neuromancer. But if you read through the Sprawl Trilogy (don't want to spoil it), Gibson had a much much more intriguing story to explain the events. Something only Altered Carbon touched upon when it comes to TV/Movies.

I absolutely hated WW season 1 and 2 it was a big pile of bluff while the makers were desperate to come up with an actual story, which they succeeded with in Season 3. So yeah, if you anticipated a continuity with S1 and S2 it was a let down, if you started watching the show at S3, then it was great IMHO.

Altered Carbon season 1 really captured the essence of Cyperpunk. Like the totally unnecessary violence and nudity stretched to an extreme to make it comical, but also relevant in displaying how our emotions towards our bodies change if they are modular/exchangeable.
The premise of West World that not only androids gain the equivalence of consciousness, but that they seek their freedom and with the help of a human who orchestrates their insurrection is completely awesome. Agreement is not required. ;) And the story is cleverly told with intrigue as humans find themselves in over their heads at all levels.

Season 3 was a complete change of gears, where these androids are now savy players in the wotrld of human technology, economics, and culture, although as androids they could be fast learners and this is a valid direction for this story, I just didn’t care for it. As I recall it felt short changed. It may be because it shifted from a world I thought I understood into an alien world of the future.
 

Huntn

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I just finished Neuromancer an 80’s cyberpunk story that was ahead of it’s time, involving an AI and some of today’s cyberpunk genre key elements. Some of it is very clear and atmospheric and other parts not so much.

The issue with this story imo, is when the author jumps into cyberspace his writing tends to become psychedelic and disjointed as if he is describing in many cases something along the lines of what I imagine a bad acid trip would be like. I’m on my second read through to see if I can digest these sections a little better to decide if I want to continue with the second book.

The most interesting aspect of the story is that it was written before the internet was a thing to most people and cyberspace is described as a realm you enter with you consciousness while hooked to a computer, a virtual reality, very close to reality as all of your senses are involved.
 

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I just finished Neuromancer an 80’s cyberpunk story that was ahead of it’s time, involving an AI and some of today’s cyberpunk genre key elements. Some of it is very clear and atmospheric and other parts not so much.

The issue with this story imo, is when the author jumps into cyberspace his writing tends to become psychedelic and disjointed as if he is describing in many cases something along the lines of what I imagine a bad acid trip would be like. I’m on my second read through to see if I can digest these sections a little better to decide if I want to continue with the second book.

The most interesting aspect of the story is that it was written before the internet was a thing to most people and cyberspace is described as a realm you enter with you consciousness while hooked to a computer, a virtual reality, very close to reality as all of your senses are involved.
One of my all time favorites. He was very much ahead of his time.
 

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I just finished Neuromancer an 80’s cyberpunk story that was ahead of it’s time, involving an AI and some of today’s cyberpunk genre key elements. Some of it is very clear and atmospheric and other parts not so much.

The issue with this story imo, is when the author jumps into cyberspace his writing tends to become psychedelic and disjointed as if he is describing in many cases something along the lines of what I imagine a bad acid trip would be like. I’m on my second read through to see if I can digest these sections a little better to decide if I want to continue with the second book.

The most interesting aspect of the story is that it was written before the internet was a thing to most people and cyberspace is described as a realm you enter with you consciousness while hooked to a computer, a virtual reality, very close to reality as all of your senses are involved.
It advances in the Sprawl trilogy, but sure I've had moments I had no idea what he was writing about. It's just part of the genre: punk. Vague, corrupted and unapologetic about it.
 

Huntn

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There is a game I’m playing, Cyberpunk 2077, which has it’s flaws but some interesting music tracks that I imagine some of you would absolutely hate. :)

I’m curious how these songs are received by TA forum members? These are not songs I would purchase for general listening enjoyment, but they seem to fit this game quite well. :)

Inexplicably I am drawn to these among others as an appropriate accompaniment to Cyberpunk: :D

Violence by Le Destroy & The Bait

Pon Pon Shit by Namakopuri & Us Cracks

Pain by Le Destroy (profanity in this song)

Hole in the Sun by Point Break Candy (profanity in this song)

It advances in the Sprawl trilogy, but sure I've had moments I had no idea what he was writing about. It's just part of the genre: punk. Vague, corrupted and unapologetic about it.
In my second read through, it progressing more coherently because I am acclimated. I assume I’ll be continuing with the second book.
 
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