Cyberpunks Not Dead

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My favourite movies are Sci-Fi, but more specifically Cyberpunk is my favourite sub-genre of Sci-Fi. Movies like Blade Runner with brooding, gun toting, outcast protagonists and not so far off futures saturated with super advanced mundane technologies, urban decay, power balances and oppression.

Lately I have noticed that there aren’t a lot of new movies like this, unless they are reboots of pre-existing movies. This got me thinking about why this may be the case. Is it simply because the trend is over? Just like fashion trends, movies have always come in waves, that are hot one minute and then gone the next; the current trend being Super Hero Action Blockbusters.

I can’t help but think however, that it could be more to do with the idea that Cyberpunk as a genre formed as a result of man’s fear of technology. Cyberpunk is always set in a near future where technologies that exist at the time are being used in a way that threatens the survival the lower to middle class everyday people.

“It was cyberspace and console cowboys, leather jackets, Zeiss eye implants, modded Russian knockoff prostheses…The future was bizarre and threatening and also strangely real”. Paolo Bacigalupi

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Could it be that we have somehow become less fearful of technology growing up alongside it? We are currently living in an age where technology advances so quickly, we become complacent to it, unimpressed by it and accepting of it. We are also living in the future described by cyberpunk writers of the past, the technologies are real so it’s not exciting or fantastical anymore.

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We have a clearer idea of where our future is headed already having tapped into Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing and Virtual Reality. Could it be that cyberpunk movies a disappearing  because we have a greater grasp of cyber culture?

What I intend to examine for my research project is the idea of modern day Cyberpunk. I want to form a clear definition of what cyberpunk actually is as both a genre and a culture and I want to pose the question ‘can cyberpunk exist today’ and if so what kind of dystopian visions do we hold for our current technologies? To do this plan to look at recent texts and hold them against a set of cyberpunk criteria.

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