Even if you’re not a ‘sci-fi nerd’, even if you’ve never heard the term cyberpunk before – you’ve most likely seen a Cyberpunk-influenced piece of literature, film, or art within the last two decades. So, what exactly does Cyberpunk mean, and why has it been so immensely influential within the sci-fi genre? Let’s break it down!
In this article, we explore Mostly Everything You Need To About Cyberpunk:
Cyberpunk In Literature
The Cyberpunk movement in sci-fi found its footing during the 1980s – with the works of James Patrick Kelly, Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling. This was the beginning of our “digital revolution” – the whole world was going through a technological shift. The literature (mostly fiction) explored the changing place of media in society in the wake of unprecedented technological advances.
The protagonists in Cyberpunk literature are rockers, hackers and other cultural rebels – often trapped in a culture characterized by mass conformity and corporate control. These characters were committed to spreading resistant messages despite powerful mechanisms to control the masses. They often tap into a digital database to access information about corporations and their secret conspiracies.
It can be argued that Cyberpunk has been the most powerful influence on science fiction over the past few decades, bridging the gap between two worlds that were conventionally kept separate: technology and the modern pop underground.
Cyberpunk In Film
Cyberpunk has been able to penetrate Hollywood and emerge as one of cinema’s staple science-fiction styles. Mainstream films like the Matrix trilogy and Blade Runner fully adopt the Cyberpunk vogue. This stream of similar movie storyline and aesthetic isn’t ending anytime soon! Cyberpunk will continue to be the genre that pushes the boundaries, exploring the intersection of high-tech and humanity. It also serves to blur the lines between organic and artificial intelligence. All of these themes are increasingly relevant in today’s world.
Apart from films – board games, PC Games and role-playing games like Shadowrun, or (aptly titled) Cyberpunk 2020 consists of storylines that are strongly influenced by Cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk In Fashion
From the early 1990s, trends in fashion began to be categorized as Cyberpunk. It’s important to establish that, as with all fashion, there are no hard-and-fast “rules” for Cyberpunk. The theme generally consists of a rough, hard-edged with a twinge of 1980’s retro. You’ll also see lots of leather, mostly (if not all) black.
There’s also a military influence (such as the Militech-style items) on Cyberpunk fashion. The accessories include cowboy boots, mirrorshades, as well as canvas or leather jika-tabi.
Cyberpunk In Art
Cyberpunk Art often explores the themes of life in the digital age, or how intellectual capital flows from country to country. You’ll see many pieces that show a city’s skyline from afar, whether portraying it as strange, spectacular, or totally ordinary. Cyberpunk art also explores the exploitative labor practices that can potentially get used in a digitalized society.
Cyberpunk art has redefined the ways in which Asian cities have been represented in Western and Japanese science fiction narratives and continues to give us glimpses of a high-tech, potentially dystopian society.
The influence of Cyberpunk is evident in all forms of art today. With highly anticipated film releases like Blade Runner 2049 The Matrix 4 and Cyberpunk 2077 – the movement shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
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