The other night I watched this documentary, No Maps for These Territories. It’s an interview with William Gibson, who pretty much invented the Cyberpunk sub-genre of science fiction. There were some other author involved, but after watching this documentary and reflecting on my own readings of Gibson’s Burning Chrome anthology and his Sprawl Trilogy, I realized that in my mind that stuff IS cyberpunk. Gibson’s vision is it.

Anything else I’ve read that had the “cyberpunk” label attached has been at least a little disappointing. I think Gibson’s vision is so rich and so deep that for anyone else to really do what he did, well, they’d just be seen as copying him.

One of the best histories of the genesis of cyberpunk appears in Victoria Blake’s introduction to Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Evolution, and Revolution.

The only thing I’ve seen that really visually looks like Cyberpunk is Blade Runner. Gibson has said that he was writing Neuromancer when Blade Runner came out, and he was afraid people would think he simply copied Ridley Scott. Apparently the more recent Netflix series Altered Carbon takes its visual style from Blade Runner. You can’t overemphasize the impact of Blade Runner. Everything else I’ve seen, including the film adaptation of Gibson’s short story Johnny Mnemonic, look like over the top Duran Duran videos.

Not sure where I’m going with this. To sum up. I like the novels of William Gibson, I like Blade Runner, I will check out Altered Carbon.

2 thoughts on “Cyberpunk

  1. Eric Sanders

    Take a look at Harry Harrison’s A Transatlantic Tunnel Hurrah! Not really cyber punk more of steam punk ala Jules Verne but still a good read. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?


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