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C.T. Phipps

The Cyberpunk thread

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Cool.

For me, it's about the physical hardware (cybernetics) and the social injustice. By your definition, Deus Ex isn't a cyberpunk game because there's no internet parts.

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I never played those games, weirdly, so I can't comment. I think people tend to confuse dystopian scifi and cyberpunk quite a lot though.

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22 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

I never played those games, weirdly, so I can't comment. I think people tend to confuse dystopian scifi and cyberpunk quite a lot though.

Eh, I go with Mike Pondsmith on this.

"High tech, low life."

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That seems way too generic to me. By that definition Demolition Man and arguable parts of Star Wars are cyberpunk.

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20 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

That seems way too generic to me. By that definition Demolition Man and arguable parts of Star Wars are cyberpunk.

Well Demolition Man is clearly inspired by cyberpunk in the context of being a bunch of rebels against a conformist society with our protagonist standing in the middle. I'm very much of a belief that cyberpunk is less about the tech and hardware (though that's always there) than the rebellious angry attitude.

Obviously most genres are kind of a Venn diagram with stuff squarely in the middle and gradually moving out until stuff isn't X genre at all.

Like grimdark.

Neon Dystopia--a site I hope to someday be registered on, talked about it: https://www.neondystopia.com/what-is-cyberpunk/

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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To me, it requires a corporate-dominated dystopia in particular (or at least an oligarchy of some kind, where the oppression is systemic, rather than a single tyrant to be overthrown - no easy solutions), alongside problematic technological advances. Virtual reality and information technology in general are a natural fit, but not a requirement. I'd say Blade Runner totally qualifies, but Demolition Man doesn't.

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5 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

How...in the world is Robocop not cyberpunk?

...

It lacks the 'the downtrodden reuse scraps of technology to survive and fight against the powers that be' aspect that you in my opinion need to be cyberpunk.

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8 minutes ago, Seli said:

It lacks the 'the downtrodden reuse scraps of technology to survive and fight against the powers that be' aspect that you in my opinion need to be cyberpunk.

True. I suppose I gave it a pass because Murphy is a piece of corporate hardware that makes up for the fact he's shiny and chrome by the fact it's a Fate Worse than Death to be consigned into such a body. I will also give it's a strange sort of punk that would include the best hope for humanity (in Detroit) being a cop--however out of step he is with his fellow striking corporate-owned DPD.

Which I suppose, as terrible as it was, makes Robocop 3 where he's outdated, broken, and fighting for the poor directly as the most cyberpunk of them.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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I'm with C.T. Phipps on this one: while virtual reality is a key feature of many cyberpunks, it's not the defining trait of the genre, and cybernetic enhancement and AI are also features that can help make a story such. Basically, there has to be a dystopian element and a focus on electronic tech, but that tech doesn't necessarily have to be VR. That's why Wert also referred to Ghost in the Shell for example.

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Ghost in the Shell had lot's of crazy internet tech going on though. I probably misspoke last night, it doesn't necessary have to be VR like.

I think the reason i don't consider Robocop cyberpunk is it's missing the punk part.

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9 hours ago, Seli said:

It lacks the 'the downtrodden reuse scraps of technology to survive and fight against the powers that be' aspect that you in my opinion need to be cyberpunk.

Also this.

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I'm not sure I've necessarily read a huge amount of cybperpunk now that I think about it. I did like Snow Crash, Altered Carbon and Ken Macleod's The Star Fraction. I think Tad Williams' Otherland is an interesting series as well, even if it does ramble excessively and doesn't really have the noir elements a lot of cyberpunk does.

16 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

Well Demolition Man is clearly inspired by cyberpunk in the context of being a bunch of rebels against a conformist society with our protagonist standing in the middle. I'm very much of a belief that cyberpunk is less about the tech and hardware (though that's always there) than the rebellious angry attitude.

I agree it probably has to have at least some dystopian elements. I don't think something like Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End, which is very much about the effects of technology and the evolution of the Internet, really feels like cyberpunk because while it may not be a utopia the setting seems to be a fairly pleasant world (although people who really like paper books might disagree...).

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 I know this will annoy Darth Richard but Harlan Ellison could be considered the father of cyberpunk. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and  A Boy and his Dog are surely cyberpunk. Alfred Bester also comes to mind with The Demolished Man.

Recently, Peter Watts Is a contender for Blindsight. If anyone is the true father it has to be Phil Dick. 

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2 hours ago, maarsen said:

 I know this will annoy Darth Richard but Harlan Ellison could be considered the father of cyberpunk. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and  A Boy and his Dog are surely cyberpunk. Alfred Bester also comes to mind with The Demolished Man.

Recently, Peter Watts Is a contender for Blindsight. If anyone is the true father it has to be Phil Dick. 

Eh, A Boy and His Dog is one of the founding works of post-apocalypse fiction which I find to be a genre that isn't cyberpunk but exists in the same housing complex. Cyberpunk is something that requires the "punk" element where the man is fucking over society (which is what punk means) and that requires a society to begin with while PA works tend to be lawless to a certain degree. Cyber means computers, information technology, and virtual reality so you need computers as well as "high tech" to work.

I should also note over on the Facebook Cyberpunk lists, everyone generally agrees the most annoying thing is everyone asking "Is X media cyberpunk" as no one can agree 100% on a definition.

:)

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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4 hours ago, maarsen said:

 I know this will annoy Darth Richard but Harlan Ellison could be considered the father of cyberpunk. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and  A Boy and his Dog are surely cyberpunk. Alfred Bester also comes to mind with The Demolished Man.

Boy and his dog is simply apocalyptic. It's not cyberpunk in any way, unless you consider pop tarts sandwiches.

4 hours ago, maarsen said:

Recently, Peter Watts Is a contender for Blindsight. If anyone is the true father it has to be Phil Dick. 

Blindsight is a cool scifi story that isn't particularly cyberpunk at all; the future is certainly not dystopic, there's no sign of rebellion, and there's very little special about tech. it's an alien story, and that's it.

To me, cyberpunk requires a level of criminality, a dystopia, and asymmetrical tech fueling a lot of that dystopia. It needs a massive class difference between have and have-nots. It needs tech that only benefits the rich and powerful. it needs people fighting against that system in some way, usually quixotic. It needs to be about the cracks in the system being exploited, and tech's use not keeping up with tech's morality.

Tech by itself is not enough, nor is a dystopia; Handmaid's Tale is decidedly futuristic and dystopian, but isn't cyberpunk. Neither is Children of Men. It's not post-apocalyptic either, as it's all criminals all the time there. Altered Carbon is certainly cyberpunk, but the sequels were not. I think Robocop has everything save the positive criminal element; Robocop is basically a cyberpunk story told from the side of the megacorp. And even there it has some good bits with Boddicker. 

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