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C.T. Phipps

The Cyberpunk thread

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11 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Ha, didn't Stross have to cancel a novel because it involved a bunch of weird shit that actually happened in the real world? Something about CIA people going undercover on WoW.

I don't know but he basically said it's been an enormous pain trying to keep up with RL events in the Laundry. Part of the reason for the delay was that his original plot for the Laundry was utterly derailed by Brexit and several other developments that made what he considered ridiculous as well as shocking look tame.

Ah ha!

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/08/reality-is-broken-1.html

Mind you, in my cyberpunk novel sequel, I had a drone-happy EXPY for Hillary Clinton as President so I can't criticize.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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15 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Ha, didn't Stross have to cancel a novel because it involved a bunch of weird shit that actually happened in the real world? Something about CIA people going undercover on WoW.


The Atrocity Archive, first published in 2001, involves an obscure Islamic terrorist group, capable of thinking out the box, who unfortunately for themselves come up with idea of summoning up a Cthulhu-like monster. After 9/11 his publishers insisted on a last minute change to the name of the terrorist group, which was originally "Al-Qaeda".

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9 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I don't know but he basically said it's been an enormous pain trying to keep up with RL events in the Laundry. Part of the reason for the delay was that his original plot for the Laundry was utterly derailed by Brexit and several other developments that made what he considered ridiculous as well as shocking look tame.

Ah ha!

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/08/reality-is-broken-1.html

Mind you, in my cyberpunk novel sequel, I had a drone-happy EXPY for Hillary Clinton as President so I can't criticize.

Wasn't William Gibson's upcoming novel supposed to be about an alternate reality where Donald Trump won the election?

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Following the revelations by Edward Snowden, Stross announced that there would be no third book in the planned trilogy. ""Halting State" wasn't intended to be predictive when I started writing it in 2006. Trouble is, about the only parts that haven't happened yet are Scottish Independence and the use of actual quantum computers for cracking public key encryption (and there's a big fat question mark over the latter—what else are the NSA up to?)"[11]

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William Gibson has an early quote, "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed."  I think that this is an overriding theme in cyberpunk, society's and individuals' reaction to the onset of rapidly-changing technology.  

I first understood this in a concrete way when Motorola started fulfilling contracts to build base stations in various African countries and launching the Iridium satellites.  These technologies allowed us to provide people who never had a landline telephone, nor would they ever have been able to afford the infrastructure to obtain such a thing, with hand-held phones that required nothing more than a hand-crank generator to access the internet.

And so in the late 90s you would see people all around the world as we traveled around - in Asia, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe - individuals who didn't own a second pair of pants using a mobile phone to read the news or chat with their friends.  People were "jacking in" without the need for electrodes.

In the 2000s, the wildest fantasies of the cyberpunk authors had all come true.  Wall Street finally achieved full regulatory capture of the SEC, and crony capitalism and all its ills destroyed the "widows and orphans" instruments like Chrysler bonds, for instance.  The craven reactions to Islamic terrorism such as the TSA turned the Bill of Rights into so much toilet paper.  The middle class embraced political decisions that were obviously against their own self-interest, driven by a constant drumbeat of nonsense from both political parties.  Corporations accelerated their abuse of the H1-B visa system to comprehensively wipe out an entire generation of American white-collar workers.  The "gig economy" turned back 100 years of labor rights won by the early union reforms.  "The Sprawl" had come to life, if not exactly as Gibson had written it, at least in all its spiritual reality.

The need for more cyberpunk had approached zero - we didn't need warning of what was already here.

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Oh yeah, this remains my most popular blog post.

Top Signs we're living in a cyberpunk future

Edit:

Mind you, this actually did lead to the creation of the TV trope "Post-Cyberpunk" and the creation of Contemporary Cyberpunk. Post-Cyberpunk is basically where a lot of the tropes are thrown into a story but it is simply depicted as life rather than dystopian.

Contemporary cyberpunk is stuff like Mr. Robot--which is a 2015 set series about hackers versus an evil megacorporation that doesn't in any way need sci-fi elements to tick all the boxes. Watch_Dogs and Watch_Dogs 2 are cyberpunk games set in present-day Chicago and San Fransisco with the latter highlighting how Silicon Valley has become the bizarre Disneyland the Tessier-Ashpools would have created.

So, I do strongly disagree cyberpunk is dead as a genre. It's just evolved.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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2 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Speaking of Cyberpunk, you see the trailer for the live action Battle Angel film?

Yep.

I think the choice to go with "live action anime" for Alita's design is going to make or break the film. I think she manages to do the Avatar thing where she's not in the Uncanny Valley but still adorable while a bunch of other people have reacted with disgust or being weirded out by the choice. Honestly, it'll be interesting how that affects the overall box office performance. I am very interested in seeing the property translated to the big screen but I will say I'm not a HUGE Battle Angel Alita fan the way I was a Ghost in the Shell fan and that was a complete bomb despite how much I love Scarlet Johansen.

I'm also kind of sad the American Akira remake fell through.

I'm happy about the Ready Player One transition, though, even though that is cyberpunk lite (and it's cyberpunk elements are as much an 80s crib as anything else). I found the book to be disjointed, weirdly written, and using pop culture in place of actual jokes or wit but I'm guilty of that myself so judging Ernest Cline for doing so (and getting a huge amount of praise/a big payday from it) is only sour grapes.

I will say I am EXTREMELY EXCITED about the Altered Carbon Netflix series and can't wait to see it. I hope they make it a multiple season affair while simultaneously NOT adapting the sequels.

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6 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

A lot of people are debating whether Ready Player One qualifies even loosely.


I dunno if it qualifies for cyberpunk, but the 'good' part disqualifies it anyway.

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20 hours ago, C.T. Phipps said:

I've got 13 really good recommendations for Cyberpunk Novels of the past decade here.

https://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2017/12/13-neo-cyberpunk-novel-recommendations.html

A lot of people are debating whether Ready Player One qualifies even loosely.

If it's a list of the last decade then Altered Carbon, great as it is, definitely doesn't qualify.

14 hours ago, polishgenius said:


I dunno if it qualifies for cyberpunk, but the 'good' part disqualifies it anyway.

Also, surely nostalgia is incompatible with any kind of 'punk'.

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I hate Ready Player One with the passion of a thousand thousand burning suns.

And I'm conflicted about Battle Angel, I think she looks fine in stills but the movement is just...off. I know its mo cap but it really looks like it was pasted in.

Also I'm glad the American Akira remake is dead. You can't move that to an america setting without losing 90 percent of the film.

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4 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

...Also I'm glad the American Akira remake is dead. You can't move that to an america setting without losing 90 percent of the film.

It would be like shooting an American version of Ghost in the Shell set in Arkansas.  Imagine the theme tune (

), but played on banjos and sung by folks with an Ozark accent.

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Re: Akira

Speaking as a fan only of the movie Akira, I'm not actually sure that's such a uniquely Japanese experience that can't be done in a remake in another culture. It's not me saying that moving the setting doesn't change the movie, it always does, but I'm saying that the universal story behind it is one which can be retold in a new setting.

For example, they've remade "Oldboy" three or four times now in America, India, and its original South Korea. They've also done the same thing with Man on Fire and that's not counting the fact the book was originally set in Italy and Max Payne 3 is a loose adaptation.

At the heart of Akira, it's about a bunch of lawless bikers living in a post-apocalypse metropolis who get caught up in the aftermath of a military experiment. I don't think that's something that really requires a Japanese setting the way, say, Kenshin does. Cyberpunk settings are, by nature, international and globalised that it doesn't matter WHERE they're set because the world has become homogenized.

Re: Ready Player One

The reason I consider it a piece of cyberpunk is because it really is a classic underdog story with elements of how technology has resulted in a post-apocalypse dystopian world. The question of whether OASIS is actually making the world worse or better is brought up several times and arguably deserved to be in a better book. Everyone is hooked up to the Super-Second Life and they're ignoring the fact the planet is falling apart all around them.

Part of why I wished the book had been based around Art3mis is the fact Wade is such a selfish prick that he doesn't even imagine doing anything with 500 billion dollars but enjoying the high life and protecting his friends.

Edited by C.T. Phipps

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