Cyclopaedia 11: Cyberpunk

Welcome to Cyclopaedia 11: CyberpunkCyclopaedia is a monthly article on the InnRoads Ministries website as part of the Resources series. My first time seeing the movie Blade Runner altered my view of cinema and science fiction. The music of Vangelis, the noir narration, the movie’s aesthetic, and the replicant storyline melded together to coalesce as my permanent impression and passion for cyberpunk. I had to know more about this genre so I quickly went to the library and found Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Neuromancer.  In college, my gaming was heavily influenced by cyberpunk with years of Cyberspace and Cyberhero. My first work as a freelance proofreader was on Interface Zero 2.0, a modern cyberpunk RPG. Every few years I reread the core cyberpunk novels and get an itch to do some cyberpunk gaming (Shadowrun most recently). Let’s jack in and surf the Net to learn more!

If you have questions about this article or topics you would like me to consider researching for future Cyclopaedia articles, please leave a comment below.


Overview

Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that fuses high technology, noir, corporate politics, lawlessness, and societal conflict. Most often set it the near future of Earth, so it can reflect and provide commentary on business, society, and technology in a microcosm. A gritty post-industrial dystopian city juxtaposes with cybernetics, artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations.

The term Cyberpunk was originally used by Bruce Bethke for a 1983 short story of the same name, but the concepts and tropes of the genre are believed to have been formed in The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner in 1975. Most though would consider the movie Blade Runner (1982) and William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) for bringing to life the genre and ascetics of Cyberpunk.

Other genres have spun off from the ascetics of Cyberpunk including Atompunk, Biopunk, Clockpunk, Cypherpunk, Dieselpunk, Nanopunk, and Steampunk. Each of them retain the noir and societal conflict aspects, but they utilize a different technological focus and time period in history.

The ever-accelerating growth of technology, the fear of its abuse, apprehension of how it is impacting us as a society, and its impact on our future keep interest in Cyberpunk in the minds of science fiction aficionados which leads to rethinking and reimagining of the genre every so many years.

What Defines Cyberpunk?

Cyberpunk has its own unique feel, separate from standard science fiction. The are elements common to most cyberpunk stories that when combined help it stand out as a genre of its own.

  • Arcologies
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cybernetics
  • Hackers
  • Mega Corporations
  • Near Future Earth
  • The Net
  • Noir
  • Split Societies
  • Spraws
  • Virtual Realities

Following are sources of information pertaining to Cyberpunk to assist prospective game masters, game designers, writers, and storytellers in knowing where to start their research.

 

ARTICLES

Blade Runner and Cyberpunk Visions of Humanity
By Senior, W A
Source: Film Criticism, 21, no. 1 (1996): 1-12

Cybernetic deconstructions: cyberpunk and postmodernism
By Hollinger, V
Source: Mosaic, v23 n2 (1990): 29-44

Cyberpunk Nostalgia
By Deb, Siddhartha
Source: Dissent, no. Win, (2016): 12-14

The (Post)Feminist Politics of Cyberpunk
By Gillis, Stacy
Source: Gothic Studies, 9, no. 2 (2007): 7-19

Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service
http://www.sjgames.com/SS/

 

BOOKS

Accelerando
By Stross, Charles

Akira (Manga)
By Otomo, Katsuhiro

Altered Carbon
By Morgan, Richard

The Bridge Chronicles
By Ballard, Gary A.

Cyberpunk (Short Story)
By Bethke, Bruce

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
By Dick, Philip K.

Data Runner
By Patel, Sam A.

Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom
By Doctorow, Cory

Eclipse
By Shirley, John

Frontera
By Shiner, Lewis

The Ghost In The Shell (Manga)
By Shirow, Masamune

The Girl Who Was Plugged In
By Tiptree, Jr, James

The Glass Hammer
By Jeter, K.W.

Gravity’s Rainbow
By Pynchon, Thomas

Hardwired
By Williams, Jon Williams

Islands in the Net
By Sterling, Bruce

Mirror Shades: The Cyberpunk Anthology
By Sterling, Bruce

Neuromancer
By Gibson, William

Ready Player One
By Cline, Ernest

Schismatrix
By Sterling, Bruce

Shadowrun: Neat
By Zimmerman, Russell

The Shockwave Rider
By Brunner, John

Snow Crash
By Stephenson, Neal

The Stars My Destination
By Bester, Alfred

Synners
By Cadigan, Pat

Transmetropolitan (Graphic Novel)
By Ellis, Warren

Trouble and Her Friends
By Scott, Melissa

Virtual Light
By Gibson, William

The Ware Tetralogy
By Rucker, Rudy

When Gravity Falls
By Effinger, Geroge Alec

The Windup Girl
By Bacigalupi, Paolo

 

GAMES

Android – Tabletop Game
Android Mainframe – Tabletop Game
Blade Runner – Computer Game
Cyberpunk – RPG
Cyberpunk 2020 – RPG
Cyberpunk CCG – Tabletop Game
Cyberspace – RPG
Deus Ex series – Computer Game
Edge City – Tabletop Game
Enter the Matrix – Computer Game
Far Cry: Blood Dragon – Computer Game
GURPS Cyberpunk – RPG
Human Interface – Tabletop Game
Infiltration – Tabletop Game
Interface Zero 2.0 – RPG
The Matrix Online – Computer Game
Mecanisburgo – Tabletop Game
Metal Gear – Computer Game
Necromunda – Tabletop Game
Netrunner – Tabletop Game
Neuromancer – Computer Game
New Angeles – Tabletop Game
Quadrilateral Cowboy – Computer Game Read Only Memories – Computer Game
Rise of the Dragon – Computer Game
Rogue Agent – Tabletop Game
Shadowrun – Computer Game
Shadowrun – RPG
Shadowrun Crossfire – Tabletop Game
Shadowrun Duels – Tabletop Game
Shadowrun Returns – Computer Game
Shadowrun TCG – Tabletop Game
SLA Industries – RPG
Snatcher – Computer Game
Specter Ops – Tabletop Game
Syndicate – Computer Game
System Shock – Computer Game
Wired: Black Ops – Tabletop Game

 

CINEMA

12 Monkeys
Æon Flux
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Akira (Anime)
Almost Human – TV Show
The Animimatrix – Anime
Battle Angel Atila – Anime
Blade Runner
Brazil
Bubblegum Crisis – Anime
Caprica – TV Show
Century City – TV Show
Chappie
Circuitry Man
The City of Lost Children
Dark Angel – TV Show
Dark City
Demolition Man
Dredd
Dollhouse – TV Show
Elysium
Equilibrium
Ergo Proxy – Anime
Escape from New York
eXisteZ
Fortress
Freejack
Gattaca
Get Ed – TV Show
Ghost in the Shell – Anime
Hackers
Hardware
I, Robot
The Island
The Lawnmower Man
Ex Machina
The Fifth Element
Johnny Mnemonic
Judge Dread
Logan’s Run
The Matrix
Max Headroom – TV Show
Minority Report
Mr. Robot – TV Show
New Rose Hotel
Person of Interest – TV Show
Pi
Psycho-Pass – Anime
Reboot – Cartoon
RoboCop
Runaway
Strange Days
Surrogates
TekWar – TV Show
The Terminator
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – TV Show
Total Recall
Trancers
Tron
Tron Legacy
Ultraviolet
Videodrome
The Zero Theorem

 

LOCATIONS

Hong Kong, China
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong

Shanghai, China
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai

Shibuya, Tokyo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibuya

Sony Center
http://www.sonycenter.de/en

Times Square, New York
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square

 

PEOPLE

Bruce Bethke
Pat Cadigan
Philip K. Dick
Gardner Dozois
William Gibson
Steve Jackson
Ștefan Odobleja
Ridley Scott
John Shirly
Neil Stephenson
Bruce Sterling
Vangelis
Norbert Wiener


I hope you find these resources informative and inspiring for your adventures, storytelling, or game design.

Stay Creative!

T.R. Knight

( If you would like to save this list of resources as a convenient PDF for later reference, you can find that HERE )

 

Knight BusinessWHO IS T.R. KNIGHT?
He is a freelance editor, proofreader and writer in the game industry. He is also a Husband and Caregiver to his wife Angie, Father of Twins Emily and Rachel, Foodie and Hobby Chef, and IT Director at Taylor University. You can learn more about T.R. at his blog http://www.freelanceknight.com.

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