As a child I found myself reading a lot of science fiction. Even as as a kid in elementary school, I’d check out books by Isaac Asimov. Stuff like Venus or The Moon. I didn’t don’t recall a damn thing from those books, but as a kid I was fascinated by planets. Then I found myself nose deep in a book about Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle. Yet, it wasn’t until my school had a program, where you could earn points reading books and taking a quiz on a computer to earn “Mcdonald Bucks”. I’m not sure if that’s what they were called, but I was earning money to read. So I read lost of stuff. I even took quizes for other people and shared half the points. It was a good business for a kid that liked to read.
I stumbled upon Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology. How or why? I have no idea, but just those final words, “Cyberpunk” echoed in mind. At the time I was also heavy into Hackers, Terminator and the video game Shadowrun and this was the genre that I thought it was made just for me.
So what is cyberpunk? It’s a sub genre mixed in among hundreds of others, like steampunk or dystopian literature but this one is special, at least to me. Cyberpunk is a world where computer and technology has advanced to the point that it’s in everything. You could have implants that let you “jack” into the internet or an eye that zooms and can see the tiniest sand on the farthest beach from a tower miles away.
“Cyberpunk is a postmodern and science fiction genre noted for its focus on “high tech and low life.” The name was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story “Cyberpunk,” published in 1983.It features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.”
So I became a huge Bruce Sterling fan. I”ve read Globalhead, A Good Old-fashioned Future and Crystal Express. I’ve also been in the middle of Schismatrix for over ten years now. Maybe one day I’ll finish it but then what? Where did all the cyberpunk go?
I thought maybe it’s because we are living in that world. The internet has vastly improved, we can reach information at those super sonic speeds, we have devices installed on everything from refrigerators to our cars. Sure they’re not floating yet, but look at those silly Segways, or even motor bikes/cycles. Is that why we don’t see any mainstream cyberpunk anymore?
What about those other “sub-genres”? Steampunk? Do they have a place in today’s mainstream?
They do. So write them, because there are people out there just waiting for that book. Even if it’s in a genre that’s no longer “popular”. Screw vampires. I’m tired of them too. Someone write me some cyberpunk.
I do plan on reading the classics soon and looking for some good self-published stuff. Oh, and Bruce Sterling still knocks some stuff out every couple of years, but I want some home-runs. Any suggestions?