What is Cyberpunk?


I started reading Feed by Mira Grant lately and fell in love. This post isn’t a review, though, but this book really stirred something in me.

In short, Cyberpunk and me connected.

You may be wondering, though, what is Cyberpunk? Is it a sort of music? Is it a fashion? Can I eat it?

No to all of the above.

Cyberpunk is really a mindset. Gone are the days of 70’s science fiction. Let’s face it guys, we aren’t going to space for science’s sake–we’re going to give the rich a joy ride or to mine asteroids. We won’t have any artificial intelligence or flying cars or anything of the sort because we are no longer living where science is for science’s sake.

We are living, knee deep, in the age of consumerism.

Now, cyberpunk takes all of this into account and paints a picture of the future more align with current circumstances. Below, I’ll list the biggest tenets I’ve found.

1. Social Media is your news

I think we’ve seen this trend best during the Arab spring during which Protestors organized entire rallies by Twitter. Or, even now, in Syria they do their rebel army training via youtube.

The crackdowns on media during these revolutions I think lend further credit to social media as a news form. While bloggers are biased, the cyberpunk idea believes that more bloggers will emerge with the truth as their mission. The idea that traditional media is the truest source of news will be shattered and the blogging community will step in to fill the cracks.

2. Server Cowboys and Botnets

Cyberpunk is based on the idea–rather loosely since cyberpunk is underdeveloped as a whole–that the internet is the Wild Wild West.

Botnets are a bunch of computers controlled by a single hacker. Your computer can even be part of a botnet, the instructions just sleeping on your hard drive for the cracker (a hacker gone dark side) to execute them. Botnets make it harder for the cracker to be traced and are used a lot for flooding sites, aka DDoS attacks.

In short, cyberpunk holds the idea that rogue hackers/crackers are the sharpshooters of the internet world and wield tremendous power. The government is a lumbering giant back on the fringes, playing catch up while claiming the problem does not exist.

Personally, I revise the government to Big Corporations for my cyberpunk belief, but to each his own.

3. Technology is a part of us

This can be as far out there as Cyborgs and Cylons or as close to reality as keeping your smartphone near you all the time.

Technology is becoming smaller, more mobile, and more ubiquitous. BBC said that 2012 was the year of mobile internet. Tablet sales soared. Everyone is connected all the time. In the cyberpunk world, this is just a rule and a matter of fact.

We’re connected, it’s time to stop thinking otherwise.

4. Shun Ideology in favor of pragmatism

We can’t stand by anymore. Movements like Rock the Vote and even the Occupy Movement have signs of it.

People see a problem and, rather than sit around stewing in their anger, they go out and demonstrate their discontent. In the cyberpunk space, this is done differently than the traditional rally. This can be by electronic petitions or social justice bloggers (who scare me), or starting a facebook group. Many other ways are still unexplored.

If hacker groups coalesce–which is the cyberpunk idea–then this will more than likely be exemplified by them. Men in dark rooms changing the world. History repeats itself.

5. The Global Community is here

We’re globalizing. In the cyberpunk future, the population will be homogeneous,

Like how the internet has no boundaries–in a strictly theoretical sense–the world will become flat. Online communities will reach all corners, more so than it does now, and its going to create a whole new landscape. How this new landscape shapes up is up to writer’s discretion; personally, I can’t even begin to imagine it.

For more information on a cyberpunk, go to the cyberpunk project.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! If you have any cyberpunk beliefs or other literary movements you love, let me know in the comments!


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