Cyberpunk

What is Cyberpunk?

What does Cyberpunk Include?

Social Themes

1. Post-Humanism

2. Post-industrialism

3. Post Nationalism

Technological Themes

Cyberpunk in Cinema and TV

Escape from New York

Blade Runner

Tron

Videodrome

Terminator

Max Headroom

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

Robocop

Predator

Batman

La Femme Nikita

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Sneakers

Nemesis

Wild Palms

Crow, the

Leon

La Cite des Enfants Perdus

Strange Days

Crow: City of Angels, the

Escape From Los Angeles

Dark City

Matrix

Unbreakable

One, the

Equilibrium

Hardwired

Surrogates, the

Cyberpunk in Literature

Summary

 

Cyberpunk

 

What is Cyberpunk?

 

 From the Preface to the Mirrorshades anthology, By Bruce Sterling:

"Cyberpunk is a product of the Eighties milieu - in some sense, as I hope to show later, a definitive product. But its roots are deeply sunk in the sixty-year tradition of modem popular SF.

The cyberpunks as a group are steeped in the lore and tradition of the SF field. Their precursors are legion. Individual cyberpunk writers differ in their literary debts; but some older writers, ancestral cyberpunks perhaps, show a clear and striking influence.

From the New Wave: the streetwise edginess of Harlan Ellison. The visionary shimmer of Samuel Delany. The free-wheeling zaniness of Norman Spinrad and the rock esthetic of Michael Moorcock; the intellectual daring of Brian Aldiss; and, always, J. G. Ballard.

From the harder tradition: the cosmic outlook of Olaf Stapledon; the science/politics of H. G. Wells; the steely extrapolation of Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, and Robert Heinlein.

And the cyberpunks treasure a special fondness for SF's native visionaries: the bubbling inventiveness of Philip Jose Farmer; the brio of John Varley, the reality games of Philip K. Dick; the soaring, skipping beatnik tech of Alfred Bester. With a special admiration for a writer whose integration of technology and literature stands unsurpassed: Thomas Pynchon.

Throughout the Sixties and Seventies, the impact of SF's last designated "movement," the New Wave, brought a new concern for literary craftsmanship to SF. Many of the cyberpunks write a quite accomplished and graceful prose; they are in love with style, and are (some say) fashion-conscious to a fault. But, like the punks of '77, they prize their garage-band esthetic. They love to grapple with the raw core of SF: its ideas. This links them strongly to the classic SF tradition. Some critics opine that cyberpunk is disentangling SF from mainstream influence, much as punk stripped rock and roll of the symphonic elegances of Seventies "progressive rock." (And others - hard- line SF traditionalists with a firm distrust of "artiness" - loudly disagree.)

Like punk music, cyberpunk is in some sense a return to roots. The cyberpunks are perhaps the first SF generation to grow up not only within the literary tradition of science fiction but in a truly science-fictional world. For them, the techniques of classica"hard SF" extrapolation, technological literacy - are not just literary tools but an aid to daily life. They are a means of understanding, and highly valued.

In pop culture, practice comes first; theory follows limping in its tracks. Before the era of labels, cyberpunk was simply "the Movement" - a loose generational nexus of ambitious young writers, who swapped letters, manuscripts, ideas, glowing praise, and blistering criticism. These writers - Gibson, Rucker Shiner, Shirley, Sterling - found a friendly unity in their common outlook, common themes, even in certain oddly common symbols, which seemed to crop up in their work with a life of their own. Mirrorshades, for instance.

Mirrored sunglasses have been a Movement totem since the early days of '82. The reasons for this are not hard to grasp. By hiding the eyes, mirrorshades prevent the forces of normalcy from realizing that one is crazed and possibly dangerous. They are the symbol of the sunstaring visionary, the biker, the rocker, the policeman, and similar outlaws. Mirrorshades preferably in chrome and matte black, the Movement's totem color appeared in story after story, as a kind of literary badge.

These proto-cyberpunks were briefly dubbed the Mirrorshades Group. Thus this anthology's title, a well-deserved homage to a Movement icon. But other young writers, of equal talent and ambition, were soon producing work that linked them unmistakably to the new SF. They were independent explorers, whose work reflected something inherent in the decade, in the spirit of the times. Something loose in the 1980s.

Thus, "cyberpunk" - a label none of them chose. But the term now seems a fait accompli, and there is a certain justice in it. The term captures something crucial to the work of these writers, something crucial to the decade as a whole: a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop under- ground.

This integration has become our decade's crucial source of cultural energy. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout the Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker underground; in the jarring street tech of hip-hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo. This phenomenon, this dynamic, has a global range; cyberpunk is its literary incarnation.

In another era this combination might have seemed far-fetched and artificial. Traditionally there has been a yawning cultural gulf between the sciences and the humanities: a gulf between literary culture, the formal world of art and politics, and the culture of science, the world of engineering and industry.

But the gap is crumbling in unexpected fashion. Technical culture has gotten out of hand. The advances of the sciences are so deeply radical, so disturbing, upsetting, and revolutionary, that they can no longer be contained. They are surging into culture at large; they are invasive; they are everywhere. The traditional power structure, the traditional institutions, has lost control of the pace of change.

And suddenly a new alliance is becoming evident: an integration of technology and the Eighties counterculture. An un-holy alliance of the technical world and the world of organized dissent - the underground world of pop culture, visionary fluidity, and street-level anarchy.

The counterculture of the 1960s was rural, romanticized, anti-science, anti-tech. But there was always a lurking contradiction at its heart, symbolized by the electric guitar. Rock technology was the thin edge of the wedge. As the years have passed, rock tech has grown ever more accomplished, expanding into high-tech recording, satellite video, and computer graphics. Slowly it is turning rebel pop culture inside out, until the artists at pop's cutting edge are now, quite often, cutting-edge technicians in the bargain. They are special effects wizards, mixmasters, tape-effects techs, graphics hackers, emerging through new media to dazzle society with head-trip extravaganzas like FX cinema and the global Live Aid benefit. The contradiction has become an integration.

And now that technology has reached a fever pitch, its influence has slipped control and reached street level. As Alvin Toffler pointed out in The Third Wave - a bible to many cyberpunks - the technical revolution reshaping our society is based not in hierarchy but in decentralization, not in rigidity but in fluidity.

The hacker and the rocker are this decade's pop-culture idols, and cyberpunk is very much a pop phenomenon: spontaneous, energetic, close to its roots. Cyberpunk comes from the realm where the computer hacker and the rocker overlap, a cultural Petri dish where writhing gene lines splice. Some find the results bizarre, even monstrous; for others this integration is a powerful source of hope.

Science fiction - at least according to its official dogma - has always been about the impact of technology. But times have changed since the comfortable era of Hugo Gernsback, when Science was safely enshrined - and confined - in an ivory tower. The careless technophilia of those days belongs to a vanished, sluggish era, when authority still had a comfortable margin of control.

For the cyberpunks, by stark contrast, technology is visceral. It is not the bottled genie of remote Big Science boffins; it is pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, inside our minds.

Technology itself has changed. Not for us the giant steam- snorting wonders of the past: the Hoover Dam, the Empire State Building, the nuclear power plant. Eighties tech sticks to the skin, responds to the touch: the personal computer, the Sony Walkman, the portable telephone, the soft contact lens.

Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry - techniques radically redefining - the nature of humanity, the nature of the self.

As Norman Spinrad pointed out in his essay on cyberpunk, many drugs, like rock and roll, are definitive high-tech products. No counterculture Earth Mother gave us lysergic acid - it came from a Sandoz lab, and when it escaped it ran through society like wildfire. It is not for nothing that Timothy Leary proclaimed personal computers "the LSD of the 1980s" - these are both technologies of frighteningly radical potential. And, as such, they are constant points of reference for cyberpunk.

The cyberpunks, being hybrids themselves, are fascinated by interzones: the areas where, in the words of William Gibson, "the street finds its own uses for things." Roiling, irrepressible street graffiti from that classic industrial artifact, the spray can, the subversive potential of the home printer and the photocopier. Scratch music, whose ghetto innovators turn the phonograph itself into an instrument, producing an archetypal Eighties music where funk meets the Burroughs cut-up method. "It's all in the mix" - this is true of much Eighties art and is as applicable to cyberpunk as it is to punk mix-and-match retro fashion and multitrack digital recording.

The Eighties are an era of reassessment, of integration, of hybridized influences, of old notions shaken loose and reinterpreted with a new sophistication, a broader perspective. The cyberpunks aim for a wide-ranging, global point of view.

William Gibson's Neuromancer, surely the quintessential cyberpunk novel, is set in Tokyo, Istanbul, Paris. Lewis Shiner's Frontera features scenes in Russia and Mexico - as well as the surface of Mars. John Shirley's Eclipse describes Western Europe in turmoil. Greg Bear's Blood Music is global, even cosmic m scope.

The tools of global integration - the satellite media net, the multinational corporation - fascinate the cyberpunks and figure constantly in their work. Cyberpunk has little patience with borders. Tokyo's Hayakawa's SF Magazine was the first publication ever to produce an "all-cyberpunk" issue, in November 1986. Britain's innovative SF magazineInterzone has also been a hotbed of cyberpunk activity, publishing Shirley, Gibson, and Sterling as well as a series of groundbreaking editorials, inter-views, and manifestos. Global awareness is more than an article of faith with cyberpunks; it is a deliberate pursuit.

Cyberpunk work is marked by its visionary intensity. Its writers prize the bizarre, the surreal, the formerly unthinkable. They are willing - eager, even - to take an idea and unflinchingly push it past the limits. Like J. G. Ballard - an idolized role model to many cyberpunks - they often use an unblinking, almost clinical objectivity. It is a coldly objective analysis, a technique borrowed from science, then put to literary use for classically punk shock value.

With this intensity of vision comes strong imaginative concentration. Cyberpunk is widely known for its telling use of detail, its carefully constructed intricacy, its willingness to carry extrapolation into the fabric of daily life. It favors "crammed" loose: rapid, dizzying bursts of novel information, sensory overload that submerges the reader in the literary equivalent of the hard-rock "wall of sound."

Cyberpunk is a natural extension of elements already present in science fiction, elements sometimes buried but always seething with potential. Cyberpunk has risen from within the SF genre; it is not an invasion but a modern reform. Because of this, its effect within the genre has been rapid and powerful.

Its future is an open question. Like the artists of punk and New Wave, the cyberpunk writers, as they develop, may soon be galloping in a dozen directions at once.

It seems unlikely that any label will hold them for long. Science fiction today is in a rare state of ferment. The rest of the decade may well see a general plague of movements, led by an increasingly volatile and numerous Eighties generation. The eleven authors here are only a part of this broad wave of writers, and the group as a whole already shows signs of remarkable militancy and fractiousness. Fired by a new sense of SF's potential, writers are debating, rethinking, teaching old dogmas new tricks. Meanwhile, cyberpunk's ripples continue to spread, exciting some, challenging others and outraging a few, whose pained remonstrances are not yet fully heard..."

 

What does Cyberpunk Include?

 

Social Themes

1. Post-Humanism

 "Summer in the Sprawl, the mall crowds swaying like wind- blown grass, a field of flesh shot through with sudden eddies of need and gratification."

William Gibson, Neuromancer

 

Cyberpunk changed the way technology and issues related to it are portrayed in science fiction. While the "New Wave" science fiction was characterized by an emphasis on humanist sciences and an ambivalent, often negative attitude towards technology, cyberpunk adopted a "head-on" approach to it.

Cyberpunk generally detaches itself from overt moral judgment about the implications of technological progress. It is generally portrayed as an omnipresent force that has to be utilized because it cannot be avoided, or even directed anymore. In cyberpunk the ultimate distinction between man and machine is generally seen as blurred.

Technology becomes more and more humanlike, and humans become more machine-like. The extremes of this development are the artificial intelligence, personification of information technology, and the cyborg, a fusion of human body and machine. This mentality is also frequently reflected in the narrative, for example in using terms of natural sciences to describe social phenomena.

If a cyberpunk work is concerned with transcendence or human evolution, popular themes in the "New Wave" fiction, it always happens through technology.

 

2. Post-industrialism

 Post-industrialism means the development of the industrial society into an information society and the social issues associated with it.

The chief commodity of a post-industrial society that cyberpunk depicts is information. Technological capacity, rather than raw industrial power, has become the critical component of production and the new measure of prosperity. The revolution has often led to re-arranging of global power relations and the world politics in cyberpunk scenarios.

Cyberpunk was the first genre of science fiction to be born in an information society and this is clearly reflected in the future it portrays. The most important branch of technology in cyberpunk is information technology; computers and all their possible applications. Perhaps the most famous cyberpunk concept, which is widely known also outside science fiction culture, is the global information network and virtual reality known as the cyberspace.

The cyberspace is home to one of cyberpunk's most important icons, the hacker, who uses his computer skills to steal and reveal precious information.

 

3. Post Nationalism

 "Cyberpunk is the supreme literary expression, if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself."

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

 

"When Parker was fifteen, his parents indentured him to the American subsidiary of a Japanese plastics combine. At the time, he felt fortunate; the ratio of applicants to indentured trainees was enormous. For three years he lived with his cadre in a dormitory, singing the company hymns in formation each morning and usually managing to go over the compound fence at least once a month for girls or the holodrome."

William Gibson, Fragments of a Hologram Rose

 

Most cyberpunk worlds are near future extrapolations of the contemporary world where the global economy and new communications technology have lead to diminishing significance of the traditional nation-states and geographical borders. This development is often linked with political balkanization; for example, the United States split into warring political or economical factions is a common scenario in American cyberpunk.

However, the most essential result of this development is the fragmentation of culture. Following the development of the modern Western world, the traditional forms of culture and religion have broken down into countless sub-cultures or have been replaced by global consumer culture and mass-media. Capitalism and consumerism are dominant and faceless capital rules the world.

The new concentrations of political and economic power are invariably international mega-corporations that have effectively taken over the functions of nation-states. Cyberpunk shows the larger state of affairs from a "street-level" point-of-view. It usually concerns itself with the marginal people, members of the ultra-technological underworld that refuse to submit to the corporate conformity and fight back using high technology.

In the near-future of Cyberpunk the traditional nation-states as wielders of power are largely extinct. The power politics of cyberpunk's future are often based on the contemporary trend where the development of the information society and the world economy is diminishing the significance of geographical borders. Perhaps the most universally shared aspect of cyberpunk scenarios is that in the near-future, the world is ruled by market forces and capital. They, in turn, are controlled by multinational mega-corporations, the future equivalents of Microsoft and Shell.

The involvement of Shell in the affairs of Nigeria can be seen as the real-world precedent of the cyberpunk scenario. The multinational company has employed armed forces and taken an active role in national politics to pursue its regional interests.

 

In most scenarios the corporations have grown beyond the control of political authorities and are major players in national and global politics. While national governments may exist, the corporations practically dominate the society through their sheer economic powand privatization of traditionally state-controlled services like policing, health-care and defence. The largest corporations have effectively become micro-states that own whole towns and upkeep private armies. In some cases the corporations have moved beyond influencing indirectly influencing politics and wage covert or open wars over vital interests.

 

A corporation is frequently the moving force behind a cyberpunk story. Corporations of central importance include the Tyrrell corporation in Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the Movie Blade Runner, Tessier-Ashpool of William Gibson's Neuromancer and Cyberdyne Systems in the Terminator movies.

 

Walter Jon William's novel Hardwired takes the scenario to an extreme. The mega-corporations have formed a joint governing body and moved their headquarters to the orbit from where they are waging war against the resisting nationalist elements.

 

Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop offers a typical cyberpunk example of irresponsible pursue of corporate interest. Omni Consumer Products is a Detroit based multinational company partaking in a wide range of manufacturing and services. Crime is rampant in Chicago and Omni has managed to buy the policing rights from the overtaxed justice department. Unknown to the public, the Omni executives have been sponsoring a high-profile crime wave with their contacts in organized crime in order to sway the public opinion in favor of building a new crime-free business central. The massive project would effectively give Omni and its subsidiaries a real-estate monopoly in the city.

 

 

 

In corporate law, the concept of lifting or piercing the corporate veil describes a legal decision where a shareholder or director of a corporation is held liable for the actions of the corporation despite the general principle that shareholders are immune from suits in contract or tort that otherwise would hold only the corporation liable. This is also referred as "disregarding the corporate entity". The phrase relies on the metaphor of a "veil" that represents the veneer of formalities and dignities that protect a corporation, which can be disregarded at will when the situation warrants looking beyond the "legal fiction" of a corporate person to the reality of other persons or entities that would otherwise be protected by the corporate fiction.

 

 

 

For more click here

Technological Themes

 Cyberpunk is nothing without its technology. Here are some technological areas which can be considered cyberpunk:

 

1. Artificial Intelligence

 

Artificial Intelligence or AI's.  2. Artificial Life

 

Artificial life or A-life.  3. Computers

 

Cyberpunk's basic hardware. The computers and computerized toys that we carry with us wherever we go (in our pocket, on our person, inside our body ...) have already become an integral part of us. This process of will probably lead to nanotechnology.  4. Cyberspace, or the Matrix

 

Cyberspace, invented by William Gibson in "Neuromancer".  5. Cyborgs

 

Cyborgs, Man/Machine Symbiosis'.  6. The Internet - the world-wide network of interconnected computers. According to Douglas Adams: 

 

 There are still those who see the idea underlying "the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as a symbol of what the Internet should really be; messengers of a publishing house wandering around the universe, constantly updating the Guide, and making all of its content available to confused travelers all over the universe. If we substitute "travelers" for "surfers" and "universe" for "cyberspace", we get the essence of the Internet. According to Arthur C Clarke:

 

Clark predicted the use of the Internet and computing in general as a tool for collecting and disseminating information, but nothing beyond that, as evidenced by the following quotes from "2001":

 

"There was plenty to occupy his time, even if he did nothing but sit and read. When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

 

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word "newspaper," of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the everchanging flow of information from the news satellites. It was hard to imagine how the system could be improved or made more convenient. But sooner or later, Floyd guessed, it would pass away, to be replaced by something as unimaginable as the Newspad itself would have been to Caxton or Gutenberg.

 

There was another thought which a scanning of those tiny electronic headlines often invoked. The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be. Accidents, crimes, natural and man-made disasters, threats of conflict, gloomy editorials - these still seemed to be the main concern of the millions of words being sprayed into the ether. Yet Floyd also wondered if this was altogether a bad thing; the newspapers of Utopia, he had long ago decided, would be terribly dull."

 

And when Dr. Floyd reaches the moon:

 

"After a short walk through a tunnel packed with pipes and cables, and echoing hollowly with rhythmic thumpings and throbbings, they arrived in executive territory, and Floyd found himself back in the familiar environment of typewriters, office computers, girl assistants, wall charts, and ringing telephones."

 

7. Nanotechnology

 

Technology by means of molecular manufacturing. 

 

8. Neural Interface - Direct neural interface between brain and computer.

 

This is just the culmination of technology taking over the body, which is also reflected in prosthetics, transplants, cosmetic surgery, genetic alterations and neurochemistry - a process leading (some say, inevitably so) to Artificial Intelligence. 9. Robots

 

Machines doing things for us.

 

10. Software

 

Cyberpunk's software.

 

Ubiquitous Computing

 

Ubiquitous & Wearable Computing.

 

12. Virtual Reality

 

Virtual Reality or VR.  

Cyberpunk in Cinema and TV

 The following is a brief overview of more than 20 years of cyberpunk in cinema, as it appearsin the R. Talsorian website, a company specializing in designing role-playing games taken from the dark world of cyberpunk. For every Movie selected for review, others are distinctly absent (to some of which I will refer later), but there is no doubt that these Movies are indeed true representatives of the genre. The list also includes several prominent TV shows belonging to the genre, in a chronological order.

 

Escape from New York

 (1981)

 

Escape from New York

 

Thought it was made in 1981, it takes place in 1999. Apparently, in 1981 no one has even dreamed about Y2K...

 

See also:

 

Chapter 1: Lasciate ogni Speranza Voi ch'entrate

 

Blade Runner

(1982)

 

Blade Runner

 

Blade Runner is a cyberpunk film directed by Ridley Scott. It gave cyberpunk science fiction its visual representation, and has so become "the definitive cyberpunk Movie". The Movie is based on Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". The Movie script can be found here.

Blade Runner is not a traditional sci-fi Movie, it's a touching drama about the value of life and the importance of making the most of what you've got. One of the most important themes in the film is the question of what is more valuable - humans without emotions, or machines with? The film gives no answer - it just opens our eyes and makes us aware that we should be grateful for being alive. It also questions what it is to be human, and why life is so precious.

Synopsis: Los Angeles, 2019: Rick Deckard is a blade runner, a police man of the future who hunts down and terminates replicants, artificially created humans. Replicants were used to serve in the colonies outside Earth but with fixed lifespans. They were declared illegal after a bloody mutiny on an Off-World Colony, and are to be terminated upon detection. Man's obsession with creating a being equal to himself has back-fired. Deckard wants to get out of the force, but is drawn back in when 5 "skin jobs", a slang term for replicants, hijack a ship back to Earth, and the city that Deckard must search for his prey is a huge, sprawling, bleak vision of the future.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 2: Like Tears in Rain

 

Tron

(1983)

 

Tron

 

One of the first attempts to portray virtual reality is the fondly remembered Tron, perhaps the first cyberpunk ever Movie made ​​before the term itself was born.

The sequel, Tron: Legacy failed (In spite of the technology that made it possible for Jeff Bridges to look as young as he was in the original Movie).

 

See also:

 

Chapter 3: Who's Your User

 

Videodrome

 (1984)

 

Videodrome

 

 

 

See also:

 

Chapter 4: Long Live the New Flesh

 

Terminator

 (1985)

 

Terminator

 

For more click here

 

See also:

 

Chapter 5: I'll Be Back

 

Max Headroom

 (1986)

 

Max Headroom

 

Max Headroom TV series, or "20 Minutes Into The Future".

In a post-apocalyptic future where television sets are more important than food, TV ratings are the all important currency of the nation. A new technique of preventing viewers from channel surfing proves somewhat detrimental to particularly sedentary couch potatoes. The top studio becomes concerned: dead viewers make for low ratings. Edison Carter, top news reporter, is sent to find out more. After a motorcycle accident, his mind is preserved by wizz-kid Bryce and becomes his wise cracking, computer generated alter-ego: Max Headroom, who manages to boost ratings above those of any live hosts to date. This made for TV Movie was later remade (sanitized version) as the first episode of the series.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 6: 20 Minutes Into the Future

 

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

 (1987)

 

Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

 

Another lone hero who comes from nowhere, crushes the corrupt corporation (this time without killing its leader) and disappears.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 7: Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

 

Robocop

 (1987)

 

Robocop

 

Detroit - in the future - is crime ridden, and run by a mega corporation. The corporation has developed a huge policeing robot, which unfortunately develops a rather dangerous glitch. The corporation sees a way to get back in favor with the public when a cop called Alex Murphy is killed by a street gang. Murphy's body is reconstructed within a steel shell and named Robocop.

Comparison with other Cyborg, Schwarzenegger; On the Cyborg's desperate quest for humanity (man-machine-man versus machine-man), and there are also elements reminiscent of the "Six Million Dollar Man"...)

 

See also:

 

Chapter 8: I'll Buy That For A Dollar!

 

Predator

 (1988)

 

Predator

 

Hero Vs. anti Hero

 

See also:

 

Chapter 9: If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It

 

Batman

 (1989)

 

Batman

 

Unlike Cherry 2000 and Cyborg, both of which were released the same year, this Movie deals not with a machine, but with a human being (for all intents and purposes) looking for his place in the corporate, technological, darker world (capital+crime+power) threatening to swallow him; Compared to Superman's Metropolis, a steel and glass canyon bathed in light, where Superman can fly around unhindered between the towers, Batman's Gotam City is the exact opposite, a bleak and dark city becoming of the Hero who lives in the shadows and only comes out to fight the resident villains.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 10: Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys?

 

La Femme Nikita

 (1990)

 

La Femme Nikita

 

Reference is made only to the original Luc besson's La Femme Nikita starring Anne Parillaud, not to the American version starring Bridget Fonda, the TV series starring Peta Wilson, or the new TV series starring Maggie Q.

Nikita and her two Nihilist friends commit robbery and murder while on drugs. After her trial she is not executed or taken to prison, but to a school for special operatives. She is told that Nikita no longer exists and she will be trained to pay back society for what she has done, as a spy/assassin.

Another robot on a desperate quest to regain her humanity in a world which is cold, alienated, hostile and mostly grey...

 

See also:

 

Chapter 11: Mister, Is This Heaven Here Or Not?

 

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

 (1991)

 

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

 

Meeting the rebellious teenager as a part of the journey back to humanity.

 

For more click here.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 12: There Is No Fate But What We Make

 

Sneakers

 (1992)

 

Sneakers

 

Compared with The Net as a hacker Movie

 

See also:

 

Chapter 13: Too Many Secrets

 

Nemesis

 (1993)

 

Nemesis

 

In the future, 'information terrorists' threaten to destroy order in society. Alex is a part-man-part-machine LAPD cop who is the best at what he does. When one of the terrorists calls him a machine, Alex questions his humanity and decides to leave the force. His final assignment is to apprehend an old colleague who has stolen some data. However, there is more than meets the eye and Alex must question his allegiance.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 14: You're Not the Maid, Are You?

 

Wild Palms

 (1993)

 

Wild Palms

 

In Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future, Harry Wykoff accepts a job as presidents of a gigantic TV company. He is confronted with a total new technology called "The New Reality" where three-dimensional TV animated pictures are projected in living rooms all around the world. Harry launches to the top of the company with his career but once there he is caught in a web of intrigue, betrayal and murder. A game of life and death begins.

Director Oliver Stone played himself in this Miniseries.

 

See also:

 

 

 

Crow, the

 (1994)

 

Crow, the

 

Referring only to the first Movie in the series, starring the late Jason Lee.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 16: It Can't Rain All The Time

 

Leon

 (1994)

 

Leon

 

Second Movie in this list by Luc Besson, who also made "the Fifth Element". A Lolita scenario; about older men and minor girls - Like Delilah who clipped Samson's hair, the little girl bringes about the demise of our Hero...

 

See also:

 

Chapter 15: No Women, No Kids

 

La Cite des Enfants Perdus

 (1995)

 

La Cite des Enfants Perdus

 

Music by Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks)

 

See also:

 

Chapter 18: You're Born In The Gutter, You End Up In The Port

 

Strange Days

 (1995)

 

Strange Days

 

Warning against a near present about to become a future

 

See also:

 

Chapter 17: Calm Down Baby, This Is What I Do

 

Crow: City of Angels, the

 (1996)

 

Crow: City of Angels, the

 

The first Movie in the series, starring Vincent Perez

 

See also:

 

Chapter 20: Do You Know How To Die?

 

Escape From Los Angeles

 (1996)

 

Escape From Los Angeles

 

The September 2001 issue of the Popular Mechanics magasine featured an article detailing how amazingly easy it is to build and activate an EM bomb, just like the one Snake Plisken used in the end of the Movie. Click here to read it. The author, Jim Wilson, explains how such a device would throw civilization back 200 years, and terrorists can build them for as little as $400... So why hasn't it happened yet? The author has no answer to this question, but this is just another example of the incredible speed in which science fiction becomes science and reality.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 19: Welcome to the Human Race

 

Dark City

 (1998)

 

Dark City

 

 

 

See also:

 

Chapter 21: I Don't Think The Sun Even Exists...

 

Matrix

 (1999)

 

Matrix

 

(Although only the first Movie is mentioned here, naturally the reference is to the entire series).

Human beings built more and more intelligent Machines, which gradually took over until everyone was put into the Matrix to be used a cheap and abundant energy source for the Machines. Only a few people managed to escape and break free from the dependence on the machines (which, as it turned out, is symbiotic), and they are barricaded in the last human city, Zion, and every generation produces the One who leads them to another war against the machines - yes, seven times did Zion fall and rise... Is there a chance for co-existence between humans and Machines? Is there a chance to end the war once and for all?

 

For more click here.

 

See also:

 

Chapter 22: I Know Kung Fu

 

Unbreakable

 (2000)

 

Unbreakable

 

After surviving a train wreck as the sole survivor and without a scratch, a seemingly mortal man (David) embarks on a journey of self discovery that will lead to his transformation into hero setting out to fight evil (Elijah).

 

See also:

 

Chapter 23: They Call Me Mr. Glass

 

One, the

 (2001)

 

One, the

 

Apparently being the One is not all that easy, and in the realm os Sci Fi all the more so. In the Babylon 5 Universe, we deal with the search for the One, or according to Minbary belief, the One Who Was (Sinclair-Valen); In the ST-DS9 universe, Captain Sisko was chosen to be the One; The Highlander declares himself to be the One, and immediately all the other would-be Ones gang up on him to kill him; In the Matrix, Neo is dubbed the One, and immediately had to run for his life from Agents Smith and his lackeys. In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker is considered to be the One who would restore the balance to the Force, and we all know what happened to him (and maybe that's why his son Luke was not a One, because as we recall there was another One, his twin sister Leia), and many more examples ...

This Movie's protagonist fares no different. Why is that? Because in the digital world, built on Ones and Zeros, every One has Many zeros chasing him and trying to destroy him...

 

See also:

 

Chapter 24: I Will Be the One

 

Equilibrium

 (2002)

 

Equilibrium

 

Though this Movie is not discussed in the R. talsorian website, I decided to include it in the list because in my opinion and according to all criteria, it belongs to the Cyberpunk genre.

 

See also:

 

 

 

Hardwired

 (2009)

 

Hardwired

 

Though this Movie is not discussed in the R. talsorian website, I decided to include it in the list because in my opinion and according to all criteria, it belongs to the Cyberpunk genre.

 

See also:

 

 

 

Surrogates, the

 (2010)

 

Surrogates, the

 

Though this Movie is not discussed in the R. talsorian website, I decided to include it in the list because in my opinion and according to all criteria, it belongs to the Cyberpunk genre.

 

See also:

 

 

 

Cyberpunk in Literature

 William Gibson's Neuromancer Neuromancer contains depictions copied almost verbatim into Movies such as Blade Runner, Escape From NY, Escape From LA, Johnny Mnemonic (which was actually conceived in this Novel) and of course The Matrix.

 

And read the following ending:

 

And one October night, punching himself past the scarlet tiers of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority, he saw three figures, tiny, impossible, who stood at the very edge of one of the vast steps of data. Small as they were, he could make out the boy's grin, his pink gums, the glitter of the long gray eyes that had been Riviera's. Linda still wore his jacket; she waved, as he passed. But the third figure, close behind her, arm across her shoulders, was himself. And tell me if this doesn't remind you of Luke'sfarewell scene from Yoda, Anakin and Obi-Wan at the end of "Star Wars" ...

 

Incidentally, William Gibson co-wrote with Tom Maddox Scripts for two X-Files episodes, First Person Shooter and Kill Switch, both dealing with the conflict between the virtual world and the real world.

 

See also other works by Bruce Sterling, Rudy Rooker, John Shirley and Lewis Shiner.  

Summary

 In spite of all the efforts, an acceptable definition for the term "cyberpunk" is yet to be found. Some critics consider it nothing more than an artificial means of marketing, while others argue that Cyberpunk is indefinable by nature. Which one is right? You decide...

 

And what is the future of cyberpunk? It is unknown. The unity and cohesion of the founding fathers group is crumbling as each of the members is trying to break out in a different and independent direction, but none of them loses touch with the past and the tradition of Science Fiction.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

http://www.hatii.arts.gla.ac.uk/MultimediaStudentProjects/00-01/00036 37k/project/html/default.htm

 

http://project.cyberpunk.ru/idb/technology.html

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