With the spectacular flame out of the Cyberpunk 2077 release, I’m seeing more introspective articles and conversation about what cyberpunk is or isn’t, is it still relevant, can it be taken in new directions, is it relatable to what’s going on in our world today, or is it simply a fading echo of a future-past?
One example of this sort of examination can be found in this piece on Jacobin Mag.
Less Cyber, More Punk
Likewise, the first wave of cyberpunk had more on its mind than nihilistic noir for the Atari age; it felt like a middle finger aimed at Reaganism and tech overlords.
“Classic cyberpunk is anti-capitalist, anti-establishment, and not tech-fetishistic but rather skeptical of how technology is used by systems of power to further oppression,” wrote comic book author and art director Rob Sheridan.
“High tech meets low life” is how many summed up the genre’s aims.
Cyberpunk’s auteurs and authors were particularly skeptical of the techno-utopianism of the early Silicon Valley era, a strain of New Left counterculture thinking that sociologists Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron have coined “the Californian Ideology.” They described the Californian philosophy as “a bizarre mish-mash of hippie anarchism and economic liberalism beefed up with lots of technological determinism.”
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