So in our last “Emerging Geekdom” we talked about Steampunk, which is fandom of sci-fi mechanical and scientific exploration that is set in a past setting such as the Victorian Era. This time we are going to be talking about Cyberpunk, which is the much younger and futuristic brother of Steampunk.
Unlike his little sister who is stuck in the past, Cyberpunk utilizes designs and techniques of robot, computer and technological advancements of the future. Cyberpunk maintains the same themes and ideals as Steampunk but the settings are usually in at more futuristic world. Many of the story settings for Steampunk come from dystopian realms that are very grungy and designed to be dark.
Attributes of Cyberpunk:
Negative Impact of technology on humanity: Think the Matrix, when human beings decided to destroy the sky so that they could overcome the machines. But it didn’t work out in the human’s favor. It eventually lead to The Matrix.
Fusion of man and machine: A great example is in the movie “I-Robot” with Will Smith. In the movie, he is partially fused with robotic gear, which on top of his hatred of robots due to an accident leaves him very sour about technology, despite being fused with it.
Corporate control over society: There are many cyberpunk series such as Cowboy Bebop and Akira, in which there is a massive corporate presence in government as well as in personal affairs. But this also can apply to the government utilizing technology to run the world. In the case of Ghost In The Shell, the government was using Cyberpunk ideals and technology to defeat those who were trying to upset the government’s balance.
Story focuses on the underground: Mostly all Cyberpunk stories have an underground world to it. A place where good and bad people utilize the underground to either spread freedom and justice or chaos and terror.
Ubiquitous Access to information: In a cyberpunk world, information is EVERYWHERE. On top of that, there are a whole bunch of hackers breaking codes and spreading even more information where and when they can.
Cyberpunk visuals and style: Cyberpunk visuals, ideally, are dirty, hyper-realistic “lived in” looks at the near future. Often cyberpunk films will have a single dominating color that permeates the film. We also see patterns of dark motifs contrasted with shocking neon color schemes. And just as important, a sense of slick style often pervades a cyberpunk movie.
So if someone wonders what is the difference between the two-now you know! If you want to learn more about Steampunk, check out the entry: “Emerging Geekdom: Steampunk-Is That a Boat or Something?”