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The Confusion Over Cyberpunk Essay

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The Confusion Over Cyberpunk


What the media associates with cyberpunk does not agree with the commonly accepted interpretation of the movement. The cyberpunk writers' philosophies of a bleak future, caused by the marriage of technical and human abilities, have been lost due to the acceptance of the underground movement. Whenever anyone looks at the newborn information age, one can not help but attach a "cyber" label to it. When anyone mentions the Internet or the World Wide Web, the only word that comes to mind is "cyberspace." Even though our networks are not synonymous with the "cyberspace" created by William Gibson in Neuromancer, the term is now being used to describe any virtual computer environment. It seems that the current acceptance of computers has started a revolution in which man is becoming dependent upon machines. Where can you go without having access to a television or telephone? The widespread use of microprocessors and the data stored on them have created a new medium for artists to demonstrate their abilities. One problem this computer revolution creates is that it is often confused with cyberpunk fiction. On February 8, 1993, Time magazine published an article defining and clarifying questions of the cyberpunk movement. The conventionalization of cyberpunk (CP for short) has succeeded in removing the ideals and philosophies once associated with it. Rudy Rucker states that CP is "simply the fusion of humans and machines (Elmer-Dewitt 59)." However, CP is about much more than that: it is about the struggle between man and its creation, the probing of the human soul, and the rebellion against tradition.

CP started as a group of writers eager to oppose conventional beliefs and writing styles. The movement ...


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...ment alone opposes the fact that the CP movement is countercultural and always stands away from the mainstream. The newly formed definition is rapidly replacing the true CP movement. Eventually, all interactive technologies ranging from video games to digital satellite systems will be considered CP. The group of writers creating SF in the 1980's has created a new movement based on their works, bearing the same name.

Works Cited

Cadigan, Pat. "Rock On." ." Mirrorshades : The Cyberpunk Anthology. Ed. Bruce Sterling. New York: Ace Books, 1986. 34-42.

Elmer-Dewitt, Philip. "Cyberpunk." Time. 8 Feb. 1993: 58 - 65.

Maddox, Tom. "Snake-Eyes." Mirrorshades : The Cyberpunk Anthology. Ed. Bruce Sterling. New York: Ace Books, 1986. 12-33.

Sterling, Bruce. "Cyberpunk in the Nineties." Writing About Cyberpunk. Ed. Tonya Browning. Austin: Abel's Copies, 1995. 3-6.


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