Friday, 22 February 2008

You feeling lucky, cyber/steam/bio/ punk?

With countless youth movements failing to bring down the establishment over the years, it follows that the establishment will remain a prominent force for the present and near future. Its proliferation might well lead us to…


Wrought from the pages of William Gibson, Alfred Bester, Bruce Sterling etc Cyberpunk brings together all the rebellious anti-corporate/government sentiment inspired by the Punk movement of the 70s but places it in a post-industrial dystopia where mega corporations, corruption and a breakdown in the social order are prevalent.

If you’ve seen Blade Runner, the Matrix (because we don’t talk about the other two, in the same way we don’t mention the second Star Wars trilogy) A Scanner Darkly or Ghost in the Shell, then you’ll have a good understanding of a cyberpunk tone and setting. If you imagine Cyberpunk as the daddy, then these sub-genres are its bastard, steamy, gene-spliced, offspring:


Often set in 19th century England or a world where steam power is still the main source of energy. They tend to be less obviously dark than cyberpunk, encapsulating more of the positive, arrogance of the Victorian era, well, among the Victorians at any rate.

The Difference Engine by Bruce Sterling and William Gibson, is a ‘what if’ Steampunk story. What if Charles Babbage succeeded in his ambition to build a mechanical computer and brought about the computer revolution a hundred years earlier? Suffice to say, Britain and the world become a very different place.


Is usually set in the present or the future where genetics have advanced to extraordinary and scary new heights. Often propagated by a megalomaniacal visionary. A good example of Biopunk; Bioshock and Gattaca.

There are more sub-genres but these are too niche-core to bother mentioning. Niche, a nicer way of saying lonesome.

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