Elements of the dystopian sci-fi subgenre have bled into pop culture throughout the last decade, but the return of mainstream cyberpunk is now beyond a doubt. Question is, do they get it right?
Yes, that’s right, cyberpunk.
Canadian sci-fi/fantasy author Crawford Kilian described cyberpunk as a subgenre about a future in which capitalism is “triumphant but not necessarily benevolent.” Typically, the cyberpunk setting often involves towering super-cities, morally grey characters and anti-heroes, and sometimes no discernible morality at all. Mega-corporations may function as authoritarian governments, serving as a background Aesop regarding modern consumerism. And of course, it wouldn’t be cyberpunk without humans implanting or plugging electronic things into their bodies, or at its most innocuous, street urchins capable of effortlessly hacking together machines that present-day engineers can only dream of (although that is less the case now than it was during the genre’s genesis in the 1980s). Hey, sounds quite a bit like our own foreseeable future, doesn’t it? Almost like the genre is meant to serve as a warning for where we might be headed or something.