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My opinion on cyberpunk is based on the main elements of what it is.

The most important is the world surrounding the main character.

The cyberpunk world is not just of bright advertisements made to distract you from the miseries and
hardships of living in an obviously corrupt and barely functioning world. It's about understanding the
constant conflict between powerful organizations and corporations (Yakuza, Misc. Gangs, SONY, Misc. Corps, ETC.) of
their desire to control the world, or at least large parts of it. However, due to their constant conflict
against eachother, they never achieve the entire world. They keep pushing themselves back while believing that
one more strike can bring them down. The hopeless ever ongoing war of becoming the new god over people for profit.
Any extra conflict is created by human error and not by the leaders of said organizations, just by middle men who want
to strive higher but forget they are snuffed out for their incompetency, and thus, the balance remains the same.

Another important element of the cyberpunk story is how the character interacts with the world.
Decker from Blade Runner is responsible for finding robots, Motoko from Ghost in the Shell fights against terrorists,
Case from Neuromancer does hacking jobs to gain his net access, and many other examples show that these characters are
not doing it for the belief of "Doing the right thing" or "Saving the world", it's about self-preservation.
Mike Pondsmith, the creator of Cyberpunk 2020, once said "Cyberpunk isn't about saving the world, it's about saving yourself."
The characters do not care about the ever inflating price of a bowl of noodles, they care about earning enough to buy themselves one.
This is critical to understanding that the corruption in the world is so great, that the self-preservation mentality is all
they have to depend on living. They don't have the energy or hope to fight in a rebellion against the system, because they
know if they did, they'd be overpowered too quickly by the other conflicting organizations. It would be a tight fight
with no window of success and if there was, there'd be barely any survivors.

Elliot from Mr.Robot and Lisbeth from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo are perfect examples of the modern cyberpunk. They get by on their
own in the digital corrupt world they are a part of. It's not the way they dress or how fast they type on a keyboard, it's the philosophical
understanding that follows as:
"The world is fuarrrked, I can't depend on anyone except myself now."


<Ganesha> i like it, but the cyberpunk world i envision is slightly less static
<Lisbeth> How so?
<Ganesha> it's full of movers and shakers who can blend in with the infinitely dense crowds of people
<Lisbeth> People who want to change the world but cannot be found so easily?
<Ganesha> yeah
<Ganesha> i'm talking about hitting megacorps, taking hostages, ransoming/selling data and trade secrets
<Ganesha> shadowrun soykaf
<Lisbeth> I'm fine with that, it's just my mentality is that those people don't understand how futile their attempts are. I think it's noble what they do, but that nobility won't mean anything when they're dead and everyone forgets them.
<Ganesha> i mean, i think it's all ultimately futile
<Ganesha> but geopolitics can be influenced by a single motivated actor making a loud enough statement, and i don't think that would change in a cyberpunk dystopia
<Ganesha> in fact i think we're inching ever closer to a world full of a lot of technically skilled nihilists with big ideas about how things should work
<Lisbeth> Mate, I think we're already there
<Ganesha> i don't think the other shoe has dropped yet
<Lisbeth> Maybe so
<Ganesha> things are getting interesting, but people are definitely going to remember the first high-explosive drone swarm attack


Good analysis. Did anyone already did a axiomatic argument about cyberpunks? I mean, get all the set and setting (tropes) on cyberpunk genre in, like, an ontology or model (mental map?)?
That would facilitate while writing cyberpunk stories.

> It's about understanding the constant conflict between powerful organizations and corporations

OP, I have a question: why do most people that like cyberpunk support anarchist movements (especially anarcho-capitalism and cryptoanarchism), if those systems would inevitably lead to big corporations taking over the place of the state? Would a 'real' cyberpunk story have characters that support anarchism when they are already overwhelmed by corps or that's just the delusion of cyberpunk lovers?


I think it's mostly because they want things to change, most like today where we want the state of the world to change but it's next to impossible to happen.
I don't think a 'real' cyberpunk story exists because a cyberpunk story can be utilized to tell a story by any character's perspective.
But to answer your question, a cyberpunk story is better off explaining the development of a character of why they got into an elusive line of work.


AS for these corps though, I think they're more the only source of work for these types of runners.

So there is a mutual love hate relationship with them, which comes with the anarchism and the love for them.


>a cyberpunk story is better off explaining the development of a character of why they got into an elusive line of work.

So you wouldn't say that any representation that is non-narrative in nature (does not follow a character's story[1]) can not be cyberpunk?

>I don't think a 'real' cyberpunk story exists

Ok, but we could not set the premises to the genre? A axiomatic argument, as I said?
For example, imagine a pinball machine. As I see today, the genre (cyberpunk) is quite without obstacles that can define it. Some people say a thing, other say other things.
An axiomatic argument would set the "rules" for the game, the obstacles in a pinball machine analogy.
Of course, it would need to be really generic, to not limit creativity. But, rules like:
>technology has to have a powerful impact on people's lives
>a X kind of dystopia [not specified - can be fighting the state, fighting corps or some apocalypse]
>advertisement is overwhelming
>people lost the sense of identity
>social problems directly related to the advancement of technology [not specified, could be like people without job because AI robots took over the place]
>most of the ambient is dark and sometimes, but not limited to, it has a technoir feeling achieved through neon or with brightness monitors

Things like that. would be good if someone do a ontology using this concept. I don't know about cyberpunk too much to do it by myself, so...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-narrative_film


No, I do think you can do different ways of telling a story with a cyberpunk style. I just think it's easier to tell the story from a single character and their past, mainly because it shows the degregation of the world around them. Like when you're kid, you think the world is content because you don't understand how it works yet. When you get older, you notice the little things but it doesn't bother you. At around 20, you realize the world is always against you so you have to be against it. The two forces constantly battling for a balance, like with everything else.

>'Real' Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is subjective in some ways, like how with suspense, there is suspense and Hitchcock suspense. There is a style or brand of it that's easily noticible. This is my own kind of style, or at least how I interpret it. Much like how Tarantino uses Non-Linear story-telling for Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction. It's how he tells the story and it works.


I think that's the real challenge, because there is so many different forms and styles of cyberpunk (Pondsmith's Cyberpunk 2020, Gibson's Neuromancer, Masamune Shirow's
GitS, Sam Esmail's Mr.Robot) that it's hard to make those connections and determine it fully. But if you looked at Noir films, you'd notice that they have similar items, but they are entirely different. Like Chinatown and Blade Runner. They are alike in some ways, but different in others. Most people can't even pinpoint EXACTLY what those similarities are because they're so subtle.

I apologize if I cause any confusion, it's very late for me and I'm very tired.


Interesting subject.

First of all, I think there's a common fundamental misunderstanding about the cyberpunk genre, which has been expressed here and elsewhere, and it's that the protagonist is "just a guy looking out for his own self." While on the surface that's true, it misses the broader point, which is that in these fictional realities, acting on your own self-interests *is a radical and revolutionary act in and of itself*. Orwell's 1984 (IMO the 'first' cyberpunk story albeit with no 'hi tech lo life' trope) is an example. The individual gets ground down by huge nameless forces. Sometimes they win, most of the time it's sort of a zero-sum game.

I think this is a kind of dangerous fantasy to engage in, if only because this undirected anger is used by the powerful to maintain control. I would (and do) strongly recommend Adam Curtis' fantastic documentary, 'Hypernormalisation'. Do a little reading about the use of Game Theory as a tool for societal control.

The only way that power can be fought is by collective action. You may think that "I've just gotta get mine," but wake up, you're being played. As an individual, you are powerless. Cyb fiction is great and entertaining, but I would caution anyone to apply it to 'real life.' I think Western culture has this unhealthy fascination with individualism. You are not the hero in your own personal adventure story.


I think individualism is a double edged sword though, you can depend on yourself but eventually you need help. Much like how Motoko has Batou and Section 9 to help her get work done. although Motoko is the center of all the action.

I'm not exactly a fan of the whole "You're not a lone ranger, stop thinking you are." tone, I think it's just similar to saying "Stop trying to solve this problem, it's not possible." It's not a good way to make a compelling argument, especially adding in the "wake up" cliche. Just a peeve of mine.

As for Western Culture and it's "Obsession" on individualism, you need to understand that America is (although it's up to debate now) the land of opportunity and self creation. I don't want to get too patriotic, but that's why they believe in individualism. It's not unhealthy, it's in their blood.


I would describe this as a real cyberpunk environment, scenario, backdrop, etc.

A good cyb story will incorporate most if not all of these tropes. But irony is what makes things fun to read, so not every character or corporation should strictly adhere to these points. As a matter of fact, they should contradict them to enrich there plots and characters.


certainly It's in their blood, but can it not be said it's made the world sick?



Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying, 'don't try.' I'm saying something along the lines of, 'Let's do this together.' IMHO we all need to stop fetishizing this idea of 'looking out for your own self-interests' and realize that the only way to overcome these monstrous forces which are controlling our world is to band together. In real life.

Yeah the 'wake up' line might be a bit overdone - I don't see myself as some kind of Cassandra figure. I don't think you are asleep and that I have some kind of special 'woke' status. My apologies on that one.

I would also argue that the 'land of opportunity' bit is more of a story that we tell ourselves, not the reality. Class mobility in America (and the West, in general) an extremely rare thing. If you're born poor, chances are that you'll die poor, and so will your kids.

Seriously though. Watch Hypernormalisation. Read about Game Theory. It's a cynical, ugly world view that is shared by a great deal of people in power. The only way to short-circuit it is to work together.


IN SO FAR AS you are part of the world saving the world is also saving yourself~

BUT the world is NOT real and yourself = DOES NOT EXIST

SALVATION is sought outside of yourself and your world! What you perceive is YOU within YOURSELF, it is all YOU, but YOU != all...

The most important quality of the CYBER(as in GOVERN) world is that it is artificial, fake, illusionary, unreal, TOTALLY CONTROLLED. But this isn't cause for degeneration into egotism, it is possible and nobody will mind because the egotist will be GASLIGHTED into thinking that he is operating on pure self interest while the volatile constituents of his cybernetic environment will rearrange to exploit his egotism for HIGHER PURPOSES.

What this calls for is DISSOLUTION of the egoist borders and dedication to a kind of meta existence not as an individual but a meta-individual. TRANSCENDENCE of REALITY which now stands in front of us as unarguably UNREAL, it never was, there is no going back now that the TRUTH of UNTRUTH is becoming only more and more blatant.

Do as you will because no matter what so you shall.


Typical postmodernism degenerate. That's why I hate this school of thought, it's just reductionist. If you want to say reality does not exist, at least do an argument. If you don't want to do an argument because logic also doesn't exist, then argument against logic itself. That's what the good people are actually doing with intuitionism logic and arguing through with fuzzy logic.


You have typed a lot and CAPITALISED some WORDS, but not actually SAID anything.

>You should always elaborate on your opinions rather than just spilling the soykaf.