postmodern cyberpunk

Within its comparatively short time span of existence, cyberpunkreview.com developed to be a genuine premium resource on cyberpunk and related issues.
There is not only the vast collection of reviews, which was expanded from movie-reviews to including game- and literature-reviews as well, at its main page, but the virtual meatspace quickly became a highly interesting forum, carrying some high-calibre discussions. I am especially entranced by the discussion-thread Cyberpunk Narrative started by illusivemind, dealing with the issue of cyberpunk being postmodern literature or not—and what good classifications like that do at all. In my view during the discussion again striking similarities between the project of contemporary sociocultural anthropology, ethnography and cyberpunk crept up:

illusivemind wrote [snippets]:
I liken the job of cyberpunk to what Kafka described as the job of fiction: a hammer that smashes the frozen sea within us. In the case of cyberpunk it should smash implicit cultural preconceptions and force us to confront beliefs we didn’t even know we had. It has this opportunity to question the tenets of humanism: the deification of rationality and the supremacy of human beings etc. It can allow us to move beyond ideals of the enlightenment and replace them with more sophisticated notions of humanity. [emphasis sfam’s, and I fully second it]

sfam answered [snippets]:
This is actually why I LOVE Japanese cyberpunk. It absolutely answers in spades the part I bolded above. I do think you’ve really hit the essential “uniqueness” that cyberpunk should be bringing to the table. This, I think, doesn’t start with writing. It starts with thinking about [culture and] society. [I want to] pursue my understanding of how society and humanity itself is changing based on this truly strange set of circumstances we find ourselves in. But truly, fiction is the best vehicle to communicate the interesting insights. As Gibson has shown, this is really what changes people’s understanding. [emphasis and insertion mine]

I grabbed the text behind one of illusivemind’s literature-hints and very likely will include it into my upcoming course on cyberpunk and anthropology:

SPONSLER, CLAIRE. 1992. Cyberpunk and the dilemmas of postmodern narrative: The example of William Gibson. Contemporary Literature 33(4): 645-644.

Most directly related entries: writing culture and cyberpunk, anthropology voight-kampff style, and anthropology’s shades.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.