Wednesday, 1 February 2017

80s CyberPunk

What makes it cyberpunk?

With retrospect, cyberpunk changed in the 90s when the promised land chrome of post industrial deiselpunk got clean away from fossil fuels and became solarpunk in the 00’s. This zero generation has optimism and wealth whereas the zero generation it replaced had pessimism and poverty. That is the difference in the millennials and the millennial approach to cyberpunk.

The 80s were street life, the 10s had got rid of that as part of the cohesive corporate cover-up. Making the world a better place through eugenics and extermination. Police state brutality forces whats left of the aging drug, gun and 16-bit cyberdeck generation indoors. Have another nicer day. 

For me the question is:

What makes it 80s cyberpunk?

The cable guts are hanging out of buildings as an add-on to concrete cheaply erected without anticipation of electric taking over so fast. Everywhere has metal starting to rust, fans to vent air around an airless overcrowded maze of hi-rise cells and streets which stink of shit, trash, monoxide fumes and cooking of rodents and fish.

Even the concrete is 4-bit down here. You can caste a person by the functioning of their brainwave rhythms: 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256. We had to keep up with the kids of the morning growing up on sunshine instead of whiskey, moonshine instead of neon. They have wifi so no cables are needed, our cranial datajack are obsolete and even the backstreet pain-docs are quitting or in jail, regulations caught up hard with the new-wave hardware. They are the Giga-corp generation, byting down on us just like we knew it was coming.

Even they are going to be obsolete when the next wave hits, our grandkids have tetra-tattoo’s skinbedded into their cult so far advanced we become dinosaurs or vampires depending on how far we made it, nothing but memories of what life was in the physical world because now we hide away and build our harmless entertainment behind laser doors or so far out into the reserves there ain’t no electric nor cops anyway, earthships and nature, survival lifestyle far away from the cities which spawned technopunk people.

Those western urban wilderness ain’t the first world no more because city life has also been obsoleted. Just such a pity most people still live there. But we loved it for what it was, it was our time, up above the world riding our youthful drive to be something alive.

So cyberpunk has gone retro, and mutated to cope with how things have turned out. This is the era of solarpunk, a return to natural balance, living with ecology. 3D printers making tools out of mud and in the foreign hi-tech labs there are atomic printers making tools out of protons. Meat grown in vats so it has no mind or central nervous system capable of detecting pleasure or pain. Hybrid designer species for surgical, pleasure and amusement purposes. Not so long before they are given human minds. Clones already a reality.

Cyberpunk of the future is a very different thing to its dirty root origins. After a splash fascination with Victoriana so it could pick up on the age of exploration and enterprise, leather and wood, bakerlite brass and glass, the steampunk movement, it is eventually going to merge into mythpunk were supernature and creatures of dream will walk openly amongst us. Something like Shadowrun promised, the Mayan fifth and sixth ages of “urban ways” and “living myth” respectively will happen.

That’s where I’m going next, through the promise of age into sleep and rebirth. I am going to do it the good old fashioned organic way, bypassing digitally copied minds and the delusion of electronic immortality quite simply because my generation learned the hard way, metal rusts, concrete crumbles, even the new nano-brane materials sold to you as lasting forever will not outlive the immortality of transcendental spirit. Who would want to be trapped in flesh anyway or the cruel coldness of passionless machinery? Forever is only a long time when time is involved, and beyond here - beyond here is the dream and the dreamworlds.

The shaman knew all along. We fused it into electronic tools, the sword in the stone, the fire in the cloud. We made our illusions strong. But that is all they are, distractions and delusions. No cold comfort there when you face the harshness of reality. Cyberpunk was. And something new remains. My generation were before the time of the digital pheonix.

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