Category:Punk Punk

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Punk Punk genres are a generalization of Cyberpunk into other periods or with other genres mixed in. In the 1980s, authors like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote dystopian novels set Twenty Minutes Into the Future, where they explored themes such as the impact of modern technology on everyday life, the rise of the global datasphere as an arena for communication, commerce, conflict, and crime, and invasive cybernetic body modifications. The heroes of these stories were marginalized, seedy, and rebellious, in other words "punks". Bruce Bethke called this Cyberpunk, and it was good.

The original noir flavor of Cyber Punk had disillusioned, cynical protagonists striving against overwhelming odds to avoid total defeat. As other authors latched onto the genre they added another, more optimistic, flavor with badass longcoats wearing mirrorshades and using Impossibly Cool Weapons and other gadgets to wipe out the opposition. They also took the Punk to other time periods and settings, creating Punk Punk genres. Common for all such genres is that the technology (and/or magic) level is turned way up, an ultra-modern sensibility is grafted on, and that the protagonists are somewhere along the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes living in a Privately-Owned Society. The world is also on a sliding scale, from a World Half Empty to A World Half Full (or, rarely, even more optimistic).

Shared genre conventions

Technology (and/or Magitech)...

  • ... is ubiquitous and, in retro-futuristic settings, considerably more advanced than that available in the corresponding period.
  • ... is a means to control the public. The actual form of government varies, but it is usually somewhat sinister and oppressive (Dystopia, duh?).
  • ... provides some kind of medium for global or at least wide-ranging communication that is driven by research and/or business, piggybacked by military/political needs.
  • ... is a strategic resource. In our timeline, this started in the 19th century with railroads, the telegraph, and the machine gun; in later settings wars are lost and won in cyberspace, before the army even leaves its barracks. Speaking of the army, while most of the soldiers are using relatively crude weaponry, there will often be an organization whose units pack state-of-the-art weapons and equipment for black-ops work.
  • ... is regularly applied in transhumanistic ways, i.e. to make people stronger, faster, more perceptive, etc—for instance through body modifications/prosthetics. The science of medicine is typically quite sophisticated.
  • ... can create Artificial Humans, Clockwork Creatures, or Ridiculously Human Robots.
  • ... is developed with little regard for harmful consequences to society or nature.

If there is magic, it may...

In particular, it does not involve divine miracles, and will not depend on faith. Nor does it require a Deal with the Devil. Magic users might suffer deleterious sideeffects.

Category:Punk Punk