Not everyone agrees. The idea of using technology to achieve immortality seems naive in the face of a burning planet. Young people in China are lying flat instead of working, and refugee children in Sweden have a syndrome called "resignation syndrome", where they want to live forever. Cyberpunk was important to boomers who were interested in questions of law and order and who were determined to avoid the realities of human aging and embodiment. Kelly Robson is a Hugo nominee and a winner of the Nebula Award. In conclusion, cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk's focus on the commoditization of human workers was the most prescient aspect.
Considering the world has caught up with the genre's imagination, its place in fiction might be limited, or even limiting, in the way that re-telling of J.R. Tolkien might be limiting for a fantasy writer. One of the challenges of telling a future-set story is that eventually time catches up, like a rubber band snapping back into shape. Sometimes it hurts. Readers assume that authors are happy when they predict future events correctly, but rarely are we asked about the queasy feeling of watching one's worst vision come to pass. The Body Scout is a novel that looks at what happens when the human body becomes the major realm of technological innovation and corporate control.
Cyberpunk's history doesn't mean it can't point toward the future. Ten years after Bruce Bethke published his short story "Cyberpunk", the author of Parable of the Sower released her novel. The story is about a young black woman living outside of Los Angeles in 2024, watching as an authoritarian president is elected, human rights are eviscerated, company towns are built, and old neighborhoods are destroyed. Lauren prepares like a hero. She gathers her wits and her seeds and leads her community toward freedom in the book's sequel. The narrative focus was shifted from individual rebellion and success to communal liberation and legacy. Parable asked, "So what are you doing about capitalism's late stages?" While cyberpunk used metaphors for slavery and autonomy, the books examined the actual slave trade.
Genetic engineering, the embodied experience of aliens and posthumans, power and its uses, and terrible sacrifice in the name of survival were some of the things that were focused on in the fiction of Butler. According to author and scholar Tananarive Due, the central question of her work was "How can we make ourselves a more survivable species?" She is considered the mother of Afrofuturism and her narrative patterns repeat across all of cyberpunk's genre successors. She echoes in Premee Mohamed's The Annual Migration of Clouds, Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God, Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon, and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The Wildseed Centre, a 10,000- square-foot community hub for Black artists and activists, was purchased by Black Lives Matter activists in Toronto. It's still exemplary of what the movement could look like, regardless of whether or not this qualifies as cyberpunk activity.
The struggle is to hold it together, keep it alive, and teach it to be and do its very best. She was summing up Mother Olamina's mission, but she was also describing the 21st century in detail. This is a science fiction. For better or worse, a lot of cyberpunk's dreams have come true. We have to think about how to build ourselves again.
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