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Cyberpunk Science Fiction

What is Cyberpunk (Science Fiction)?

Cyperpunk Science Fiction is a sub-genre that has gown out of the Sci Fi community and spawned more sub-genres in popular culture. Cyberpunk stories are typically set on an Earth that is immersed in a cyber world. The exploration of the relationship between humans and computers is at the core of these stories. The Cyberpunk world is a futuristic world that is incredibly high-tech, but it is also a dark and bleak world.

Make sure to check out our Best Cyberpunks Books List

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Other Features of Cyberpunk

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  • Level of Real Science

    High. Science is a key feature of Cyberpunk—technology and its perfection, specifically in regards to virtual reality, is at the core of this sub-genre. The science becomes very detailed—cybernetics, prosthetics, cyborgs, and the internet.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    High. Cyberpunk Sci Fi stories explore the changing relationship between humanity and computer technology. In Cyberpunk stories technological advances go hand-in-hand with social decline.

  • Level of Characterization

    >Moderate. Characters often take a backseat to technology, or at least exist on the same level as technology in Cyberpunk stories. The story is more focused on the character's relationship with the computer and the computer's effect on the character than character development. How much can you really learn about a character who spends considerable time living in a virtual environment anyway?

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Moderate. Cyberpunk plots move the story forward, but like characterization, plot plays second-fiddle to the exploration of the human/computer relationship.

  • Level of Violence

    Moderate. Because Cyberpunk stories tend to take place in an almost feudal or anarchic society violence comes into play. Sometimes the violence is virtual, taking place in a computer  generated world, and sometimes it's real—violently attacking those who are 'jacked' into these virtual worlds. Then again, maybe it's a story about internet fraud—not so violent.

Related Science Fiction subgenres

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    Biopunk and Nanopunk are two Sci Fi sub-genres that are a spin-off of Cyperpunk. The difference is in the type of technology each sub-genre focuses on—biotechnology and microscopic or nano technology.

  • Hard Science Fiction is all about technology and scientific realism is paramount, which is a characteristic key in Cyberpunk.

Cyberpunk isn't for you if...

Machines scare you. If computers aren't your friend. You dislike a dark, futuristic dystopian society. You dislike film noir/detective noir. A heavy dose of violence and sex. If you prefer sunshine tales.

Popular Cyberpunk books
  • 1 Neuromancer


    By William Gibson. Gibson is the father of Cyberpunk and this novel in particular is significant. In this novel the term cyberspace is coined.

  • 2 Snow Crash


    By Neal Stephenson. Considered by some as a parody of Cyberpunk. This novel popularized and cemented its use of the term avatar to describe online virtual bodies

  • 3 Software


    By Rudy Rucker. The first of a series in which sentient robots seek to overthrow humans and start a robot revolt. Rucker is considered to be a grand-father of Cyberpunk and he imagines an extreme future.

  • 4 Islands in the Net


    By Bruce Sterling. A high-tech world where families are corporate associates and the seedy underwold is one of data pirates. Slightly different from other Cyberpunk because much of the action takes place off the grid.

  • 5 Ghost in the Shell


    By Masamune Shirow. This is a series of stories that are also movies and television episodes. The line between human and machine is blurred as humans become increasingly reliant on mechanical implants and robots are integrated with human tissue.

  • 6 Ready Player One


    By Ernest Cline. People escape the grim surroundings by jacking into a virtual Utopia that holds a winning lottery and remarkable power—you just have to solve the puzzles first.

  • 7 Daemon


    By Daniel Suarez The first of this high-tech thriller series. A different take on Cyberpunk because a computer program running outside of human control is dismantling the society that has become heavily networked and reliant on computers.

  • 8 Vurt


    By Jeff Noon. A first time novelist, Noon has received high praise for this hip novel. A sister is lost in a coloured virtual reality that's existence is questionable and from which there is no escape. The story unfolds as her brother searches for her.

  • 9 Mindplayers


    By Pat Cadigan . Cyberpunk taken in a new direction, this novel blurs the line between reality and perception by using technology to make the mind a real and explorable place.

  • 10 Frontera


    By Lewis Shiner. A novel that features both a dystopia and humans augmented with computer hardware. Significant because it takes place on Mars and the majority of Cyberpunk stories are Earth bound.