I’ve always been fascinated with Cyberpunk. The gritty worlds hidden under neon signs and bright clothes, the technology, criminology, morally grey characters… It’s just lovely.
My problem is how close Cyberpunk has become to reality. Nah, we don’t need to enhance our brains. We just clip the tech onto our faces, ears, wrists… We don’t have to speculate about massive corporations. We have phrases for them, and political backlash if you talk about that sort of thing. Our economy is more digital than anything else – I mean, who even carries cash anymore?
Granted, many people have no idea of the common (and free) technology that is around them every day. Facial recognition? Yeah, it’s called tagging, and most programs do it for us. AI marketing? Check Amazon and see if those deals weren’t specially designed for you. I mean, we’re currently living in a cross between Star Trek and Blade Runner. The sucky part? Not enough neon signs were I live.
So I’ve been thinking about Cyberpunk. I’ve mostly been thinking about the problems of getting a little too close to the issues of today when crafting it. Politics is a HOT topic, and one that isn’t a great way to make friends (or fans!) But, this year’s political silly season is a gold mine for ideas. It’s so hyperbolic that I can’t help but take notes. Future villains may have problems with plausibility – but well, so do this years’ politicians, it seems.
And I can’t really remember the last time a great Cyberpunk novel came out. Ok, I haven’t been looking lately, either. I grew up on the greats. Ah, how I love my dreams of Electric Sheep. I am inspired by art, such as the images on this page, and I am an admitted technophile. Without a connection, I’d be lost in the world, both literally and figuratively!
Do people still care about Cyberpunk for more than cosplay? Is the genre still thriving? Should I bother putting my crazy ideas down into a novel (er, one might be almost done, and sitting in my “to be released” folder). Running with it? Completing a series?
Or is this a potential waste of my time? Is it a great way to polarize the audience, get too close to reality, and alienate the very people who have enjoyed my books so far? The farther in I get to being a full-time author, the more these questions weigh on me. Writing isn’t just about the love of the story. If that was the case, then I wouldn’t have a five-man – well, mostly woman – team on call to rip my books apart, make them better, and then veto almost every cover idea I come up with. If all I wanted was to enjoy the art of writing, I would spend less time with the NOT-writing parts. Instead, the thing that gets me is the storytelling. It’s the belief that I’m reaching people, entertaining them, and making them look at so much in a new way.
It’s how I address all my books. Doesn’t matter if that’s the delicate, pampered girl who isn’t going to trip on her heels because people don’t really do that, or the alien creature who doesn’t think about romance the same way as a human. I want to take the accepted, bend it just a bit, and then ponder why it’s accepted. I want to push the boundaries. I think that right now, the world needs a little more Cyberpunk, because the genre addresses themes that we’re living in the middle of. I just hope that I can get it right, because I’ve been trying.