Explanation of Cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk derives from the science fiction genre known for its focus on “high tech and low life.” The term originates from a hodge-podge of cybernetics and punk coined by Minnesota man Bruce Bethke’s short story Cyberpunk. Cyberpunk featured advanced science and technology paired with a total breakdown of the normative social order.
Plots and Settings
Cyberpunk plots involve hackers (Hiro from Snow Crash), artificial intelligence (replicants;Blade Runner), mega-corporations and a near-future dystopia. Cyberpunk settings oft resemble the old-school Maltese Falcon-esque detective films, and in the case of the film Blade Runner the “hero” character is stylized by these films. Cities and society itself are ridden with postmodernist prose and prescribe the nihilist underground community of electronic societies. Other Cyberpunk works take place in cyberspace, blurring the borders between virtual reality and reality itself. Cyberpunk depicts the world as a dark, sinister place with networked computers dominating every aspect of life. Giant, multinational corporations have for the most part replaced governments as centers of political, economic, and even military power.
Examples in literature (Blade Runner and Snow Crash)
Blade Runner is cyberpunk. Earth is seen as a post-apocalyptic dystopia ran by one powerful corporation, Tyrell Corp. In the movie the weather is often rainy, stormy, and Earth is portrayed as a dark, dirty, forgotten world (resembling a Maltese Falcon-esque detective film noir). Artificial Intelligence abounds as everything is computerized from pets to people, and the humanoid machines have been deemed evil and corrupt.
Snow Crash’s cyberpunk genre begins from its setting in a near future post-industrial dystopia. It consists of a high tech, low culture pattern with computer hackers as the protagonists fighting evil forces. The Metaverse blurs the distinctions between reality and virtual reality and the result of this inability of distinction is this unfathomable computer /reality virus that distorts truth and emerges people into alternate realities.
And I hope this helps. Go out and read cyberpunk! I personally am not a fan of science-fiction in the George Lucas aspects, but the blend of retro film noir with realistic advanced technologies make this genre truly unique.