I’ve heard a lot of talk about how cyberpunk is over. Its predictions of brain jacks and virtual reality never came true. It hasn’t aged well.
In some ways, that’s is true. The classic, 80s-inspired neon dystopia looks pretty dated. Fashion and architecture have moved on. Culture and social standards have evolved.
But cyberpunk is still relevant. In fact, you could say it’s more relevant than ever. Here’s why.
In the United States, the vast majority of the nation’s wealth is under the ownership of a tiny percentage of the population. More than half of the remaining population struggles to make enough to survive, sometimes while working two or three jobs.
Mergers have allowed a few massive multi-national companies to dominate entire industries. Stagnating wages, arbitration clauses, union busting, and a glut of workers (skilled and unskilled alike,) have turned the job market into a dystopian nightmare.
Privacy is dead. Government and corporate monitoring follows us everywhere, from security cameras with facial recognition software to ISPs that record your every move online to phones that upload your location in realtime, passively record conversations, and come with manufacturer-installed keyloggers.
Chances are, even if you’re struggling to feed yourself, you have a $600 phone in your pocket. You couldn’t really imagine life without it. When a new version comes out, you’ll probably buy it.
For many of us, today’s world is the very definition of “high tech, low life.” So I counter the critics: cyberpunk is not dead. Cyberpunk is more relevant than ever. Cyberpunk is now.
If you’re curious about how our current cyberpunk dystopia will influence our future, check out my new novel, Necrotic City.
In a corporate-controlled society that rewards corruption and protects the wealthy at the expense of the weak, one peacekeeper dares to stand up for the voiceless. Adrian has crossed the Company that created him. Now he must fight for survival in a city that wants him dead.