The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture


When considering the extrapolation of possibilities delivered by technologies and social changes, one has to concede that today’s reality is not science fiction (sf) in the ‘Golden Age’ sense of the 1940s and 1950s, but rather as depicted by the cyberpunk imagination of 1980s sf which continues to speak to our contemporary moment. With technology seamlessly integrated into our life worlds and our selves, and social systems veering towards globalization and corporatization, cyberpunk has become a ubiquitous cultural formation that dominates our 21st century techno-digital landscapes. To put it directly: we are living in inescapable cyberpunk futures bleeding into the interstices of our present, and these cyberpunk realities intersect with our mainstream culture at every possible angle.

The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture collects original entries that engage cyberpunk’s diverse ‘angles’ and its proliferation in our life worlds. The Companion traces cyberpunk through its historical developments as a literary sf subgenre to its spread into other media such as comics, film, television and video games. Moreover, seeing cyberpunk as a general cultural practice, the Companion also provides insights into photography, music, fashion, and activism. Cyberpunk, so the chapters presented here argue, is integrated with other critical theoretical tenets of our times, such as posthumanism, the Anthropocene, animality, or empire. And lastly, cyberpunk is a vehicle that lends itself to the rise of new futurisms, occupying a variety of positions in our regionally diverse reality and thus linking as much as differentiating our perspectives on a globalized technoscientific world.


Table of Contents

  • Cyberpunk as Cultural Formation – Anna McFarlane, Graham J. Murphy and Lars Schmeink

 I: Cultural Texts

  • Literary Precursors -Rob Latham
  • The Mirrorshades Collective – Graham J. Murphy
  • Bruce Sterling: Schismatrix Plus (Case Study) – Maria Goicoechea
  • Feminist Cyberpunk – Lisa Yaszek
  • Pat Cadigan: Synners(Case Study) – Ritch Calvin
  • Post-Cyberpunk – Christopher D. Kilgore
  • Charles Stross: Accelerando (Case Study) – Gerry Canavan
  • Steampunk – Jess Nevins
  • Biopunk – Lars Schmeink
  • Non-SF Cyberpunk – Jaak Tomberg
  • Comic Books – David M Higgins and Matthew Iung
  • American Flagg! (Case Study) – Corey K. Creekmur
  • Manga – Shige (CJ) Suzuki
  • Early Cyberpunk Film – Andrew M. Butler
  • Strange Days (Case Study) – Anna McFarlane
  • Digital Effects in Cinema – Lars Schmeink
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Case Study) – Matthew Flisfeder
  • Anime – Kumiko Saito
  • Akira and Ghost in the Shell (Case Study) – Martin de la Iglesia and Lars Schmeink
  • Television – Sherryl Vint
  • Max Headroom: Twenty Minutes into the Future (Case Study) – Scott Rogers
  • Video Games – Pawel Frelik
  • Deus Ex (Case Study) – Christian Knöppler
  • Tabletop Role-Playing Games – Curtis Carbonell
  • Shadowrun (Case Study) – Hamish Cameron
  • Photography and Digital Art – Grace Halden
  • Fashion – Stina Attebery
  • Music – Nicholas C. Laudadio
  • Janelle Monáe: Dirty Computer (Case Study) – Christine Capetola

II: Cultural Theory

  • Simulation and Simulacra – Rebecca Haar and Anna McFarlane
  • Gothicism – Anya Heise-von der Lippe
  • Posthumanism(s) – Julia Grillmayr
  • Marxism – Hugh Charles O’Connell
  • Cyborg Feminism – Patricia Melzer
  • Queer Theory – Wendy Gay Pearson
  • Critical Race Theory – Isiah Lavender III
  • Animality – Seán McCorry
  • Ecology in the Anthropocene – Veronica Hollinger
  • Empire – John Rieder
  • Indigenous Futurisms – Corinna Lenhardt
  • Afrofuturism – Isiah Lavender III and Graham J. Murphy
  • Veillance Society – Chris Hables Gray
  • Activism – Colin Milburn

III: Cultural Locales

  • Latin America – Elizabeth Ginway
  • Cuba’s Cyberpunk Histories – Juan C. Toledano Redondo
  • Japan as Cyberpunk Exoticism – Brian Ruh
  • India – Suparno Banerjee
  • Germany – Evan Torner
  • French and Québécois – Amy J. Ransom
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