The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture

With technology seamlessly integrated into our lives and our selves, and social systems veering towards globalization and corporatization, cyberpunk has become a ubiquitous cultural formation that dominates our twenty-first century techno-digital landscapes. The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture traces cyberpunk through its historical developments as a literary science fiction form to its spread into other media such as comics, film, television, and video games. Moreover, seeing cyberpunk as a general cultural practice, the Companion provides insights into photography, music, fashion, and activism. Cyberpunk, as the chapters presented here argue, is integrated with other critical theoretical tenets of our times, such as posthumanism, the Anthropocene, animality, and 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.


  • Marc Player in Configurations, vol. 28, no. 3, 2020, pp. 395-97.

  • Simone Caroti in Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, vol. 31, no. 3, 2020, pp. 460-63.

  • Chad Andrews in Science Fiction Studies, vol. 48, no. 1, 2021, pp. 354-60.

  • Danielle Shalet in Foundation, vol. 50, no. 2, 2021, pp. 132–34

  • Andrew Watton-Davies in Bunkazilla UK Link

  • Michael Pitts in SFRA Review, vol. 52, no. 1, pp 241-42. – Link

  • Andrew C. Wenaus in Extrapolation, vol. 63, no. 1, pp 104-07. – Link

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

The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture is a holistic and comprehensive—if not necessarily exhaustive—look at cyberpunk in all its forms and from as many different perspectives as can reasonably be included in a single edited collection. As such, it makes for an excellent and accessible reference work for those interested in how techno-cultural changes made throughout our present information-saturated age have been addressed in science fiction and beyond. There is no other scholastic work on cyberpunk that goes as broad or runs as deep, and this will likely remain the case for quite some time.

Marc Player
Film Studies, University of Reading

The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture is as thorough and careful a study of worldwide cyberpunk as we could have hoped it would be. The writing and the bibliographical apparatus are both of high quality, and the enthusiasm of the writers for their topics matches their professionalism. Most importantly this is a book one can argue with. This reviewer found himself disagreeing with a number of theses in the book, sometimes out loud, and that’s exactly how it should be. Every companion volume is as much a spur toward conversation and argument as it is a compass reading in the field it tackles, and in that respect as in many others, this Companion represents a remarkable achievement.

Simone Caroti
Course Director, Full Sail University

„What makes this book distinctive from more general works on science fiction […] is that it not only focuses exclusively on cyberpunk but it also thoughtfully illustrates the importance of cyberpunk as a ‘culture’. The editors do this adroitly through their selection of essays and the essays’ strategic placement within the work. It is clear that nothing is done in this book by accident. The essays are tactically placed in terms of interest, cultural significance, importance and quality, and the editors do their best to produce an extensive guide on the subject, drawing from a range of experts as well as postgraduate students and cyberpunk enthusiasts.“

Danielle Shalet
Canterbury Christ Church University

Within the 50 information-rich articles is not so much an introduction to Cyberpunk, but more a state-of-the-art snapshot of some of the finest Cyberpunk Studies writing going around. Whilst the writing is not aggressively academic, the concepts and ideas discussed are given a weight and a reverence of serious critical analysis. The articles also demonstrate the most valuable facets of true fans of any genre: the joy of taking apart a favourite topic and evaluating it from every angle and in every light possible. Faults are on display as much as perfections, because it’s a part of the thing being loved, so needs to be part of a whole conversation.

Andrew Watton-Davies
Technology Author

If Ellison ever read a book like this one, he’d react in fizzing proletarian rage and urge me to sue everybody involved, but he’d also grumble: „Well, maybe it’s not too bad for some hopelessly non-Jewish Texan kid who doesn’t even write for  television.“ I sort of enjoy it when academics really get into the trenches with 1980s cyberpunk novels, like: „Hmm, this drug-addled dystopian rock star from a John Shirley novel seems to lack coping skills and also makes poor life-choices.“ There’s something endearing about it.

Bruce Sterling
Cyberpunk Legend

Moving beyond the most influential cyberpunk texts, it provides a broader understanding of how cyberpunk permeates disparate genres and media […] and therefore enables scholars to re-envision cyberpunk as not merely a North American genre of speculative fiction but instead in a more accurate sense as a global response to late capitalism.

Michael Pitts
English, University of Southern Bohemia

The Routledge Companion to Cyberpunk Culture exhibits a multivalent acceleration that can escape the capture of the twenty-first century’s corporate cyber-managerialism […]. [I]t is a toolbox of ideas, approaches, interpretive strategies, and a testament to the numerous ways that cyberpunk thinks about us even as we think about it.

Andrew C. Wenaus
English, University of Western Ontario
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