Under The Sun

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

They say that the story that made cyberpunk as a genre was William Gibson's Neuromancer in 1984. Neuromancer is a great book, sturdily plotted and brilliantly written, and I guess it really was the first cyberpunk. But the electronic part was just technology, an inevitable outgrowth of the attitude. The attitude was perhaps itself an inevitable outgrowth of the New Wave, but as it happened, the seed--a hostile world survived by expertise and camaraderie--was the Nebula-winning novella of 1969: Harlan Ellison's A Boy And His Dog. "It's a mean tale," Ellison wrote, much later, "because I was trying to say to my world and readers that we needed to be a lot kinder to one another." Cyberpunk lives on the border of Dystopia. Perhaps, so also do we.

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