What Is Cyberpunk

What is Cyberpunk?

“ Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest. ” ― Isaac Asimov

Islands In The Net

Welcome to the Islands in the Net! A game set in a reality that never was. ​This game is primarily influenced by William Gibson's Neuromancer, Bruce Sterling's Holy Fire and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Many elements in this game are taken directly from these sources, with a few notable exceptions.

William Gibson, widely considered the father of cyberpunk, created an astonishingly detailed vision of the future, with many accurate predictions about the future of computers and technology. He accurately predicted the rise of the internet, and the rise of mass media-driven culture. However, our world has not become the world envisioned by science fiction authors of the 1980s. Many elements of classic cyberpunk have become antiquated and anachronistic. To maintain the vibrant style of classic cyberpunk novels, this game keeps intact those anachronisms. The style of this game is retro-futuristic, taking place in the future described by those authors of the '80s and '90s, regardless of whether or not new technologies have rendered their original visions obsolete.​


Cyberpunk is the term applied to a science fiction literary movement of the 1980s. Although there are several authors from the 1960s and 1970s whose work appears cyberpunk in retrospect, the term wasn't coined until the publication in 1984 of William Gibson's Neuromancer, a novel which won the Hugo, the Nebula and Philip K. Dick awards – something no novel had ever done.

Neuromancer presented a view of the future that was different. Gone were the glass-domed cities and Utopias of Golden Age science fiction. Gone were the monotone dystopian nightmares of Orwell and Levin — some cyberpunk worlds make 1984 look like Club Med. The cyberpunk future is vibrant — pulsating with life, from the streets to the high-rises. Paradoxically, however, that life is cheap, perhaps because there's so much of it.

Cyberpunk is a style defined by two elements. The first is the interaction of man with technology. Computers are as common as dishwashers in the cyberpunk future, and the dividing line between man and machine is sometimes blurred. Is an artificially intelligent computer (commonly referred to as an AI) alive? If your brain were put inside a mechanical body, would you still be human? And if not, when was the line crossed? Characters in cyberpunk worlds have to be ready and able to deal with technology at all levels, from a broken beer bottle to a military battlesuit.

The second element found in most cyberpunk work is that of struggle. The world is divided into two groups – the haves and the have-nots – with a vast chasm between them. Those with power want to keep it; those without want to get it.


​Retrofuturism is a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced in an earlier era. If "futurism" is sometimes called a 'science' bent on anticipating what will come, retrofuturism is the remembering of that anticipation. Characterized by a blend of old-fashioned "retro" styles with futuristic technology, retrofuturism explores the themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology.

Retrofuturism incorporates two overlapping trends which may be summarized as the future as seen from the past and the past as seen from the future. The first trend, retrofuturism proper, is directly inspired by the imagined future which existed in the minds of writers, artists, and filmmakers in the pre-modern period who attempted to predict the future, either in serious projections of existing technology or in science fiction novels and stories. Such futuristic visions are refurbished and updated for the present, and offer a nostalgic, counterfactual image of what the future might have been, but is not.

The second trend is the inverse of the first: futuristic retro. It starts with the retro appeal of old styles of art, clothing, mores, and then grafts modern or futuristic technologies onto it, creating a mélange of past, present, and future elements. Steampunk, a term applying both to the retrojection of futuristic technology into an alternative Victorian age, and the application of neo-Victorian styles to modern technology, is a highly successful version of this second trend. In the movie Space Station 76, mankind has reached the stars, but clothes, technology, furnitures and above all social taboos are purposely highly reminiscent of the mid-1970s.​

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What Is Cyberpunk

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