So, I love cyberpunk. I mean, a lot. The Ghost in the Shell anime (original) has been one of my top three favorite movies since college, and Neuromancer has to be one of my top five books of all time. Add to that pile the rest of the Sprawl Trilogy, Escapology and Virology, Borne (the book), Gnomon, Blade Runner, Akira, the Stand Alone Complex anime, Blame!, Transmetropolitan, Snow Crash … well, you get the idea.
The problem is I find that cyberpunk can really, really get you down at times. The despair that permeates the genre is so thick I eventually drown in it. After reading several novels or mangas, or watching animes or movies for a week solid after work, I develop such a bleak outlook on the world and life. Granted, it doesn’t help comparatively that for-profit companies and certain United States government agencies are doing their utmost to rob us of free will and privacy and the Constitution in the real world… which is not only echoed in cyberpunk, but a central theme to bring about awareness and change.
I often discover that I need to recover after an extended cyberpunk dive, reveling in wholesome kid’s movies or brightly colored comics or something far more upbeat. And, I wish it didn’t have such a weighty impact upon me (maybe that’s the point of cyberpunk, really), since so much of the quality cyberpunk stories are so blooming interesting. The Sprawl trilogy by William Gibson, the Ghost in the Shell manga and anime, Blade Runner (well, that and its launcher Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K. Dick), the manga and anime of Akira, and the manga and anime of Blame! are so deep and have such intricate worlds and bring about such heady questions … I truly enjoy the genre and get pulled into it time and again.
Sure, there’s some garbage in cyberpunk just like there’s garbage in everything: there are terrible jazz albums and crappy murder mystery novels and cheap knock-offs of just about anything, for example. But I’ve found so many gems within this narrow genre that I’m in awe of the creations of each of their masterminds, be them film or book.
Still, I love cyberpunk. But everything in moderation, right? What are your thoughts about the genre? Do you like some titles I’ve not mentioned? Have you never explored it before? Sound off below.
Featured image used under Creative Commons from Pixabay.