Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

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Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:08 am

After a very enjoyable debate with Eldo in the BBST Thread, i thought that Cyber-punk deserved a thread of its own. Very Happy

The essential characteristics of Cyber-punk as a distinct sub-genre of sci fi can be epitomized by some classic films: Metropolis. Blade Runner, Brazil, Robo-Cop, Johnny Mnemonic, Akira, 1984, V for Vendetta, The Matrix, and a whole slew of second tier films like Equilibrium. A number of early Arnold Schwarzenegger films also had a solid basis in Cyber-punk that also include other sci fi features. The most obvious are of course The Terminator Franchise, The Running Man, and Total Recall.

Some of the most well known authors in the genre include: George Orwell, Philip K Dick, and William Gibson. There are quite a few other Sci Fi and genre writers that have also written some Cyber-punk novels. This includes Stephen King who wrote The Running Man under the Pseudonym Richard Bachman.

In the Music World, Cyber Punk grew out of a strain of Nu Wave in the late 1970s and Early 1980s that later morphed into what we might call Industrial today. This music is epitomized by heavy Rock rhythms, Synthezers, and churning Guitars. Modern Industrial also shades over into certain kinds of Trance music. These crossover styles include EBM and Goa Trance.

While Artists like David Bowie, Roxy Music, and Kraftwerk had some influences on the strain of electronic punk music that followed, the actual fFounders/Popularizers of Cyber-Punk begins with Gary Numan. Thanks to him, other bands like Devo, and Ultravox garnered popularity. While artists like Numan and Ultravoz would later evolve into other forms of electronic pop and rock, other bands picked up on the Cyber/Punk/Industrial sound. Artists from the 90's through today include Ministry, Prodigy, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Rammstein, Die Krupps, Marylin Manson, at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end would be artists like Juno Reactor, and Apoptygma Berzerk.

It is the central themes that define the movement/genre as a whole. The Key elements of the Genre are Dystopic Futurism with a Film Noir vibe. Cyber-Punk is essentially a critique of Modern Fascism (The Corporate State), with an emphasis on how Capitalist Industrialism makes us all slaves of the Machine. A number of features predicted by Early 20th century authors and film-makers have come true, making these critiques ever more relevant to our times.

In the mid-19th century, industrialism became the means by which Capitalists began to assume the role of the Ruling Classes, usurping the role of Royalty. Royalists had to adapt to the changes and became Corporatists themselves in order to survive. Karl Marx's famous (or infamous depending on one's point of view) works were probably among the first to predict a "Cyber-Punk" future, but as a non-fiction writing historian and economist.

The first Fictional story to spur the popular imagination is probably the film Metropolis (Fritz Lang 1927). A number of Sci Fi writers picked up on these themes and firmly cemented this critique as a staple of Pop Culture. The most famous of these authors is probably George Orwell. Many people (perhaps including Orwell himself) assumed that the Dystopic "Future" he was describing was a Critique of communism. While this may be true of Animal Farm (which was about how populist revolutions became co-opted by the powers they were originally fighting against), it is less true of 1984, which is a more accurate description of Corporate Capitalism today than it is of Communism. FDR warned the public about the Military/Industrial Complex, defining Fascism in much the same way as Mussolini--the Convergence of the Corporation and the State: The State's Monopoly of "Legalized" violence being brought to the Service of the Corporations.

These political themes are at the core of Cyber-Punk. A Vision of the Future that is really a critique of the Present style of Governance. The Machine was both a Literal and Symbolic expression of the subjection of humankind to the Industrial Age. In the 1980's the Industrial Age evolved with the advent of computer technology. And Cyber-Punk artistic movement evolved with it.

So this thread is dedicated to exploring some of our favourite Cyber-punk authors, artists, musicians, and films and TV.

Even more general sci fi programs and films like The Twilight Zone, Dr Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica would occasionally touch on some of the ithemes of the Man-Machine relationship and how it relates to modern political economics.

So have at it folks, let the discussion of Cyber-Punk as an Art Movement begin.

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:44 pm

BAH! Humbug! Doesn't ANYONE like Cyber-Punk. Mad Mad

Hello people! The Borg anyone...? The Cyber-men, Daleks? Robo-cop? Those awesome squiddies in The Matrix? Akira, Ghost in the Shell?

GB Razz

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:52 pm

First Matrix was great, second was a big disappointment, still haven't gotten around to seeing the third. The Second Rennaisance was sweeeeeeeeet though. Cool

I'm not familiar with a lot of the examples you mention. You did bring up anime in the other thread, and I have seen Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Both were good, but they weren't exactly my favourites either.
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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Kafria on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:16 pm

Saw V for vendetta on the telly for the first time a few weeks ago and thought it was great! and a bit scary, cause in a way you could see it happening! Crying or Very sad pale

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:23 pm

One of my favourite films V. And my number one comic to film adaptation despite its numerous alterations. Shocked

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:25 pm

At least I got one reply! Very Happy

But I thought there would be more people on the forum who'd be familiar with Cyber-Punk Genre/Art Movement. Rolling Eyes

Hell, even Avatar is rooted in Cyber-Punk (if it's not clear enough in the Theatrical Version, it's definitely clear in the EE). The Alien franchise also has a number of Cyber-Punk features. The Lawnmower Man. Even War Games is basically a Cyber-Punk story (hackers are a staple of the genre too since the 1980's). Even Spielberg did a couple Cyber Punk flicks: AI, and Minority Report. Swordfish--Cyber-punk.

How about Music? Any familiarity with cyber-punk/Industrial music?

Surely you've read 1984, a Cyber-Punk classic.

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:26 pm

Finally, a few more hits. Very Happy

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:28 pm

Kafria wrote:Saw V for vendetta on the telly for the first time a few weeks ago and thought it was great! and a bit scary, cause in a way you could see it happening! Crying or Very sad pale

It's scary because it IS happening! affraid

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:34 pm

Gandalf's Beard wrote:Hell, even Avatar is rooted in Cyber-Punk (if it's not clear enough in the Theatrical Version, it's definitely clear in the EE). The Alien franchise also has a number of Cyber-Punk features. The Lawnmower Man. Even War Games is basically a Cyber-Punk story (hackers are a staple of the genre too since the 1980's). Even Spielberg did a couple Cyber Punk flicks: AI, and Minority Report. Swordfish--Cyber-punk.

I hadn't thought of Avatar as cyber-punk, but while I haven't seen the EE, I did buy one of the tie-in books, which elaborated on the state of Earth. I can see how it fits the cyberpunk model, complete with a massive corporations controlling much of the globe. I thought of it as more like Blade Runner, but now that I think about it more, I suppose that film also counts as cyberpunk. Blade Runner was brilliant, definitely the best cyberpunk film I've seen. Very Happy

How about Music? Any familiarity with cyber-punk/Industrial music?

I wasn't really aware that there was a cyber-punk genre of music, though I have listened to some industrial. Out of the artists you list, I like Rammstein (got introduced to that by a German professor Laughing ), like only a few Nine Inch Nails song, and don't like Marilyn Manson (though I was quite impressed by his interview in Bowling for Columbine). I'm more of a classic rock and early heavy metal fan.

Surely you've read 1984, a Cyber-Punk classic.

Nope!
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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Kafria on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:37 pm

How about Music? Any familiarity with cyber-punk/Industrial music?

Surely you've read 1984, a Cyber-Punk classic.

Sorry No! not the music, not 1984 (although I did read animal farm at school) and until I read this thread I didn't realise that cyber -punk was a genre! Hence the not touching it with a bargepole on BerBerST!

AI as I'm sure you know is loosely based on Aldiss' 'supertoys last all summer long' and he is another favourite. A number of the films you mention are things I have watched and enjoyed, maybe I just didn't have a name for what I liked Rolling Eyes

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:39 pm

1984 should be a must read book for everyone at some point. One of those few rare books which actually qualifies as being more than just a good book, its important as a warning and a guide.
Not sure Id class it as cyberpunk though, its dystopian yes but its more concerned with political control- there is no private interests in the world of 1984, only State. And the same could be said for V and for Equilibrium.

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Kafria on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:45 pm

Just twigged what film Equlibrium is Embarassed Love that too! Very Happy

Okay maybe I really am a cyber punk fan! (another new label, just what i need Rolling Eyes )

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:11 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:1984 should be a must read book for everyone at some point. One of those few rare books which actually qualifies as being more than just a good book, its important as a warning and a guide.
Not sure Id class it as cyberpunk though, its dystopian yes but its more concerned with political control- there is no private interests in the world of 1984, only State. And the same could be said for V and for Equilibrium.

Well the Dystopic Authoritarian State is a staple of the Genre too. Fahrenheit 451--also Cyber-Punk. cyber-Punk doesn't always have to be about Corporate Authoritarianism necessarily. It's the Dystopic Authoritarian State + tech, and/or Near Futurism that is the core defining principle of the Genre.

The Wikipedia entry is a fairly decent over-view, though there may be bits I might take issue with.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:29 am

I stand corrected GB.
I guess like a lot of folks here it hadn't really occurred to think of much of this stuff as being cyberpunk. I'd always just categorized 1984 as dystopian alongside works like Brave New World (presumably it too is cyberpunk).

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:43 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I stand corrected GB.
I guess like a lot of folks here it hadn't really occurred to think of much of this stuff as being cyberpunk. I'd always just categorized 1984 as dystopian alongside works like Brave New World (presumably it too is cyberpunk).

Exactly! Brave New World is another classic in the genre! Cheers to Aldous Huxley. And this is precisely what I hoped this thread would do; which is to explore and recall many of the pieces of Cyber-Punk culture that I had forgotten.

Aldous Huxley is also one of the first authors to make Psychedelic Drugs part of the Cyber-Punk genre. The Wiki entry mentioned Timothy Leary, but I think he had less to offer to Cyber-Punk than Terrence McKenna--the Psylocybin Advocate. McKenna contributed a lot of Philosophical ruminations and Speculations to Cyber-Punk literature, many of which made it into the Matrix franchise.

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:57 am

The new Battlestar Galactica had a number of themes and imagery that are Cyber-Punk But the Prequel series Caprica is TOTALLY Cyber-Punk. Very Happy


GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:23 am

I suppose part of is that I tend to associate cyberpunk with a particular visual look. Like the neon futuristic worlds of Blade Runner or Caprica. When this is absent, as in 1984, it seems less cyberpunky to me. That and I agree with the wiki entry that cyberpunk is in style partly a re-imagining of film noir.

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:08 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I suppose part of is that I tend to associate cyberpunk with a particular visual look. Like the neon futuristic worlds of Blade Runner or Caprica. When this is absent, as in 1984, it seems less cyberpunky to me. That and I agree with the wiki entry that cyberpunk is in style partly a re-imagining of film noir.

Yeah. I was pointing that out (some noir styling) in my first post. When I was describing Cyber-Punk I hadn't read the Wiki entry yet. I was pleased that it pretty much matched up with my descriptions, and included a number of films, authors, and music that I had already mentioned. Kinda pissed they didn't mention Gary Numan and Devo though. They were the first musical artists to really base their entire sound on electronic punk. They got Bowie in as an influence though, which was good. But they missed out on Kraftwerk and Roxy Music.

Another big influence was Pink Floyd. Cyber-Punk wasn't the only musical style they touched on, but classics like Welcome To the Machine, and One of These Days, A Saucer Full of Secrets, and a couple of tracks from Dark Side of the Moon were some of their most influential pieces on Cyber-Punk Music. And of Course, the Grandaddy of Electronic Music in general, and Cyber-Punk in particular is the Dr Who theme. Some other hugely influential cross-over artists were German Psychedelic bands like Tangerine Dream, who covered pretty much all electronic styles, from Ambient, to trance, to Industrial

A couple more films for your consideration...Escape From New York, and Logan's Run. Logan's Run is sort of Brave New Worldish, in that the people living in the society think it's a Utopia...but anyone who bucks the system finds out how F***** Up their society really is.

Have you seen the 1927 film Metropolis? I think that was probably the first Cyber-Punk film. And as I was pointing out, Cyber-Punk evolved over time, picking up new imagery and ideas along the way as technology began to catch up to some of the ideas people were writing about in the 40s and 50s.

1984 is actually a Good example of that. It definitely has a Grim Dystopic setting, a Noirish style, and it presaged our Surveillance culture.

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:24 am

When I consider your definition there is a huge swath of material that falls into it.
Musically I think the Doctor Who theme is influential but more broadly speaking the work of the BBC radiophonic workshop was massive in influencing future music and in creating whole new ways to produce electronic sound.
Escape from New York I would probably class as cyberpunk now you mention it, and I suppose They Live also from Carpenter fits the bill.
Metropolis is a stunning bit of work, even today its sheer inventiveness visually still delights. And of course visually all robots, and in particular sexy female robots have their roots in that film.

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:42 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:When I consider your definition there is a huge swath of material that falls into it.
Musically I think the Doctor Who theme is influential but more broadly speaking the work of the BBC radiophonic workshop was massive in influencing future music and in creating whole new ways to produce electronic sound.
Escape from New York I would probably class as cyberpunk now you mention it, and I suppose They Live also from Carpenter fits the bill.
Metropolis is a stunning bit of work, even today its sheer inventiveness visually still delights. And of course visually all robots, and in particular sexy female robots have their roots in that film.

I did point out that the Dr Who theme was the Grandaddy of practically ALL forms of Electronic Rock and Pop.

A lot of sci fi may have some of the characteristics of Cyber-Punk, without actually being Cyber-Punk. Here I'm thinking Post-Apocalyptic Sci Fi, which is a sub-genre unto itself. But they do share some of themes, as such films like The Road Warrior.

Clearly general sci fi programmes like Star Trek and Dr Who have some elements of Cyber-Punk, but usually contained within certain episodes and certain "cultures" they come across, like the Borg, or Cyber-men and Daleks. And in episodes from ST:TNG on virtual reality, AI, and androids are elements you also find in Cyber-Punk. But the programmes as a whole are NOT Cyber-Punk!

GB

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Why the Steven Seagal shooting kids GIF in my signature this last week??? To be perfectly honest, I didn't know why I posted it until tonight! I have been posting a lot on FB the past week about the Culture of Paranoia, Guns, and Violence in the US. The GIF reflected some of my visceral reactions to the School and Mall shootings!

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:50 am

"I did point out that the Dr Who theme"- GB

Yes I know but I felt that the people producing the huge body of work of which it was only a part were worth a name check. Twice- The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. I think they don't get the credit they deserve for pioneering electronic sound.

If Road Warrior counts then the Mad Max films must be in.

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:57 am

I'm not sure that the Mad Max films are Cyber-Punk, strictly speaking. They belong in the Post-Apocalypse Sub-Genre of Sci Fi. It's more that they share some similar themes (many cyber-punk stories are set in a post-apocalyptic era). The Mad Max films are definitely Punk, but there's not a lot of Cyber. Though they definitely have the disintegration of society.

But in Cyber-Punk, the disintegration is on the fringes, outside the Gleaming Spires of the Technocrats' Cities. The Rich live in Shiny walled fortress Cities and well-armed Hi-Tech forces to keep out the Majority who live in desperate Poverty and scramble to find enough equipment for lo-tech gear. Not unlike the present situation in many third world countries and in Urban areas of the US where the poor and the working classes live in the parts of cities that look like war zones, in the shadow of gleaming skyscrapers. This is why Cyber-Punk isn't really about the Future, It's an artistic movement that is actually a critique of the political/economy of modern society.

GB

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:03 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:"I did point out that the Dr Who theme"- GB

Yes I know but I felt that the people producing the huge body of work of which it was only a part were worth a name check. Twice- The BBC Radiophonic Workshop. I think they don't get the credit they deserve for pioneering electronic sound.

Absolutely right! The BBC Radiophonic Workshop definitely deserve the accolades for truly pioneerimg the use of electronic music in a pop format. Previously, most electronic artists were performing experimental pieces, sound collages, and reworking classical compositions with analogue synthesizers.

GB

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Why the Steven Seagal shooting kids GIF in my signature this last week??? To be perfectly honest, I didn't know why I posted it until tonight! I have been posting a lot on FB the past week about the Culture of Paranoia, Guns, and Violence in the US. The GIF reflected some of my visceral reactions to the School and Mall shootings!

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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Ally on Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:24 pm

Getting into Jazz Funk... Wink



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Re: Cyber-Punk in the Media: Literature, Film, Music, Graphic Novels etc.

Post by Orwell on Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:31 pm

Ally wrote:Getting into Jazz Funk... Wink



That whole sequence in the car is gold - absolute gold! Very Happy

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