YA 101: Welcome to “Cyberpunk”

HA ha, what a name.  Cyberpunk.  I can’t help it.  When I read this word I picture stereotypical, bad-A, rapping, thugish teenage robots.  Wall-E gone punk.  Tank tops, pants around the butt.  Tattoos engraved on metal arms.

Then I shake my head and think, ‘You’re such a moron, Jen.”  Everyone knows that cyberpunk is a post-modern science fiction genre that focuses on high-tech and a breakdown in society.  Characters often have alienation issues, they’ve been compromised somehow in their lives.  They live on the edge of dystopian societies where technology advances rapidly.  Many times the technology is invasive, taking over human form.

Protagonists are often highly intelligent misfits, anti-social and outside the law and/or government in some way.  Rebels.  They feel misunderstood and often manipulated.  There are usually forced-manipulations:  events that happen to the protagonist that were out of his or her control.   Think Katnis in the Hunger Games – forced to fight and possibly die to keep society in control.  Advanced technology against the scourge of the earth, kept in their place by those in power with technology.

The theme is anti-utopian, the world dystopic, but the setting goes beyond that.  It makes the reader ask questions and search for answers.

Samples of some really good YA Cyberpunk include: