Re: RARA-AVIS: Cyberpunk Recomendation?

Date: 05 Oct 2005

So are you suggesting cyberpunk is hardboiled instead? The lone hero raging against the machine?

Jim Winter

-----Original Message----- From: Jess Nevins <>

The supposed influence of noir on cyberpunk is bollocks.

The whole point of noir is hopelessness, *particularly as far as the protagonist is concerned*. This is almost never the case with cyberpunk, which usually
(at least, in first-generation, 1984-1990 cyberpunk) takes a near-future of corporate domination and urban breakdown and adds to it cyberspace, which still provides freedom and an outlet for personal triumph to the protagonist. There isn't a significant or even major cyberpunk novel in which, in truest noir style, the protagonist is defeated. Cyberpunk is usually about triumph over an oppositional and usually corrupt system, not defeat in the face of it. Similarly, the dystopian view that the wikipedia entry writers ascribe to noir comes from the darker hardboiled writers.

Cyberpunk took some of the flavor of noir, but the truer influence on cyberpunk is, first, the dime novels of the 19th century, which began the down-these-mean streets-a-lone-hero-must-go trope; then the Western (it's not a coincidence that hackers call themselves "cowboys"), with its concept of the wide-open spaces that the protagnoist can help tame (in cyberpunk, that frontier is cyberspace); then hardboiled fiction (which is itself influenced by the aforementioned 19th century dime novels), which gave cyberpunk many of the specific characteristics of the traditional cyberpunk protagonist; then science fiction, which gave cyberpunk the ideas of identity fluidity, acceptance of alternative sexualities and cultures, and the fetishization of computers, among other things.


Northcoast Shakedown

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 05 Oct 2005 EDT