“There’s no question that cyberpunk had a shockingly brief existence as a cohesive entity. Born out of science fiction’s new wave, literary postmodernism, and a perfect storm of external factors (Reaganism, cheap transistors, networked computing, and MTV), the genre cohered as a tangible, fungible thing in the early 1980s, most famously exemplified by the aesthetic of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and the themes of William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). The term cyberpunk itself, as coined by Bruce Bethke, came into being in 1983. The neologism captured the zeitgeist: the potential of, and simultaneous disillusionment with, techno-capitalism on steroids.”
From Jared Shurin's excellent introduction to THE BIG BOOK OF CYBERPUNK in which I have a story called CRISPR Than You.
“Cyberpunk was born of the punk ethos. A genre that, in many ways, existed against a mainstream cultural and literary tradition, rather than for anything definable or substantive in its own right. This is, at least, an argument posited by those who believe the genre peaked—and died—with Bruce Sterling’s superb anthology Mirrorshades (1986). Accepted as the definitive presentation of cyberpunk, Sterling had pressed a Heisenbergian self-destruct button. Once it was a defined quality, cyberpunk could no longer continue in that form.
“Although this is a romantic theory (and cyberpunk is a romantic pursuit, despite—or perhaps because of—the leather and chrome), it is not one to which I personally subscribe. While collecting for this volume, I found that the engine of the genre was still spinning away, producing inventive and disruptive interpretations of the core cyberpunk themes through to the start of the next decade.”
I love Jared's intro a great deal. Read more at CrimeReads.