Present punk refers to the idea that we are either heading into a cyberpunk dystopia, or that we are already living in one. The purpose of this blog is to:
1) Assemble, document, or otherwise curate evidence that we are living in a cyberpunk world.
2) Cope with this.
Currently, curating evidence involves picking things from the news. It’s not intended to blow your mind, but to document the shifts to cyberpunk. Though I will sneak in my thoughts here and there.
There are two ongoing illustrated series: the graphic novel, and People in Bloom. Each “issue” of the present punk graphic novel is a standalone short story with a few illustrations. The themes explored vary issue to issue, but the general point is to ask how far apart real life is from dystopian fiction.
People in Bloom is simpler: a bunch of drawings of people turning into flowers. That’s it–nothing deep, I just find this captures how I want to see people through my screen.
Who are you?
At the time of this writing, I’m just one person who’s been out of school for a couple years and is running this as a major side project after work.
What is cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that Wikipedia describes best as focusing on “a combination of low life and high tech.” We may expect to see, in a cyberpunk setting, incredible technological breakthroughs as well as massive poverty, the breakdown of society, or the absolute consolidation of technological authority.
Other common themes in the subgenre include: powerful corporations, often more powerful than or functioning as governments; artificial intelligence; aliens; urban hell; metropolises; massive wealth stratification; slums and massive poverty, especially in urban contexts; environmental destruction and catastrophe; augmentation of the human body and/or mind, and many others I can’t think of now.
Here’s a list of some popular works and franchises that are considered cyberpunk, if it helps to give you an image.
There’s a range here, with some being more aesthetically cyberpunk and others being more thematically cyberpunk, but you’ll get the idea:
- Blade Runner
- Judge Dredd
- Minority Report
- The Matrix
- Ex Machina
- Part of Cloud Atlas
- Ghost in the Shell
- Deus Ex
- Believe it or not, even Cyberpunk 2077
How loose are you with the term “cyberpunk”?
A lot of these posts will include content that doesn’t sound flashy. News about politics, or economics, or technological innovations that aren’t necessarily headed down a terrible path would be such things.
Some of the graphic novel issues will be mundane, and People in Bloom doesn’t appear remotely cyberpunk.
Those who love cyberpunk know it’s a lot about aesthetic, and as much as I truly appreciate that, my focus here is primarily about the things unfolding today that build up tomorrow’s dystopia. A court ruling about Uber drivers’ employment classification admittedly does not sound cyberpunk at all–it’s just news–but it’s one detail in a larger trend of the economic demolition of workers in the high-tech economy. High-tech, and low life.
So bear with us. Most of the content isn’t about flashy things like robot police or augmented humans with machine gun arms. By the time we get there, having a website is useless. In the meantime, let’s cope with what’s going on now.
Are you selling me something?
Aside from an idea? Not yet.
Full disclosure: I do eventually hope to earn money, likely through subscription or digital download, for extra content. Particularly illustrated content. However, most of the content would remain free and any subscription cost would be as low as possible.
I’ve paid for website maintenance and invested a significant amount of time into this project for years without ever expecting a dime in return. While I’d love to be able to get paid to run this project, for the foreseeable future I’m not trying to milk anything out of you.