CYBERPUNK – Terrible Writing Advice

The sky above the video was the color of television,
tuned to a dead channel. This noir opening with vague allusions to
technology can only mean one thing; it’s time for a video on Cyberpunk! Cyberpunk is all about breaking the mold and
going against the mainstream, to rebel against the contemporary and blaze the trail ahead
into the unknown. And the best way to embrace this message of
rebellion is to follow the crowd and do what every other cyberpunk author is doing! So boot up your hacking rig and get ready
to write a cyberpunk story! The best way to start a cyberpunk story is
by setting the tone. Cyberpunk always takes place in a dark dsytopian
future where giant mega-corporations have finally defeated ab-block once and for all
and are now free to spam their neon color advertisements everywhere. Another key feature if cyberpunk is how it
explores the deep relationship between technology and humanity by showing us how technology
impacts society in many different ways taking a nuanced view of humanity’s dependence
on technology and… ha ha just kidding. It’s all about how technology sucks. While a writer could use a cyberpunk story
to explore the modern audience's apprehension of globalization and obsolescence due to automation
an even better idea is to water down our story with pretentious symbolism and gritty dark
themes. This overwhelming focus on the negative aspects
of futuristic technology and society should in no way be balanced by contrasting positive
moments. If the audience hasn’t walked away from
a cyberpunk story feeling both depressed and that they wasted their time, then the writer
isn’t doing their job correctly! Audiences also love it when a writer shoehorns
in pseudo-philosophical ramblings. I mean, I read Descartes’ Wikipedia entry
so that makes me a deep philosopher right? Now just because our story’s themes, symbolism,
and overall message is that technology sucks, this should in no way make a writer hesitate
to give our characters all kinds of awesome cybernetic implants that turn them into super
powered humans. This most definitely will not undermine our
central thesis about how technology makes everyone miserable. Be sure to get completely lost in showing
off all kinds of awesome, but poorly thought out cybernetic powers. A single cybernetic arm will totally allow
a person to lift a car without instantly snapping their spine. Now some writers might be tempted to give
their cybernetic abilities drawbacks in order to balance them and create interesting obstacles
for our cyborg characters to overcome. Writer’s should resist this urge as it might
make our cyborgs less awesome. A good solution would be to say that overuse
of cybernetics eats away at the very humanity of the characters… somehow. Not that even this arbitrary and vague limitation
will ever come up in the story. We just need to create the illusion of a limitation
and we are done! We could have our cyborgs be oppressed outcasts. It’s only natural with their array of amazing
and cool powers that cyborgs be shunned by society. I mean since when does anyone rush to embrace
the latest technology and use it as a way to elevate their social status? Clearly these cyborgs will inevitably be forced
to live in the shady underbelly of society probably along with the other dregs like criminals,
beggars, and writers obsessed with self promotion. Now that we have awesome cybernetic powers,
we need someone to a turn into a cyborg. We need characters! One standard cyberpunk protagonist is the
detective. This character basically wondered in from
a 50s noir film by accident, trench-coat and all. He should hunt down androids because Harrison
Ford made it look really cool. Our gruff antihero detective will never do
any actual detective work because that requires me to actually look up how that works. Besides, I’ve watched a lot of Law and Order
so that should count. Don’t stress over characterization either. Our detective antihero can be as bland as
the color palette so long as we distract the audience with our pretentious symbolism. We can also have our protagonist be an amoral
hacker. Our hacker will work his magic at his computer
spewing technobabble while typing super fast. Unlike real hacking which mostly involves
tricking bored customer service reps or digging though a company’s garbage bins looking
for passwords. Cyberpunk also has its share of robot, android,
and AI characters. This is an opportunity to explore fascinating
questions about the nature of androids like are they sentient or even sapient? If they are programmed to feel, does that
mean they really experience emotions? If they are sapient, do they deserve the same
rights as a human? Do androids dream? Are they alive? Can I [bleep][bleep] it? Unlike the human characters, androids should
be vaguely sympathetic until they turn upon their human creators because technology sucks
and we can make a Frankenstein reference. Interesting and thought provoking discussion
on how humans relate to AI and robotics should be avoided. No need to show how a futuristic society would
integrate AI into it’s economy, politics, military, and social structure. Having humans and AI grow together and learn
to coexist in a symbiotic relationship sounds lame. Instead, we should project human emotions
onto AI characters even though a super intelligent AI would likely be completely alien in mindset. Also make sure to get sapience and sentience
mixed up and even use the words interchangeably. These androids should be indistinguishable
from humans even if having a human form would impede their work. Let’s give our androids full sapience, super
strength, and then treat them like slaves. What could go wrong! At no point should their human masters consider
making cheaper and simpler robots with basic programming too simplistic to consider rebelling. Nor should any human social movement form
around giving androids full rights. I can’t think of a single instance in the
modern world were bored people on the internet champion the rights of minorities. Now when working on the setting itself, there
is only one true cyberpunk setting and that’s the dystopia megacity. The stock cyberpunk city is always a dystopia
with a huge rift between economic classes. What lies beyond these massive sprawling cities? Well if a writer does decide to show us what
is going on in the rest of the world, then be sure to make a complete mess of the geopolitical
situation. Just haphazardly throw borders together. Not that it matters. Governments are usually atrophied in cyberpunk
stories with their functions long ago superseded by corrupt mega-corporations. How this corrupt and painfully inefficient
system sustains itself should never be brought up or explored. Thankfully, none of this would ever happen
in the real life. It’s not like large corporations are stifling
the rights of individuals in the interest of increasing profits. Next thing you know, large companies would
start trademarking ridiculous things like the very term cyberpunk. But that would never happen…

23 thoughts on “CYBERPUNK – Terrible Writing Advice

  1. An actually good example of cyberpunk is altered carbon. It has good characters, an obviously cyberpunk but still awesome setting, cool technologies, and a lot of blood sex and drugs!

  2. I had a 4 players party in Cyberpunk that only 1 wanted robotic implants bcs the rest was "oh, no my body is sacred"…… 3 died … the one with implants survived. 🙂 and it wasn't my fault

  3. I think cybernetics could be a way for the ones in power to slowly gain control of each person. Like a cybernetic eye would up saturation on brands it approves of and desaturate those it doesnt, subtly influencing the user, or an arm would work funny with one brand's stuff and fine with another. And the more cybernetics you have the more ways you can be influenced while thinking your thoughts are your own.

  4. This is why I hate Texnolyze. Its far too nihilistic and over indulgent for me because of writing reminiscent of the joke you made about themes

  5. William Gibson Writes Neuromancer and displays a horrible, dark and gritty future

    Sci-Fi writers "It's free real estate"

  6. there is already a game that explores the idea and concept of what cybernetic of synthetic humans are, and if they deserve the same rights as humans, it's called Detroit: Become human.

  7. 3:47
    Detroit: Become Human explored these fascinating android questions.
    Yes, even the last one.
    Edit: And for the record, the answer to every single one of them was, "yes."

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