Thursday, March 18, 2021

Was There EVER a Cyberpunk?



I was just now reading Paul Di Filippo's glowing review of Bruce Sterling's new Tachyon Publications collection Robot Artists & Black Swans: The Italian Fantascienza Stories, in which Paul reflects on  how much cyberpunk (by which he means, chiefly, Bruce) has changed in the past 35 or so years.

Cyberpunk, the movement, which was created by Sterling, served him well in the early years, though he never much cared for the name and I doubt he's entirely pleased with how it's still stuck on him, however much his fiction has changed. But thinking about the Old Days brought up a memory of a genial argument that Ellen Datlow and I had back then.

I posited, for various reasons that no longer matter, that there was no such thing as cyberpunk, but that if there were, William Gibson wasn't a part of it. Ellen smiled and said that she was absolutely certain that there was such a thing as cyberpunk and that Bill was its only practitioner.

All these years later, there's been an ironic reversal. The world has decided that cyberpunk exists but that Bill Gibson is no longer a part of it. Meanwhile, I've decided that Ellen was right on both counts.

 I can't say I'm surprised. Ellen is a very insightful woman.

You can read Paul's review here.  


And as long as I'm here . . .

I haven't been promoting my own books with all the egotistical vigor I should have. Mea culpa. So this is just a reminder that the ebook of Vacuum Flowers is still on sale and will remain so for the rest of the month of March.

You can find the details here. 



Eileen Gunn said...

Vacuum Flowers? Isn't that your cyberpunk book, Michael?

Michael Swanwick said...

Nope. Chairman Bruce himself declared me a Class Enemy. It DID have a cyberpunk scene in it, but it also had a humanist scene, so they kind of cancelled each other out.