I would also mention that if we were going to use an Anarch I would definitely use Alice because she is the epitome of forcing the corp to make difficult choices!
Other minor nitpick in the episode: Wilfy is on The Winning Agenda not Run Last Click!
Good call! I will correct next time around.
I like this a lot–Los makes lots of trouble for the corp. Those breakers are wicked expensive, though, so the derez strategy is key.
Squeaking in just before the end of November – Episode 16 of Install from Heap.
This week, we discuss the amazing South African science-fiction novel ZOO CITY, talk about how we’re all already in the Shadow Net, and ponder the Laguna Velasco District. Join us!
Woot! Listened to the first half on the the way to work today. Great to hear that you profess about literature, I actually am part of writer’s world too (wrote a picture book a few years ago, got my next one coming out in the spring )–maybe a segment on “My First Cyberpunk?” I think most folks in their 20ish to 40ish bandwidth probably didn’t get introduced to cyberpunk through books but through movies. Outside of very specific genre fiction, I’m struggling to think of a book that uses the cyber-punk theme that “crossed over” into main-stream book consumption in the same way that a Harry Potter or Percy Jackson did. Maybe because it’s difficult to do a “light-fared” version of the theme?
One of my favorites that touches on the genre is The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It takes place in Southeast Asia and focuses on an AgInfusion-esque corporation and an employee who is seeking genetically modified food that can fight against a global blight (though that only scratches the surface of the story). This book is DRENCHED in atmosphere; it’s less a “page-turner” and more of a “slow-page-turner.” Further, Bacigalupi does an awesome job of throwing you into a world and not over-explaining the “rules” of said world–you just find out along the way.
Nice work on the books! That’s great. I think you’re right about cyberpunk movies. Blade Runner is the obvious starting point, but I would probably point younger viewers toward The Matrix as a movie that gets the feel pretty well.
I like Bacigalupi – Windup Girl is excellent. I have trouble reading his stuff, though, because it feels too real to me. I worry for the next generation. It will be interesting to see if we can generate a conversation here about what we’d consider Cyberpunk. I put Zoo City in that genre because it feels like part of the digtial future to me, with the fantasy animals standing in for digital agents we all carry in our phones now. Windup Girl feels pretty post-apocalyptic to me. I am not sure drawing a line there is justified.
Probably the closest “cyberpunk-type” book that crossed over (other than Neuromancer, which was very widely read in its day) is probably Ready Player One, which feels cyberpunk adjacent to me.
Ah, that’s a good point. Windup Girl completely takes place in Meatspace so I can see what you mean. With the Wind-Up Girl herself being a genetically modified human, I’d say that it can bring it closer to that line of “genre acceptance.” That said, there are sections of that book that will make you feel like you are carrying around a Big Bag of Sad.
Ready Player One definitely “checks the boxes” for Lighter-Fare Cyberpunk; however I think it was aimed so strongly at Nerd Kids of the 80s that those who can’t/don’t relate (or don’t like) those themes tend to push hard away on it. If I were a teenager book reader, I doubt I would feel the same connection to Cline’s book.
Note of Moving the Goalpost: If we’re talking about Cross-Over Mainstream Cyberpunk, than RPO fits most of the bill; if we are talking about A Modern Teenager’s First Cyberpunk Book, then perhaps that is a void that remains unaddressed.
alert – alert – sweeping generalizations ahead! – alert – alert
The problem might also be that cyberpunk was a 1980s genre, and post-Internet it can’t get out ahead of the real world. Most science fiction uses technology of the far future to help us look at the world of the present. Cyberpunk in the 1980s reflected a world where technocracy and rampant capitalism was fomenting a political sphere that privileged business above all, imagining a world where government became business and regular people could pound sand or become revolutionaries or criminals or both. The hard-boiled attitude of the 1930s (there ain’t nothin’ we can do against the system) comes back in these books, along with the punk attitude of the body-as-meat about which we shouldn’t worry (or care). So which pieces of the original cyberpunk idea carry over to define the genre for us? The hard-boiled “the system is rigged against the average person” piece? The “technology will be a boon and a curse” piece? The “corporations will own the future and we’ll all be wage slaves” piece? Or something else?
Your last episode prompted me to consider the question of what constitutes a Cyberpunk canon or how it could be extended. The problem I came across is that Cyberpunk—as such—only has a few, readily-known works that could be pointed to as canonical, and they’re mostly crap.
I walked around, I listened to the podcast, I thought about it.
So, ded genre? Does the inability of Cyberpunk to create new memories for itself mean that Cyberpunk only ever reflected a particular moment in the history of 80s and 90s sci-fi? Does it mean that any attempts to add to the Cyberpunk genre must figuratively or literally Go to Mars and become part of the body of generalist sci-fi—Space Travel, Virtual Reality, and First-Person Shooter Elements—before being retrospectively claimed as our own by virtue of the presence of spiky haircuts, tattoos, cyber turtles, and leather jackets?
And yet… It’s true that Cyberpunk persists and endures in spite of the fact that we have already surpassed its major bullet points (as you pointed out): the pervasiveness of personal/private—as opposed to collective—technology, the abdication of the state in the face of capital, the debasement of the nation in favour of the megacity, the move away from stable, historically rooted personal identities to identities based on combination, flux, modification, rejection…
In other words, why is the idea of Cyberpunk still appealing? What anxieties is it allowing us to work through even though we already live in a Cyberpunk reality? (Albeit one that is still actively being negotiated.)
Well, ultimately I think this reflects some of the theoretical work that was happening between about 2003 and 2008 on culture and music. By accident, spurred by my own blurting out of “Derrida” somewhere on this board, I remembered this body of work. Derrida—particularly his Specters of Marx—seems to have been the target man in this movement, but I’ll admit my memory from this period is hazy. Good keyword to start with, anyway.
In Cyberpunk, the End of History has not yet been reached, as it has for us here in 2017. In Cyberpunk, the yet-to-come continues to irrupt into the present moment; Cyberpunk’s present is characterized by radical and unknowable changes which seem about to occur, in contrast to our own cultural present which is characterized by the flattening of the lived experience of time— what the theorist Mark Fisher has called “the slow cancellation of the future.” In other words endless franchise reboots, retro music fads, video game sequels, and the ultimate insolubility of the miserable geopolitical state at the end of the long, long, long, long twentieth century.
Cyberpunk is a work of mourning, not a work of futurism, Fisher would probably say, but he died earlier this year so it’s impossible to ask him. It represents, probably, our desire to pine for lost, failed, already-deprecated futures in texts instead of inventing new ones. Why does Cyberpunk seem to be able to imagine a future for itself, whereas our own perpetually narrowing cultural and political present cannot?
So what I think is that Cyberpunk is ultimately closer to an affect than a set of conventions. To consider what counts as “Cyberpunk,” we would probably have to look sideways and somewhat rhizomatically at other sets of works that also contain within them this sense of a lost future.
It’s a starting point.
Thanks, @nutritionalzero. Lots to chew on there.
I think you’re spot on about the difficulty of pinning down contemporary Cyberpunk–it does feel more like an affect than a trope or a setting. I see the recent William Gibson novels (as starting with Pattern Recognition) as exploring the now-future of the modern era, a kind of cyberpunk present.
I confess my Derrida muscles are pretty out of date–I last read Specters of Marx in 2005 and didn’t get much from it–but the idea of the flattened lived experience of time certainly fits. One thing cyberpunk writing didn’t anticipate was that the media landscape wouldn’t just become interactive, but that it would become endless and repeatable. What would McLuhan have thought of binge watching?
Starting with the end of your post, do you think Netrunner represents 1980s cyberpunk perspective, or a contemporary one? Can you elaborate a bit more on the lost future?
Episode 17 is live!
Hacktivist Meeting Challenge: 1 Revised Core, 1 Data Pack
[Interpreted the challenge to build a deck in this format for the broad meta, not just to beat other decks of this format. Mining Accident, for example, would be great if going against other decks of this format since the economy is so tight…but less good against the broader meta I think.]
Corp - Weyland Kill/Kill/Score
This is a variant on a kill/score deck that I think is reasonably good and fun to play. It can kill with a double punitive. But that’s not the fun part. Once you have a two or three point agenda scored…the junebug threat becomes really amplified. Any card, even an unadvanced one could be a junebug and could kill the runner by sacrificing agendas. It’s a terribly rude way to win, so I eventually converted to rezzing the junebug and thinking of it as protecting my Oberths. That usually leads to more wins by scoring. Quarantine system is in there just to have ways to forfeit agendas. I’d usually prefer more Archers and more False Leads if more than one revised core was allowed. Even if it’s not a top tier deck, this has been a really fun deck to play.
Install from heap challenge Corp
Jemison Astronautics: Sacrifice. Audacity. Success. (Daedalus Complex)
- 1x False Lead (Revised Core Set)
- 1x Hostile Takeover (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Priority Requisition (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Private Security Force (Revised Core Set)
- 3x Project Atlas (Revised Core Set)
- 1x The Cleaners (Revised Core Set)
- 1x Elizabeth Mills (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Project Junebug (Revised Core Set) ●●
- 3x Quarantine System (Daedalus Complex)
- 3x Oberth Protocol (Daedalus Complex)
- 1x Anonymous Tip (Revised Core Set) ●
- 1x Archived Memories (Revised Core Set) ●●
- 3x Beanstalk Royalties (Revised Core Set)
- 3x Hedge Fund (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Punitive Counterstrike (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Shipment from Kaguya (Revised Core Set)
- 1x Shipment from MirrorMorph (Revised Core Set) ●●
- 2x Trick of Light (Revised Core Set) ●●●●● ●
Code Gate (4)
- 1x Archer (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Caduceus (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Hunter (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Shadow (Revised Core Set)
15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
21 agenda points (between 20 and 21)
49 cards (min 45)
Runner - Extra click chaos
This is total jank…but it might work. The idea is to get a lot of money and slow the corp down as they try to prevent it from happening. Early game is all Peace and Tapwrm. Usually the Corp will purge the worms because there’s only 1 Sacrificial Construct in revised core. That’s fine. The late game econ is actually Magnum Opus any way. So the corp either resigns to letting the runner econ get out of control with worms or fights the early battle with purges giving Chaos theory time to get her rig entirely set up. Encore is a weird card that happens to be in Quorum. Maybe you can use it to get extra Tapwrm money once a match or for an occasional extra turn early game if the corp can’t yet afford to rez ICE.
Install from heap challenge Runner
Chaos Theory: Wünderkind (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Diesel (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Encore (Quorum)
- 2x Indexing (Revised Core Set)
- 3x Modded (Revised Core Set)
- 1x Notoriety (Revised Core Set)
- 3x Peace in Our Time (Quorum) ●●●
- 2x Retrieval Run (Revised Core Set) ●●●●
- 3x Sure Gamble (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Test Run (Revised Core Set)
- 1x The Maker’s Eye (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Tinkering (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Battering Ram (Revised Core Set)
- 2x Femme Fatale (Revised Core Set) ●●
- 3x Gordian Blade (Revised Core Set)
15 influence spent (max 15, available 0)
40 cards (min 40)
Another good episode in the can! At some point before the holidays I’m going to try to build a Die Hard Themed Deck (we can all agree that Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, right?). My hope is to use Calling In Favors, Three Steps Ahead, and anything that might closely resemble John McClain’s adventures.
For the corp side, Ghost Branch clearly is the main element of the Home Alone deck. Along with all the Deflector ICE since The Wet Bandits (who are Criminals, of course) are being bounced all around Kevin’s home (we can all assume his father is some type of High Level Corporate CEO).
Come to think of it, I’d love to do a Home Alone Themed Match. My hunch is there are cards in the card pool that can thematically line up for such a romp.
These look fun! Can’t wait to try 'em.
[quote=“Anthony_Pearson, post:55, topic:8563, full:true”]Come to think of it, I’d love to do a Home Alone Themed Match. My hunch is there are cards in the card pool that can thematically line up for such a romp.
Hilarious and awesome ideas!
Part 1 of 2:
The Wet Bandits Attempt to Steal from a Suburban Chicago Home and Inadvertantly Enter a Snuff Film
Ken “Express” Tenma: Disappeared Clone
1x Apocalypse ●●●
3x Calling in Favors
3x Dirty Laundry
2x Drive By
2x High-Stakes Job
3x Inside Job
1x Levy AR Lab Access ●●●
1x Push Your Luck
2x Spear Phishing
2x Special Order
2x Sure Gamble
2x Three Steps Ahead
3x Aeneas Informant
1x Beth Kilrain-Chang ●●●
2x Blockade Runner
3x Fall Guy
1x Same Old Thing
3x Tri-maf Contact
1x Gordian Blade ●●●
1x Paperclip ●●●
15 influence spent (max 17, available 2)
47 cards (min 45)
Cards up to Revised Core Set
Part 2 of 2:
Kevin McCalister’s Parents are Negligent
Harishchandra Ent.: Where You’re the Star
2x AR-Enhanced Security
2x Global Food Initiative ●●
2x Priority Requisition
2x Project Beale
2x Ghost Branch
3x PAD Campaign
1x Reversed Accounts
1x Snare! ●●
2x Keegan Lane
1x Beanstalk Royalties ●
2x Closed Accounts
1x Hard-Hitting News
3x Hedge Fund
2x Salem’s Hospitality
2x Scarcity of Resources
1x The All-Seeing I
2x Data Loop
1x Kakugo ●●●
Code Gate (5)
1x Mind Game ●●●
1x Mirāju ●●
3x Pop-up Window
1x Brainstorm ●●●●
2x Data Raven