Cyberpunk. It means different things to different people. Instead of trying to write a description, I will describe what the cyberpunk world of the Chronicles of Withmore City series looks like.
It elicits images of high technology mixed with exceeding amounts of corporate greed. Women — girls really — wearing colorful eye makeup and clothing that barely covers the important bits, but don’t get it twisted, these girls are riding the wire and ready to slip a blade between your ribs and twist if you cut them so much as a sideways glance as you pass.
It’s a world where naivety is snuffed out like a cigarette butt under the boot heels of gangers, law enforcement and corporations. It’s the haves in their ivory towers, mansions and smokey exclusive clubs versus the have-nots struggling — every single day — for their very survival on crowded streets and in packed coffin hotels that would make a modern day homeless shelter look swanky.
It’s legalized criminal syndicates that are both powerful and secretive while at the same time having won the hearts and imaginations of the public when they finally mastered the art of public relations and propaganda.
It’s government and corporate police states and the kind of surveillance programs that make the NSA and Big Brother look like ancient un-networked security cameras at the local corner store.
It’s pulling yourself up by your bootstraps (if you are lucky enough to own boots) and stepping on as many hopes and dreams as it takes to make your own a reality.
It’s finding something or someone in the middle of all this insanity to hold on to, find some meaning with, and fight for. Even if it means dying. Especially if it means killing a whole lot of people.
It’s not being able to look yourself in the mirror because you don’t like what you’ve become. Or, because you can’t stand to look at the parts of yourself that are still human and really, really hope that this week you’ll be able to rob enough people to finally get that new artificial arm to replace this puny organic one you were unfortunate enough to be born with.
It’s Law Enforcement that has been granted the power to find criminals guilty on the spot and levy fines or punishments up to and including permanent death, as they see fit.
It’s rampant corruption from the lowest rungs of society to the highest circles of power.
It’s righteous anger, a sense that paying it forward is the only real choice, and the irrefutable knowledge that no matter how ace you are, some day soon, you’re luck is going to run out.
Governments that are wholly subsidized by Corporations. With those same corporations are the true powers in the world, and no one is pretending any differently. It’s massive swathes of land being turned over to these same corporations in exchange for such lucrative projects as tidal walls to protect coastal cities from rising sea levels and heavy weather.
No one in the 99% is sleep walking through life. Optimism is tepid at best. Everyone is fully aware that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and that at any moment something terrible is probably going to happen to them or someone they care about.
It’s millions of migrant workers toiling all day in the fields of Switchgrass Plantations. These workers — previously the lower-middle class now barely more than indentured servants — cultivating America’s most valuable renewable resource in exchange for food and shelter.
It’s energetic and colorful and yet morally desolate — it’s inhabitants painted in shades of grey.
Interested in Cyberpunk or in the Cyberpunk world described above? Check out Recombination on Amazon.com