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“High tech and low life”, as they say. The more tropes, the better. I want it to be a genre romp the same way I want swords-and-sorcery, gothic horror or spaghetti westerns to be genre romps. To communicate my idea of “what’s cyberpunk” in this context, I would point to the trailers for Cyberpunk 2077, and the artwork in Reality’s Edge and Cyberpunk Red (much of which can be viewed with a Google image search, as the publishers have been using their respective artwork for promotional purposes). All of these have in common that they harvest ideas from other, more original sources of the genre (a bit of GITS, a bit of Blade Runner, a bit of William Gibson, etc.) and condense them all in a very trope-affirming way. Which to me is a good thing.
This! The high-tech low-life aspect is the most defining aspect of the genre. The protagonists aren´t the shining heroes saving the world – they are people on the edge of society striving for survival in an increasingly inhuman world. Some people here, in a way, are living this right now. Again, in a way. This is the “punk” aspect of it.
Bruce Sterling´s Islands in the Net is an example of a world very close to our current one (it is set in the year 2023) and made a lot of correct predictions of our current world.
The borders to other science-fiction genres are blurry. One could say that the Traveller RPG fits in the same model. Or to take another and closer example the GURPS Transhuman Space series which is very close to the Cyberpunk genre with most of the technology but not as gritty and dark (well, mostly). The closest TV-Show to ThS is surely The Expanse.
@Mike: BTW, I would love to see a similar flood of source material for Burning Sands/sword and sorcery….
Rhoderic, I don´t know if you´ve checked out the various short films that are on YT – some are really good.
And speaking of music, the YT musician Antti Martikainen made a whole series of dedicated Cyberpunk music a few years ago. He seems to be an sci-fi/fantasy/RPG fan too if you take a look on his works.
"In strange grammar this one writes" - Master Yoda