Remember when we talked about William Gibson calling the cyberpunk genre a retro-future on Twitter? Part of the reason cyberpunk can feel stale is that so many of the tropes are already part of our daily lives.
This thoughtful essay from The Inner Moon suggests that cyberpunk is actually a close sibling of post-apocalyptic fiction. An “entropic dystopia.”
In post-apocalyptic stories, the apocalypse strikes in a moment and leaves behind a broken world. A meteor, bio-weapon, zombie plague or nuclear war changes everything overnight.
Meanwhile, the apocalypses of cyberpunk are slow, insidious, and layered. Societal rifts that spread over decades. Dysfunctional governments in thrall to multinational corporations. Greed winning out over community. Tech becoming more and more ubiquitous without solving any of these issues. The problems just keep piling up. The world doesn’t collapse in cyberpunk. It gets steadily worse. It’s society as the frog boiled in the pot.