Cyberpunk is a literary movement, born in the 1980's, that seeks to completely integrate the realms of high tech and of pop culture, both mainstream and underground, and break down the separation between the organic and the artificial.
Cyberpunk is a member of the genre of fiction known as Hard (or Hard Core) Science Fiction. It is called Hard Science Fiction because of its heavy reliance on technology or biology to tell a story. The works of cyberpunk science fiction writers are the birthplace of the concept of cyberspace. This concept was first introduced to the world by writer William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer, probably the most famous cyberpunk book ever.
Cyberpunk literature, in general, deals with marginalized people in technologically-enhanced cultural "systems". In cyberpunk stories' settings, there is usually a "system" which dominates the lives of most "ordinary" people, be it an oppressive government, a group of large, paternalistic corporations, or a fundamentalist religion. These systems are enhanced by certain technologies (today advancing at a rate that is bewildering to most people), particularly "information technology" (computers, the mass media), making the system better at keeping those within it inside it. Often this technological system extends into its human "components" as well, via brain implants, prosthetic limbs, cloned or genetically engineered organs, etc. Humans themselves become part of "the Machine". This is the "cyber" aspect of cyberpunk. However, in any cultural system, there are always those who live on its margins, on "the Edge" : criminals, outcasts, visionaries, or those who simply want freedom for its own sake. Cyberpunk literature focuses on these people, and often on how they turn the system's technological tools to their own ends. This is the "punk" aspect of cyberpunk.
-- Erich Schneider
Cyberpunk was in many ways the turning point in science fiction. Past science fiction usually extrapolated from a single idea, while cyberpunk took the larger view that things don't develop in isolation. By considering the many factors that could affect our future, cyberpunk led the way towards a more credible speculation, and more sophisticated writing styles.
You've tasted it before, probably many times : "in rock video, in the hacker underground, in the jarring street tech of hip-hop and scratch music, in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo".
-- Bruce Sterling, in intro to Mirrorshades
The cyberpunks did not originate their vision, but picked up bits and pieces of what was actually coming true, and fed it back to the readers who were already living in Gibson's Sprawl, whether they knew it or not.
-- Steve Brown
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The Cyberpunk genre will always keep inspiring the creative individuals, no matter if they are directly connected with the cyberpunk culture, or not...
It will keep feeding the industry's hunger for money, as well...
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"Are there any rules ?"
"There were, but we killed them last night.
They're in the dumper out back, Ratz sells them for scrap."