Cyberpunk Forum/Symposium

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"Cyberpunk Forum/Symposium." MR47/48: 16-65 (see under Literary Criticism, Larry McCaffery, guest ed.).[1]

Of special interest: Benford, Gregory: Cyberpunk, "which just might be a new flavor of hard SF" (19), can't compete with the "'high-hardboiled-detective'" novel or F. Pohl's (and C.M. Kornbluth's) critique of "the moral underpinnings of modern urban life" under capitalism (in The Space Merchants; 20), and is no more than "a marketing strategy masquerading as a literary movement" (22; see below, H. Jaffe).

Brin, David—contribution titled "Starchilde Harold, Revisited": Cyberpunk authors "care about the texture of technology and science, not about veracity or inconvenient reality" (25). A typical cyberpunk work shows some horrible place, with no happy families or decent loves, centered on an antihero inflicting upon the world his "testerone-drenched young manhood" (26). And cyberpunk is fun (27).

Delany, Samuel R.—contribution titled "Is Cyberpunk a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?": Defines "cyberpunk" negatively and in an SF context. Compares W. Gibson's Molly and J. Russ's Jael from The Female Man (32).

Federman, Raymond, "A Letter From the Galaxy": Lists some of cyberpunk's precursors from about 1962-82 (37).

Hayden, Patrick Nielsen: Usefully paraphrases Teresa Nielsen Hayden on the "shift in SF's settings and background details from the predominantly urban writers of the Campbell era [ca. 1930s-50s] to the predominantly suburban writers of the 1970s"; he approves of cyberpunk's "interest in complex and diverse urban surfaces" (41-42).

Hayden, Teresa Nielsen—contribution titled "Life in Change Wartime": Sees cyberpunk as literature "about the unpredictable uses to which human beings always put technology, and the even stranger thoughts they breed out of those uses; about the way the world is always changing . . . so intricately recomplicating itself that nobody can keep track . . . " (43).

Jaffe, Harold—poem titled "Foucault the Cyberpunks": Condemns the cyberpunks for their alliance with technology and acceptance of multinational corporations (contrast G. Benford on cyberpunk as Leftist).

Porush, David—contribution titled "What is cyberpunk?" (sic: lowercase): An important statement on machines, cybernetics, meaning, automatons, modernism and postmodernism (46-50).