The Sleep of Sorrow and the Dream of Joy, Raffaelle Monti
screenmemories asked: Hello, this is one of my favourite tumblrs and I got loads of great recommendations from your other tumblrs. Cyberpunk is cool as fuck, but I have pretty much no experience with it and I'm not sure where to start. If you ever get a chance I would love to see your 'Get Into Cyberpunk' recommendations (any medium). Im sure I'm not the only one. Also I'm a big fan of your work and I'm really looking forward to what you do next.
Hi there! Thanks so much for the kind words! Much appreciated :-)
re: getting into cyberpunk… I’m actually not like, the hugest cyberpunk scholar in the world or anything. The stuff that comes to mind is probably not going to be super obscure or mind-blowing… but I also generally tend to feel like the best stuff usually does become pretty visible.
re: books, there’s obviously Neuromancer, and Gibson’s cyberpunk short story collection Burning Chrome. There’s also the Mirrorshades short story anthology from like 1982, edited by Bruce Sterling, which has some fun stuff in it. One of the stories is by Marc Laidlaw, who wrote Half-Life and Half-Life 2.
Movies, again, the obvious pulls are like, Ghost in the Shell and to some degree Bladerunner (there’s not actual cyborgs in it but it definitely has the gritty tech neon city aesthetic to the max.) Pi, the first movie by Darren Aronofsky, oddly has a cyberpunk kind of feel to me. There’s actually a great anime OVA called Cyber City Oedo 808 that is a 3-episode miniseries that is very 90s cyberpunk and a lot of fun and really good. I mean, for that matter, Cowboy Bebop is all up in there, what with Jet Black having a cyborg arm and so forth.
There’s not even an amazing amount of great stuff in video games, but there’s some. Deus Ex 1 and System Shock 2 are like, the ultimate re: having been made in the late 90s, so being right in the thick of that aesthetic being fully developed but not totally cliche/retro. Hell, System Shock 1 even moreso, having been released in 1994, though that one’s a little tougher to get into (and isn’t on Steam.) I liked Deus Ex Human Revolution a lot too— it’s definitely a kind of nostalgic retrofuture version, but it’s cool. Similarly Shadowrun Returns is a straightahead vision of 80s cyberpunk (being a direct adaptation of an 80s cyberpunk-with-elves tabletop game), and if you buy the Dragonfall expansion and skip straight to that, it’s fantastic. I mean, not to toot my own horn too much, but the Minerva’s Den expansion for BioShock 2 was a System Shock 2 homage and brings a kind of cyberpunk-by-way-of-steampunk set of concepts to the BioShock universe (ie giant mainframe computers, an advanced AI that talks to you.)
Weirdly I also sometimes like to just pick up old sourcebooks from Powell’s for Shadowrun and the tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020, and just flip through them to see their take on cyberpunk stuff as it was actually codified at the time (just pages and pages of images/descriptions/stats for cyber implants, smartguns, decks, etc.)
I’m trying to think of more stuff that doesn’t go into super campy/ridiculous territory (ie Johnny Mnemonic etc.) but not a ton is coming to mind… hopefully this gives you some good places to start from though!!