Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cyberpunk 20...20?

Have a listen to the latest episode of Econtalk, where Tyler Cowen discusses his latest book, Average is Over. And consider - the setting for Cyberpunk 2020 is implausible, and its details are already antiquated, but in broad strokes it is not nearly as implausible as it may have seemed 10 years ago. I don't believe in Cowen's future, but it is a credible vision of the direction the world will be heading in 2020 AD, and there is an alternate universe where William Gibson wrote about it and it will come true.

In the foreword/prelude to Burning Chrome Bruce Sterling talked about "the victims of the new". What he meant by this was that William Gibson's stories were powerful because they were about the people who technological and social change had left behind. They weren't about Ralph 124C 41+; they were about the people who had been chewed up and spat out by the Future and had only two choices - to go down, or to go out. In other words, his stories are about the potential D&D adventurers of a possibly imaginable future: rogues, brigands and no-hopers who will never get a real job and whose only prospects are having nothing to lose. The kind of people who will end up at that deep dark dungeon - or oil rig archipelago - with a plan to get rich or die trying. 

Tie these two notions together and what do you have? A compelling reason for Mike Pondsmith to make Cyberpunk 2020


  1. Once again you've urged me to ramble a rant off, which is too large for 4096 characters.

  2. A fave Sterling quote:
    "Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being.
    And we can do most anything to rats. This is a hard thing to think about,
    but it's the truth. It won't go away because we cover our eyes.
    *This* is cyberpunk."

  3. Yeah, I would like to see an updated version of the game. Updated not so much in terms of rules/systems, but in terms of content. Maybe it would breathe some life back into an excellent game.

    You would need a really big random mission generator for missions found online...