The Inversion of Cyberpunk

This post is part of Agora Road's May 2024 Travelogue.

Earlier today I was reading an interesting discussion about the cyberpunk genre on Agora Road. The topic brought the interesting point of "we essentially live in a cyberpunk dystopia".

As I see it, cyberpunk essentially ask the question of "What if technology went too far?" and often present us with a "low life, high tech" type of dystopia. If the thread is anything to go by, there was apparently a lot of enthusiasm about technology in the late 90s and early 2000s. With time however, said enthusiasm apparently declined as the future was not as promised.

Although our world might seem straight out of a cyberpunk story, this does not appear to have diminished the popularity of the genre. While some may argue that cyberpunk is not what it once was, I think we can all agree that the cyberpunk aesthetic is still going strong.

This made me think of a hypothetical situation where people would start rejecting technology - something that would lead to an "inverted cyberpunk genre". The idea being "What if cyberpunk, but with nature instead of tech?".

For a story like this to make sense, it would need to take place in a world where technology existed at some point, otherwise you might be as well be making medieval fiction.

I imagine a story where the government is run by Luddites who are hell-bent on bringing back society to the pre-industrial era, forgoing any form of progress in the process. Technicians would be hunted down on a daily basis. Those who still remembers how to operate computers only using the mobile phone as a desktop computer are not easily hideable.

The biggest loss in such a story would be the loss of modern medicine. Man would have lost decade of medical knowledge and would now be at the mercy of nature once again.

The closest genre I can think of is post-apocalyptic fiction, but even that doesn't fit the bill completely. The only other thing I can think of is Amish fiction, but a setting set in a conservative society is different than one where extreme conservative values would be shoved into people's throats.

I might explore this idea further in the future, maybe write a story even. We will see.

Written by manpaint on 05 May 2024.