Cyberpunk & Steampunk
The Look: No specific uniform (although a pair of mirror-coated shades won’t go amiss) but rather an eclectic mix of styles from different decades, cultures of subcultures. Like Punk before it, Cyberpunk is a Dr Who trip through time and space. Steampunk focuses this magpie tendency specific on the juxtaposition of our post-modern age and the 18th and 19th century era of the Industrial Revolution.
The Time: Early to mid ‘80s. Steampunk comes a little later in the ‘80s.
The Place: Mostly in the mind’s eye and in virtual space (e.g. computer games) but America and Canada important. Ultimately it is not North America but Japan which provided the inspiration and which is the Cyberpunk holiday destination of choice.
Influenced: ‘Real’ (?) life today in the post-modern age.
Cyberpunk developed as a new subgenre of science fiction literature in the early to mid ‘80s. Its most famous author is Canadian-American, Vancouver-based William Gibson who, in a series of books beginning with Neuromancer in 1984, envisioned a fascinating but chillingly dystopian future where computers have taken on a power and importance still undreamed of in the ‘80s but a future where disorder, chaos and anarchy reign. This is most immediately apparent in Gibson’s (always extensive and highlighted) descriptions of architecture, design and appearance style: by means of these visual signs we see a future which, far from shiny, minimal and ordered as in traditional science fiction, is cluttered with old buildings, old clothes, old machines and old junk.