The dictionary defines cyberpunk as “a genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology.” We define it as everything from Blade Runner to Ghost In the Machine. From William Gibson’s Neuromancer to Frank Miller’s Ronin. Cyberpunk asks the question – What is The Matrix?
But as with all science fiction, techno talk is just the window dressing. These stories are full to the brim with human exploration and the meaning of life itself. So, go ahead, take the red pill and find out just how far the rabbit hole goes.
All Indie. All Awesome.
A father with nothing to lose in a world with no light. A stolen pair of boots and a key to unlock the unknown. Helio by Shadow Council Productions is nearly 20 minutes of action-packed adventure. With every desperate move our hero makes through the streets of this dark dystopian, we feel more than hear what is at stake if he doesn’t reach his destination. There isn’t a lot of dialogue here, but with the skilled direction and storytelling of the filmmakers, you don’t miss a thing.
The New Politics
by Joshua Wong
If only political differences could be settled so easily….
by Mathew D. Wilson
All the graphics and imagination of your favorite fantasy game without you having to play it out. The War Machine is half cyberpunk/half fantasy and all kinds of awesome. Our heroine is on a mission to rescue a dear friend, but when things go awry, the question remains: Will a world of tech and magic be enough to save her soul?
I don’t know why, but cyberpunk/funk just seems to go hand in hand with conspiracies, and this month’s picks all have that in common, funky technology or science, fueled by dark agendas.
Walford’s NoWhere Man is a super-crime, conspiracy book with elements of time-traveling manipulation. Detective Jack Maguire has a secret, actually a few, some even he doesn’t know. Caught in the middle of this shadowy conflict of time travelers, Maguire uses his tech to fight crime. You can get the comics online, but Walford is a one-man wrecking crew. Besides being the writer, artist, and publisher, he’s a regular at conventions big and small pushing his books.
Written by Kevin Schwoer
Art by Neil Anderson
Colored by Sean Callahan
Years ago, a signal from outer space was picked up by a genius astrophysicist, Annie Archaya. Annie was then made the target of a government cover up of that signal. We learn that there’s more to the signal than just a message from aliens when Earth receives a second signal. Schwoer creates a flawed heroine in Archaya, battling alcoholism and a ruined rep while fighting to survive, as she works to uncover the message in the 2nd signal and the shadow reasons for the cover up in this six-issue mini series.
Written by Ales Kot
Art by André Lima Araújo and Chris O’Halloran
Cover by André Lima Araújo and Chris O’Halloran
This new comic out from creators Ales Kot and André Lima Araújo is a funky twist on the slacker superhero. Three hackers plan on breaching Bank of America for a huge payday: to do that they practice on attacking the government’s super science division, DARPA, testing its cyber security. The twist is that someone in DARPA’s secret, darker subdivision STAR, is testing them for its own agenda, using them as guinea pigs for code to hack humans. The artwork is this fusion of manga backgrounds and Steve Dillon figures, clean and straight forward but with an edge that hints at how messed up the story and characters are.
Created by: Kwanza Osajyefo & Tim Smith 3
Writer: Kwanza Osajyefo
Illustrator: Jamal Igle
Covers: Khary Randolph
Once I was brought onboard to do the comics section here, I’ve been chomping at the bit waiting to write about this book. If you’re a person who loves action, conspiracies, techno babble and history, Black gets the job done. Known for having one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in the site’s history, the creative team of Black turns up the dial each month as we learn about this world where the only people with superpowers are Black. The series starts with a Black Lives Matter incident that opens the door for our main character Kareem Jenkins, to enter into a world of superpowered secrets and racial tension. From Osajyefo’s and Smith’s insightful world-building creating the secret society of The Project to Igle’s solid interior art with the characters, and Randolph’s thought provoking covers, seen above, Black is a definite recommend.
“No one knows how it began or when it will end. No one knows how we came to be here, 20 million souls, 1500 different species all crammed together in plascrete and biosteel. No one’s been in or out… in 20 centuries. Some have their theories why. Some don’t care. But no matter who…or what you are, you have a story, don’t you? The trick is finding someone who cares to listen.”
The City: A Cyberfunk Anthology, edited by Milton Davis takes one audacious idea, adds 18 writers of edgy sci fi, mixed with dashes of adventure, intrigue, experimentalism, humor, and fun, then straps it to the back of the sleekest starship that ever flew and lets it go. This is an anthology that doesn’t just put the funk in cyber, it examines the very soul of it: bio and machine as inseparable components of evolution itself. If HBO is looking for new material post-Game of Thrones, The City is hard to miss.
Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett – “A computer program etched into the atmosphere has a story to tell, the story of two people, of a city lost to chaos, of survival and love. The program’s data, however, has been corrupted…” First Contact as colonial apocalypse. Identity and gender as fluid concepts across fluid realities. Life as programming and programming as life. All this within a slender, sharply-told but challenging piece. Elysium is the kind of cyber that gets into your mind and uploads questions requiring new modes of thought in order to answer, and it does it with a sense of originality and hope, hope being something we don’t usually see in cyber beyond “Neo jacks in and saves the day!” If you’re partial to books that challenge and respect a reader, here’s one that delivers on both counts.
The Underlighters by Michelle Browne – Here’s a fresh author with an immediacy to her writing that successfully draws readers along. Add to that original, compelling prose and frank sexual identities worthy of the 21st century, coupled with the sense of being in a Halloween fun house when the lights go out for real, and you’ve got a book that glides across your inner screen like a Saturday matinee with friends. How often does the young, female, bisexual electronics genius who’s not a size 2 get to be the hero? She does here, and you’ll be glad of it. This book is a combination of cyber, post-apoc, dystopian, and horror…and it works. It reads like Stephen King looking over the shoulder of William Gibson by way of The Hunger Games.