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cyberpunk: /si:´ber·puhnk/, n.,adj.

[orig. by SF writer Bruce Bethke and/or editor Gardner Dozois] A subgenre of SF launched in 1982 by William Gibson's epoch-making novel Neuromancer (though its roots go back through Vernor Vinge's True Names (see the Bibliography in Appendix C) to John Brunner's 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider). Gibson's near-total ignorance of computers and the present-day hacker culture enabled him to speculate about the role of computers and hackers in the future in ways hackers have since found both irritatingly naïve and tremendously stimulating. Gibson's work was widely imitated, in particular by the short-lived but innovative Max Headroom TV series. See cyberspace, ice, jack in, go flatline.

Since 1990 or so, popular culture has included a movement or fashion trend that calls itself ‘cyberpunk’, associated especially with the rave/techno subculture. Hackers have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, self-described cyberpunks too often seem to be shallow trendoids in black leather who have substituted enthusiastic blathering about technology for actually learning and doing it. Attitude is no substitute for competence. On the other hand, at least cyberpunks are excited about the right things and properly respectful of hacking talent in those who have it. The general consensus is to tolerate them politely in hopes that they'll attract people who grow into being true hackers.

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