Biopunk IS Cyberpunk
Biopunk IS Cyberpunk is a short article published on June 29, 2016, by Neon Dystopia, a cyberpunk-centric Website claiming that the Biopunk and Cyberpunk genres are still equally the same despite the two becoming separate over the years.
Article (half of snip)
It bewilders me that people see a strict separation between the subgenres of biopunk and cyberpunk. Cyberpunk fiction has always had a healthy dose of biological technology. For visual media, sound examples are Blade Runner (Ridley Scott) and Videodrome (David Cronenberg). For written media, good examples are Dr. Adder (K. W. Jeter), Wetware (Rudy Rucker), Schismatrix (Bruce Sterling), and Blood Music (Greg Bear). All of this media was released in the 1980s, and all of it was considered cyberpunk until veteran cyberpunk author, Paul Di Filippo, wrote something called the Ribofunk Manifesto. To quote an interview with Filippo by Locus Magazine in 2003,
“I began to see drawbacks or blind spots in the cyberpunk worldview. To be kind of silly or parodic about the whole thing, I coined the term ‘ribofunk’ — ‘ribo’ out of biology (the ribosome) and then another musical form, ‘funk’ instead of ‘punk’ — and made a little Xerox manifesto, tongue-in-cheek at this point. Then I was infected by my own idea, my own joke, and I started to do a bunch of stories that were later collected in Ribofunk.”
Paul Di Filippo was not the only one to be infected with his idea. To an extent, ribofunk/biopunk grew out of a similar frustration that created cyberpunk in the first place. Cyberpunk arose out of disenfranchisement with traditional science fiction stories where spaceships with gleaming halls carrying swashbuckling scientists to fight psychic aliens had become a kind of the norm. The cyberpunks wanted a kind of science fiction that was on the street level, where you could see the dirt. These punk elements were more realistic, especially in the 1980s, than the utopian visions like Star Trek.
Biopunk’s disenfranchisement came out of the tropes that had come to be associated with the cyberpunk movement, outlandish leather-clad cyborg anti-heroes walking rain-slicked streets, while neon gleamed off chrome. Filippo expresses this, in the Ribofunk Manifesto, with his description of what Ribofunk’s style should consist of:
Ribofunk must be as sensual as sex, as unsparing in sweat, cum, bile, and lymph as the body is prolific in these substances.
and from a 1996 interview with Wired,
The funk style – a hot skittery style in contrast to the more laid-back, cerebral style that you might find in some cyberpunk – ties in naturally with the whole biological revolution.
As I’ve already pointed out, these things already existed in cyberpunk from the very beginning. Dr. Adder certainly fits this description and is arguably the first cyberpunk novel, having been finished in 1974, but considered unpublishable until the advent of Neuromancer (William Gibson). The book opens with the protagonist having sex with genetically modified sex chickens, which also provide giant eggs to the populace of Los Angeles. How’s that for body fluids?
The article did give some good examples:
- Both are mostly set in the near or far future unlike other punks like Steampunk, Dieselpunk and Atompunk.
- Have Corporations are still enemy (Cyberpunk has lot corporations except biotech ones for most stories while Biopunk focuses majority from Biotech corporations as the only enemy).
- Both share similar ideas around Transhumanism like Biorobotics, Synthetic Biology, Cybernetics themselves are appearing in both genres (but enough it can take most degrees of what technology is allowed in stories).
- Prove Biopunk is still cyberpunk "with a different name" is going back to its origins in the late 70s or 80s when the concept of cyborgs, transhumanism or body modification begins appearing in cyberpunk stories.
But Biopunk originally intentioned purposedly be an alternative to Cyberpunk and has expanded over years to included elements from Body Horror, Horror Science Fiction, and even nearly on Sci-Fantasy (and Magical realism) as a better influence for the genre and to further separate the two.
- Biopunk has ever included new Bio-engineered/Genetic-engineered monsters, mutants, and incomplete human-like engineered animals and weirder Biotechnology while Cyberpunk remains technically lack of besides having evil robots, cyborgs, and AI's but cant expanded further except need elements from all genres to "expand" and have some weird technology that becomes almost cliche by this point after a decade to decade.
- Cyberpunk will permanently set in future in "all" but very limited to Hard Sci-fiction and Dystopian genre of stories but Biopunk, however, can take place in every time period before electronics ever happen yet and any type of punk, if authors want Biopunk element into non/alternate punk setting regardless like Orphan Black from the article, didn't actually mention that show's canonical setting was never said but very imply take place in the 2010s but the show given that Clones were made from 1970s, BioShock video game series takes place early-mid 20th century with some magical realistic or even sci-fantasy elements and Resident Evil video games series take place from 1990s to onwards while containing or developing few Postcyberpunk elements in very later games.
Throughout the whole article keep treating Biopunk concept in general like was never take off thus keep treating as still 1980s Cyberpunk with very few proto-biopunk elements except a lot of Body Horror and Biotechnologically theme sci-fi or sometime sci-fantasy dystopian stories are begin bring Biopunk genre unintentionally into the mainstream like all examples from above.