Fun bad cyberpunk

Share the best examples of the worst cyberpunk! Let’s relive the wide-eyed 90’s.

The 1993 novel Vurt SHOULD be amazing–it’s about punks licking neon feathers to get high in surreal virtual worlds. The main character loses his sister in virtual space when she goes down a weird path and gets replaced with an alien slug creature that sweats hallucinogens. Unfortunately, the writing is terrible and a book with THAT premise manages to be very boring minute-to-minute.

But I keep getting drawn back to these Game Cat chapters, where a wise idiot zinester shares rumors, tips, and tricks about the Vurt. It’s just such an encapsulation of a very specific voice you don’t really hear any more.

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is this the thread to post this pic, i’ve never read this book but i love this cover so much

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The episode of the 80s cartoon “Centurions” had an episode called Zone Dancer and its a pretty pure example of the best kind of bad cyberpunk

Gabriel Knight, a private eye is hired by Crystal to find out who framed her for Zone Dancing-illegal tapping into corporate computers by connecting people’s minds into them. Knight seeks out Gibson, a former Zone Dancer who tells him about Neon. He is reputed to have stolen data from Skyvault’s computers. Dr. Wu tells the Centurions that Megacorp is the company that designed Skyvault’s beaming program, has had the program illegally duplicated by a Zone Dancer, who now has access to Skyvault’s beaming files. Ace and John stumble on a beam-clone of Crystal.

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the cyberpunk episode of DS9 where o’brien becomes a hardboiled detective for almost no reason are good

edit: i think i had the wires crossed with another episode where Odo is a detective, in honor among thieves he’s more like an undercover guy. but it’s very cyberpunk.

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WARNING: for crude dudes only

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there’s at least a dozen potential user titles in these pages

My friends all say I’m a Jason but I really think I’m more of a Horst

The guy who wrote this is in charge of D&D now.

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Dope.

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Oh yeah, there’s a manga spin off loosely related to this iirc

So do we feel like the Questworld VR stuff from The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest counts as this?

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Different strokes and all that, but I suggest that Jeff Noon’s prose, experimental, vibrant, effervescent, would probably appeal to a lot of folks on this forum. Just my 2cents, back to lurking.

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People definitely like Jeff Noon, and I’m sure there’s something good there, but I couldn’t get into the book despite really wanting to.

Here’s the opening page, which is a lot:

Mandy came out of the all-night Vurt-U-Want, clutching a bag of goodies.

Close by was a genuine dog, flesh and blood mix; the kind you don’t see much any more. A real collector’s item. It was tethered to the post of a street sign. The sign read NO GO. Slumped under the sign was a robo-crusty. He had a thick headful of droidlocks and a dirty handwritten card – “hungry n homeless, please help.” Mandy, all twitching steps and head-jerks, scurried past him. The crusty raised his sad little message ever so slightly and the thin pet dog whined.

Through the van’s window I saw Mandy mouth something at them; “Fuck off, crusties. Get a life.” Something like that.

I was watching all this in the halo of the night lights. We stuck to the dark hours in those days. The Thing was on board and that was a major crime; possession of live drugs, a five year stretch guaranteed.

We were waiting in the van for the new girl. Beetle was up front, ladies’ leather gloves pulled tight onto his fingers, smeared with Vaz. He likes to feel a little bit greased when he rides. I was in the back, perched on the left side wheel housing, Bridget on the other, sleeping. Some thin wisps of smoke were rising from her skin. The Thing-from-Outer-Space lay between us, writhing on the tartan rug. He was leaking oil and wax all over the place, lying in a pool of his own juices.

I caught a movement in the air above the parking space.

Oh shit!

Shadowcop! Broadcasting from the store wall, working his mechanisms; flickering lights in smoke. And then the flash of orange; an inpho beam shining out from the shadowcop’s eyes. It caught Mandy in its flare-path, gathering knowledge. She ducked down from the beam, banging, hard-core, on the van doors.

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That being said, Vurt is EXTREMELY what it is, which I do really appreciate. There’s a reason I still have it on my bookshelf, and I do return to sample that bonkers 90’s cyberpunk gloss now and then.

he dips his hand into a tub of petroleum jelly before grabbing a steering wheel?

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i feel like “official themed superhero comic tie-in series” is probably the very last point of terminal decline for a genre short of having a funko pop and as result there are probably a lot of good 90s comicbook examples of how far this can go. obviously the high point is “batman: digital justice”:

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but i also have a soft spot for the marvel 2099 series, especially punisher 2099, which uses the futuristic framework as excuse to push the character even further into high camp

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(incidentally one of the subplots for punisher 2099 is that prison no longer exists in the future so he builds his own private jail in the basement of his house and locks people down there for minor offences like selling drugs. the molecular disintegrator is basically an electric chair.)


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there’s also Ravage 2099 which is about a corporate CEO (named paul-philippe ravage!) who becomes a scrap metal themed vigilante and simultaneously starts talking like wolverine for some reason. many examples of the power of good science fiction to make new the present and help reveal us to ourselves.

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don’t know if anything can compare with the wild fantasies convoked from reading the blurbs from discontinued/clearance RPGs in a mid-90’s MilSims catalog. I still have no idea what Over the Edge is about

god I still do kinda want to play this someday, wonder if a translation will land or I’ll learn enough Japanese first lmao

There were Scarlet Spider plots that involved virtual reality, “Cyber War” and “Virtual Mortality”.

I don’t recall them being very good