Cyberpunk Short Fiction Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Bruce Sterling (essay date 1986)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Sterling, Bruce. Preface to Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by Bruce Sterling, pp. ix-xvi. New York: Arbor House, 1986.

[In the following introduction to his seminal anthology Mirrorshades, Sterling introduces and elucidates the defining characteristics of the genre of cyberpunk.]

This book showcases writers who have come to prominence within this decade. Their allegiance to Eighties culture has marked them as a group—as a new movement in science fiction.

This movement was quickly recognized and given many labels: Radical Hard SF, the Outlaw Technologists, the Eighties Wave, the Neuromantics, the Mirrorshades Group....

(The entire section is 2546 words.)

Gerald Jonas (essay date 18 January 1987)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Jonas, Gerald. Review of Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by Bruce Sterling. New York Times Book Review (18 January 1987): 33.

[In the following review, Jonas characterizes the stories comprising the cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades.]

Mirrorshades is subtitled “The Cyberpunk Anthology.” The editor, Bruce Sterling, explains in a brief preface that, “cyberpunk” is a new science-fiction esthetic for our time, born of “an unholy alliance of the technical world and the world of organized dissent—the underground world of pop culture, visionary fluidity, and street-level anarchy. … Cyberpunk comes from the realm where the...

(The entire section is 471 words.)

Larry McCaffery (essay date 1991)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: McCaffery, Larry. “Introduction: The Desert of the Real.” In Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction, edited by Larry McCaffery, pp. 1-16. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1991.

[In the following introduction to his Storming the Reality Studio, McCaffery explores “the way in which cyberpunk and other innovative forms of SF are functioning within the realm of postmodern culture generally.”]

But how could we know when I was young

All the changes that were to come?

All the...

(The entire section is 5902 words.)

Brian McHale (essay date spring 1992)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: McHale, Brian. “Elements of a Poetics of Cyberpunk.” Critique 33, no. 3 (spring 1992): 149-75.

[In the following essay, McHale delineates the relationship between the “postmodernist poetics of fiction and cyberpunk poetics.”]

Cyberpunk science fiction is clearly on the postmodernist critical agenda. If it had not been already, it surely is now with the appearance of the new book on postmodernism by Fredric Jameson, whose contribution to the setting of that agenda can hardly be overestimated. In the new book's first endnote, Jameson laments the absence of a chapter on cyberpunk, “henceforth, for many of us, the supreme literary expression if not...

(The entire section is 11985 words.)

Thomas Foster (review date spring 1999)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Foster, Thomas. “The Rhetoric of Cyberspace: Ideology or Utopia?” Contemporary Literature 40, no. 1 (spring 1999): 144-60.

[In the following review, Foster analyzes Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment and Virtual Realities and Their Discontents, in terms of rhetorical and ideative content.]

As I write this review, in the fall of 1998, it is almost impossible to avoid encountering the rhetoric of “cyberspace” or electronic communications networks, if only in the form of television commercials, most notably for AT& T's and MCI's Internet services. Over the course of the last year, these multinational...

(The entire section is 6021 words.)