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  • Something Sci-Fi often crosses into, on a "Earth Based" Sci-Fi, are two elements called Cyberpunk and Biopunk. For the most part these two genres tend to crossover in some aspects so instead of creating separate articles for both of them I'm combining them into a single article. This article will include some details including some pop culture references and images for your visual pleasure.

    Type: Worldbuilding

To start off lets define what both Cyberpunk and Biopunk mean and the "main" differentiation between them.

Image: Keanu Reeves from Johnny Mnemonic

In his "Online" gear. Talk about being on the Internet!

tumblr_lm59mleifE1qkc0g1o1_1280.jpgCyberpunk is a sci-fi setting in which a lawless place, often a dystopia with oppression, is dominated by computer technology.


Biopunk on the other hand is a sci-fi setting with biotechnology. Technically Biopunk is a derivative of Cyberpunk however it is often used a separate term altogether as they are not exclusive. You do not have to have Biopunk to have Cyberpunk however you do 'technically' need Cyberpunk to have Biopunk. There are alternatives that are other crossover "punk" genres that include biopunk that are not Cyberpunk, for example Steampunk with working prosthetic limbs powered by steam, this is in no way tied to Cyberpunk however it is biopunk.


Lets delve a little deeper into Biopunk as "biotechnology" is a vague term all by itself. So when we are referring to biotechnology we are referring to things that are technological that are put into an organic person. We have Biopunk in modern technology. Things like cochlear implants or pacemakers are bio technology. They are implanted into the body and non-organic.


Image: Heart from Repo Men

The new age pace maker.

heart.jpgNow Biopunk is not limited to technology that is implanted within humans or used to upgrade their memory or enhance them. It also includes things like DNA manipulation, cloning and bioweapons. When you investigate into cloning humans or changing the human genetic structure, there is nothing natural about it but it requires technology to provide us with those tools.


Now how does this make these elements something that is used a lot in Sci-Fi sites that have heavy amounts of technology?

For the most part the answer to this is pretty easy, because humanity has already started down this path. The other part is that it's heavily used in Sci-Fi pop culture so it's harder to envision a future of technology without one or both of these elements.


Image: Karl Urban from Almost Human

The future of prosthetics. Plug in your limb and it's charged by morning.

AH-s01e03-07.pngLets take, for example, prosthetic limbs. We are already looking into the many ways that we can use robotic technology to advance how a prosthetic limb will work in the future. Ways for limbs to actually react from the person it is attached to.


To the right here there is an image of Karl Urban from the show "Almost Human". He lost his leg in an explosion and that blue leg there is his prosthetic one that he uses. It is fully functional so he doesn't limp while on the job. This is technically simply a Cyberpunk setting however if you look above on the left that is a Jarvik model replacement heart, inserted directly into you, there isn't anything organic about it and so a combination. Talk about the new age in organ transplants!


Where does cyberpunk end and biopunk begin? Well the answer to that is simple enough, when the cyber breaches genetics or organic matter it's turned biopunk. If you're on the internet it's cyberpunk, if you are plugged into the internet through a slot on your neck, it's biopunk.


Pop culture references (not listed above):

Blade Runner (Cyberpunk)

Orphan Black (Biopunk)

Repo! The Genetic Opera (Biopunk)

Robocop (Biopunk)

Ghost in the Shell (Biopunk)

The Net (Cyberpunk)


If you would like more examples please just post a comment here and I'll get you a few more.

Edited by Morrigan

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