s release was not greeted with fanfare, but it hit a cultural nerve, quickly becoming an underground word-of-mouth hit. It became the first novel to win the Nebula, the Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Award for paperback original, an unprecedented achievement described by the Mail & Guardian as “the sci-fi writer’s version of winning the Goncourt, Booker and Pulitzer prizes in the same year”. The novel thereby legitimized cyberpunk as a mainstream branch of science fiction literature.
How William Gibson Keeps His Science Fiction Real
Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction. There are sources who view that cyberpunk has shifted from a literary movement to a mode of science fiction due to the limited number of writers and its transition to a more generalized cultural formation.
It is among the most-honored works of science fiction in recent history, and appeared on Time magazine’s list of 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. The novel was also nominated for a British Science Fiction Award in 1984. Respected authors of mainstream literature have written science fiction. Mary Shelley wrote a number of science fiction novels including Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus , and is considered a major writer of the Romantic Age.
The genre’s vision of a troubled future is often called the antithesis of the generally utopian visions of the future popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Gibson defined cyberpunk’s antipathy towards utopian SF in his 1981 short story “The Gernsback Continuum,” which pokes fun at and, to a certain extent, condemns utopian science fiction. Cyberpunk plots often center on conflict among artificial intelligences, hackers, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth, rather than in the far-future settings or galactic vistas found in novels such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation or Frank Herbert’s Dune. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to feature extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its original inventors (“the street finds its own uses for things”).