Virtual Geographies is the first detailed study to offer a working definition of cyberpunk within the postmodern force field. Cyberpunk emerges as a new generic cluster within science fiction, one that has spawned many offspring in such domains as film, music, and feminism. Its central features are its adherence to a version of virtual space and a deconstructivist, punk attitude towards (high) culture, modernity, the human body and technology, from computers to prosthetics. The main proponents of cyberpunk are analyzed in depth along with the virtual landscapes they have created - William Gibson’s Cyberspace, Pat Cadigan’s Mindscapes and Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse. Virtual reality is examined closely in all its aspects, from the characteristic narrative constructions employed to the esthetic implications of the ‘virtual sublime’ and its postmodern potential as a discursive mode. With its interdisciplinary approach
Virtual Geographies opens up fresh perspectives for scholars interested in the interaction between popular culture and mainstream literature. At the same time, the science fiction fan will be taken beyond the conventional boundaries of the genre into such revitalizing domains as postmodern architecture and literature, and into cutting-edge aspects of science and social thought.
Sabine Heuser teaches English and Cultural Studies at Philipps University, Marburg, Germany. She received a BA Hons. in English Literature and Visual Studies from Oxford Polytechnic, England; an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto, Canada; and a doctorate from Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.
Table of contents
New Final Frontiers: Problems and Aims
The Story So Far
Methodology: Metaphoric Networking
PART I: CONSTRUCTION SITES
1 Introducing Cyberpunk
2 Learning from Architecture
3 Culture Wars: The Postmodem and Popular Culture
PART II: CYBERSPACE: THE NEW FRONTIER
4 William Gibson's Construction of Cyberspace