Cyberpunk 2021: A Year in Review for Cyberpunk

A Time to Look Back Again

Another year, another two weeks of vacation to pause, breathe, and reflect on what 2021 has brought us. My last Year in Review, for 2020, described many things that we got to enjoy in the year, along with looking ahead to the future of what 2021 might bring. Weary as we were with COVID-fatigue, we thought we had glimpsed a light at the end of the tunnel until Delta and then Omicron dashed those dreams. Still, while restrictions and cases are ramping up again, it still feels much better than what we exprienced in 2020, so at least there’s that. While different from 2020 in many ways, 2021 has been another great year for the genre of Cyberpunk in general. On the first few days of 2021 I wrote the following:

But with all these vaccines rolling out for 2021, the year looks very promising. And with the vaccines will hopefully come a new stability, a new normal that will allow travel and production on all our favorite media to resume again…Obviously what I am most excited for here at Cyberpunk Matrix, and indeed a lot of the inspiration why I created this website in the first place, is the return to the world of The Matrix with Matrix 4.

In the end of 2020 I wrote the following looking to the horizon of 2021:

Cyberpunk Media to Look Out For in 2021

  1. Dune
  2. The Matrix 4 
    • Obviously what I am most excited for here at Cyberpunk Matrix, and indeed a lot of the inspiration why I created this website in the first place, is the return to the world of The Matrix with Matrix 4. Now that Lana Wachowski and the production team was able to wrap in Germany, it seems like the biggest work in producing Matrix 4 is done. Now comes the step of adding the music, edits, and all the other post production work, before marketing and getting Matrix 4 ready for their release date of December 22nd, 2021. Hopefully that release date won’t be pushed back yet again.
  3. Edgerunners (2022)
    • While all we know about this standalone series from Netflix set in Night City is that it will come out in 2022, hopefully there may be some news about its production to come out in 2021. Similarly, I am looking forward to any and all Cyberpunk 2077 DLC that comes out in 2021 that adds to the already very rich world that CD Projekt Red has created.

Well, Dune ended up being released September 15th. It was only part 1, but impressed enough people that it got greenlit for a part 2, which is amazing news. It also got great reviews and I personally loved the film. Since it’s not technically Cyberpunk, I probably won’t be reviewing it here on Cyberpunk Matrix, unless if I someone requests me personally to do a review. It could also qualify under an “Is This Cyberpunk?” segment.

As for Matrix 4, the name turned out to be The Matrix Resurrections, leaked online via Instagram. Among a slow drip of casting news, interviews and sneak peeks, we also got a teaser trailer, an actual trailer, and then I got to see the premiere of the film itself in London, which was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. I’ve also already posted my spoiler-free review for that, with a more in-depth spoiler review forthcoming.

Meanwhile, we got a lot of other Cyberpunk media in 2021, as well as a new personal project here at Cyberpunk Matrix. So come join me, won’t you, as we take a walk down memory lane again and look at all the Cyberpunk media that came out in 2021.

Outside the Wire (Netflix, January 15th)

Cyberpunk in 2021 started the year off bright and early with the release of Outside the Wire, a Netflix original starring Anthony Mackie, whom we had previously seen as the third incarnation of Takeshi Kovacs in Altered Carbon Season 2. While initially marketed as a war action flick, I noted in an “Is This Cyberpunk?” segment that it wasn’t actually Cyberpunk, but it had elements that made it come close. While it had decent ideas and acting, I concluded it was a missed opportunity, a film that failed to hit its mark but was still worth a Sunday afternoon to watch. You can read my full analysis of the Cyberpunk elements of the film here.

Space Sweepers (Netflix, February 5th)

Space Sweepers was a surprise Cyberpunk film to come out on Netflix. While most of the film was in Korean, since it’s a Korean film, there were moments in other languages too, making it a properly diverse and cyberpunk film. Sadly, I never got around to making a review for the film, as other things like life intervened, but I hope to get around to writing a review for it someday soon. It was more space than Cyberpunk, although it had a lot of Cyberpunk elements. While interesting and serious, there were almost too many moments of humor and silliness, almost as if the film itself were an anime. Still, I highly recommend seeing the film, in particular for the impressive visual effects.

The End of Daft Punk (February 22nd)

This came as a sad shock to Daft Punk fans around the world, and to Cyberpunk fans in general, as this decidedly Cyberpunk electro duo decided to call it quits on February 22nd with an 8-minute epilogue. Having formed in Paris in 1993 by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, they would soon thrill the world with their fresh electro albums like “Homework”, “Discovery”, “Human after All” and “Random Access Memories”. They also created the original soundtrack to Disney’s Tron Legacy, as well as live-recorded albums and a visual companion to their Discovery album, an anime film called “Interstella 5555.” Always showing up to concerts in their Robot Android costumes (or were they truly androids?) they rarely gave in person interviews, preferring to remain anonymous and mysterious. In a requiem homage post I made in March detailing their breakup, I noted:

With an emphasis on anonymity to keep mega-corporations at bay and stay truly rebellious to the traditional trends of the churning, remorseless music industry, Daft Punk will stand the test of time and will forever remain in our minds visually and auditorily as the Cyberpunk sounds of the past, present, and future.

Love, Death & Robots Vol. 2 (Netflix, May 14th)

This came as a happy surprise, it was released without any proper announcement. After loving certain episodes of the first volume, I was eager to see the second, but many were disappointed in the decidedly shorter number of episodes for Volume 2 (8 episodes in total compared to 18 episodes in volume 1).

The Beginning of the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast (May 25th)

May 25th saw the introductory episode of the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast. Since that date there are 5 episodes available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Anchor, not including the introductory episode. This has been a major growth for Cyberpunk Matrix, as I’ve had the opportunity to interview content creators, Cyberpunk writers, and fans of the Cyberpunk genre to get a more broad, outside perspective on the Cyberpunk Genre. It’s been a lot of fun and very interesting for me to share my love of Cyberpunk in a different medium. You can check out all the Podcast episodes on the official Cyberpunk Matrix YouTube channel here, or on Spotify here.

Cyberpunk Day (October 10th)

Started in October 2020 by a coalition of Cyberpunk authors and enthusiasts like Matthew Goodwin (Into Neon) and Elias J Hurst (Europa), Cyberpunk Day was created to help others discover new cyberpunk content like books, comics, shows, movies, and art that weren’t as well-known as the more mainstream classics. While last year’s Cyberpunk Day featured more readings, this year featured more interviews and presentations, including guest star Mike Pondsmith, creator of the Cyberpunk Red tabletop RPG and Cyberpunk universe that Cyberpunk 2077 was based off of. I particularly enjoyed their round table with authors and enthusiasts who discussed what they considered Cyberpunk and not (much to my surprise, their definition was a lot more open than mine is) as well as their favorite works. You can check out the replays on their YouTube here.

Cowboy Bebop (Netflix, November 19th)

A divisive, yet major title to come out to be sure, the live action Cowboy Bebop both wowed and underwhelmed viewers upon its release. With a fun, quirky teaser and then promising trailer, the show started strong but ended with a weaker finish, as I reviewed here on Cyberpunk Matrix, but also most importantly, Netflix never gave the series a chance as its season 2 was cancelled before even a month had passed that it was available to stream on the platform. High drop-off rates (such as people stopping to watch after the second episode or so) were too blame. I noted this was a damn shame because the acting, special effects, and cinematography were all top-notch. See you, space cowboy.

The Matrix Resurrections (December 22nd)

Last but not least, the movie that we had all been waiting for for so long, and a major inspiration for the moniker of this Cyberpunk blog, The Matrix Resurrections was finally released this year after being announced so long ago in August of 2019. After that as I mentioned above, among a slow drip of casting news, interviews and sneak peeks, we got a teaser trailer, an actual trailer, and then I got to see the premiere of the film itself in London, which was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. I’ve also already posted my spoiler-free review for that, with a more in-depth spoiler review forthcoming. While ironically a staple Cyberpunk media, I think many people will kind of forget that the Matrix Resurrections is cyberpunk, focusing instead on the Meta aspects and its subtle-yet-not-so-subtle commentary on society, social media, sequels, and corporate culture. Instead, I’m sensing that anything considered “cyberpunk” in laymen’s terms will be quickly relegated to “related to that Cyberpunk game that had all those bugs and Keanu Reeves”. Hopefully this will not be the case, and we’ll continue seeing the genre grow. But this leads me to the Cyberpunk media we have to look forward to next year.

Cyberpunk Media to Look out for in 2022

I’m not gonna lie, after a quick perusal of things coming up…there’s really not much to look forward to. There are only two things that are exciting to look forward to Cyberpunk-wise. After a flood of Cyberpunk content with things like Cyberpunk 2077, The Matrix Resurrections, and the live action Cowboy Bebop, we are arriving at a drought of Cyberpunk content. Next year’s Science-Fiction content seems to be primarily the megacorporation of Disney doing Star Wars sagas, whether it be on the big screen or mainly just on their streaming platform, Disney+.

So we have to wait and hope that we’ll be surprised with great new sci-fi content. Netflix surely is feeling like betting on Cyberpunk Sci-fi content like Altered Carbon or Cowboy Bebop simply isn’t worth the investment, and with Disney flooding the market with Star Wars content, we miserly punks are left in the gutter with little content, where we can only wait.

My hope is that we see a Ready Player Two adaptation come soon, or a continuation of Alita: Battle Angel, or a new Cyberpunk title be adapted soon. But for now, here are the two Cyberpunk things I am looking forward to in 2022:

Magic the Gathering: Kamigawa Neon Dynasty

Release Date: February 18th, 2022.

This may fly under the radar for many, but I think it’s telling that one of the longest-lasting trading card games, Magic the Gathering, is finally doing their take on Cyberpunk with the upcoming edition of Neon Dynasty. This is a revisit to their original Kamigawa set, which had focused on Feudal Japan and ninjas. Well now they’re cyber-ninjas and neon samurais set in a distant future. Full disclosure: I was a huge MTG fan growing up in High School, and although I don’t buy or play with the cards anymore, I’ve made it easier for myself by downloading and playing the free MTG Arena game that allows you to get the newest decks and play with others online. All that money saved! Young me would’ve been so envious.

Edgerunners (Netflix)

Release Date: Unknown.

In case you forgot, Edgerunners is the anime series coming to Netflix based on the Cyberpunk 2077 videogame. This was announced during one of CD Projekt Red’s “Night City Wire” announcements during the months before the game’s release. Unfortunately, we know little more now than we did back then. It’s still set to be released in 2022, but they haven’t announced what date yet (it’ll probably just drop eventually as a surprise on Netflix with no announcement).

So there you have it! If you think I missed any other Cyberpunk releases, or if there’s something else you’re looking forward to in 2022, please let me know in the comments below.

The Matrix Resurrections: Official Cyberpunk Review

Cyberpunk Review: The Matrix Resurrections

Well folks, the day I waited for with infinite zeal finally arrived: December 22nd, 2021, I finally saw The Matrix Resurrections in theaters! In a giant IMAX theater in the heart of London, no less!

I have a lot of thoughts about the movie and I want to do it justice, so let’s dive right in: Here is my (mostly) spoiler-free review of The Matrix Resurrections, and why you should definitely go see it as soon as you can–although I strongly recommend rewatching the initial trilogy before you do so. Even though it makes enough callbacks and flashbacks in case you forgot, it’s still better to have the trilogy fresh in your mind before losing yourself down the rabbit hole once again.

Familiar Scenes and Repeating Loops

The Matrix Resurrections is about a lot of things, and I’m sure countless articles will be written about its symbolism and intent, just like the trilogy did. What’s different with Resurrections is how meta it is–it’s incredibly self-referential.

It begins with the same Trinity scene in what looks like the same hotel. It has many of the same lines from the first Matrix film. Then as the film progresses, we see new characters offering the same choices to the same titular character.

But something’s changed.

We’ve seen this all before, and yet the story is different. It’s looping, referring to itself in different ways.

Thomas Anderson doesn’t know what’s real or not, but not because he thinks he’s dreaming. This time it’s because he has memories that can’t be real, and hallucinations during his waking hours that makes him question reality and his own mental state.

As with the first film, right off the bat we have a fast-paced action scene where we’re not quite sure what we’re looking at. Suddenly a chase ensues without us understanding the stakes, which makes me wonder whether the audience felt the same way watching Trinity escape from these mysterious men in suits for the first film.

A Quick Start that Briefly Slows Down

Despite a quick start, the pace then slows down a little as Neo, or Thomas Anderson, tries to make sense of who he is and what has happened since we last saw him. This leads into part one of the film, which is the audience following the newcomers (Bugs, Lexy, Seq, and a new Morpheus) trying to reach Neo and free him from the Matrix.

Social Commentary we’ve come to expect

In the process we are privy to a host of meta messages about the original Matrix trilogy, and the world’s apparent response to it. In it Lana none-too-subtly pokes fun at those who aggrandize her own work, from mega-fans to the production company Warner Brothers itself, and even seemingly making a statement of our current society and its addiction to social media.

In this Matrix society, everyone goes to the gym, sips lattes, and is appropriately woke while working at a mostly cubicle-free environment where it’s casual Friday and staff want to be supportive and encouraging, while in reality being maddeningly annoying.

After a bit of fast-paced action to end the first half, the movie enters the second half, which begins with explaining what happened to the world since we last saw it, and then leading very quickly into unplugging someone else from the Matrix–heist part two, basically.

And this is where the pace speeds up, and doesn’t stop until the end of the film. This movie is, in general, incredibly fast paced. A bit like the original trilogy, the moments where it takes a breath is few and far between, and because of that, we don’t have enough time to process what is happening, and yet it’s exhilarating as a result.

What’s the focus?

While there’s a lot of action in this film, the action doesn’t seem like the main focus. It also feels a bit like two heist movies in one, as a team tries to free and disconnect two different people from the Matrix. This film, however, is really a love story at its core between Neo and Trinity. It asks a lot of questions of what it means when they’re apart, when they’re together, and when they’re seeking each other. This is a perfectly understandable focus when we revisit the motivations for Lana Wachowski to revisit the Matrix world after saying she never would for over 20 years. Neo and Trinity returning helped her process her grief when her parents passed away. She explained:

“My brain has always reached into my imagination and one night, I was crying and I couldn’t sleep, and my brain exploded this whole story,” Wachowski said. “And I couldn’t have my mom and dad, yet suddenly I had Neo and Trinity, arguably the two most important characters in my life.”

Other changes compared to the original trilogy

Gone are the green and blue hues, as now Lana Wachowski likes shooting with natural daylight, something she learned when filming Cloud Atlas and then Sense 8. Similar to the beautiful sunrise Sati created at the end of Matrix Revolutions, everything is bright and modern in this film, except for the real world which still remains relatively blue and dark, although even the real world has some new changes. Also gone are the phonebooths to leave the Matrix, as a modern era rarely uses phonebooths anymore, with everyone having smartphones. Instead, headsets and mirrors are used. A final important change is that big bad agents are no longer used–the machines have other ways of keeping humans in line in the matrix. Oh and despite being serious, this film is actually quite funny at times–a lot more than the original trilogy ever allowed.

A Musical Soundtrack to make Don Davis Proud

Another one of my favorite aspects of the original trilogy was the incredible soundtrack Don Davis produced, in particular with his use of a Pile Driver and a full orchestra to create the iconic original soundtrack to the films.

For Matrix Resurrections, the new musical composers are the duo Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer, who composed a very brief song for the club scene in Matrix Resurrections called In My Head (the duo were members of the band called Pale 3). I am happy to report that although the duo are no Don Davis by far, the soundtrack is actually quite excellent. Apparently, after the script was written, a storyboard was drawn up and the duo composed the musical soundtrack for the film before the film was actually shot and edited, in order to make the movie match the soundtrack and not vice versa.

It’s fast, epic, bombastic, and filled with plenty of strings and trumpets, with many throwbacks to the original Matrix score. You can listen to the entire Original Soundtrack now on Spotify.

One Critical Note

So far you might think that I thought the film to be perfect, but that is sadly not the case. There is one thing that stands out as different compared to the original trilogy, and that is the quality of the action sequences. While the chases were fun enough, especially in the finale, the fighting sequences were cut fast, a bit shakily, and it is difficult to see them clearly. Especially the dojo scene, the choreography just isn’t as beautiful as what it once was, and it’s very noticeable. One possible reason is that due to the pandemic, they weren’t able to bring in talent from Hong Kong that paralleled the artistic talent of Yuen Woo Ping. Another possible reason is that Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss are a lot older than they once were, and as a result their fluidity of movement is simply hampered by age. Whatever the reason, don’t except the same classic fights like against Neo vs. Seraph in the tea room, or Neo vs. Morpheus in the Dojo. It won’t compare, but it’s good enough, I suppose. Another interesting note is that throughout the entire movie, Neo never picks up a gun. This was surely done intentionally, but if you’re looking forward to a massive shootout with Neo like he did in the first Matrix film, it’s best you rid yourself of that expectation now.

Final Verdict: 10/10

Despite its action sequences, I still loved this film from beginning to end. Maybe it’s because the Matrix has such a special place in my heart, but there was enough new technology, enough social commentary, and enough action for me to like this movie. But the acting, dialogue, and music were all excellent, and along with the quick pacing of this film made it a fun, thrilling, and thought-provoking movie for me to give it a top score. So don’t raise your expectations too high–it’s nothing industry-breaking–but don’t listen to the haters either. This was a divisive, yet wonderful, fun film with a lot of heart, and you’ve gotta go see it.

In case you were looking forward to more in-depth analysis, I will probably be posting a spoiler-filled deeper dive into The Matrix Resurrections sometime soon.

What were your thoughts on this movie? If they’re spoiler-free, let me know in the comments below. 🙂

Cowboy Bebop Live Action Review

Cyberpunk Origins? And a Strong Fan Base

Cowboy Bebop is a very popular anime that came out in the late 1990s in Japan and in the US on channels like Adult Swim’s Toonami. In 2017 it was announced that a live action remake of it would be made with Christopher Yost as the series writer, and lead roles being John Cho as Spike Spiegel, Mustafa Shakir as Jet Black, and Daniella Pineda as Faye Valentine. This is a review of the live action remake, that finally came out on Netflix on November 19th, 2021

A Netflix Adaptation

Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop did an impressive job adapting its original anime source material, and while taking many elements and honoring its source material, it does at times also deviate and create its own identity, especially at the end.

Just like the original anime, we begin by seeing Spike Spiegel and Jet Black together on the Bebop. Eventually they are joined by Faye Valentine, while Ed only shows up at the end of the final episode. Ed was supposed to play an active part in season 2, but due to low viewership, Netflix very quickly cancelled the 2nd season.

This is a damn shame, because I really enjoyed this live action take. The series was divisive–and as soon as the cancellation for the second season was announced, fans formed change.org petitions to call for its revival, and then counter-petitions formed in response for those who hated the remake.

Regardless of which camp you fall under, I think it’s fair to say that two things hit you when you first watch this series. The first is how beautiful the cinematography is, and the second is how quirky things are shot and edited at the same time. We were given a taste of this with the trailer, but the fact that they were able to keep this fun quirky style throughout the series is really commendable.

A Strong Beginning

The beginning of the series is almost a stroke for stroke remake of the first episode of the anime version. Here we’re introduced to Spike Spiegel and Jet Black, and they did an excellent job with the whole bounty hunters stopping a heist spiel. Some critics may not have liked how close the series stuck to the original, but since I wasn’t a die-hard fan of the original, I enjoyed it well enough.

The series takes its time to get to Faye Valentine, but after the first episode, the series has enough different episodes to come into its own. Some of them are done better than the anime, most of them are done worse than the anime, but the key here is not to compare the two. It’s infinitely more difficult to film live action and use special effects than to simply use an anime. As a result, the action is also a little different, as live action fight scenes need to adhere to silly things like the laws of physics. For the most part.

An incredible Soundtrack

Yoko Kanno, the composer to the original anime and also the one who wrote the brilliant theme song “Tank!”, was brought back for the live action. And my god, it’s brilliant. It’s just as quirky and fun as the original soundtrack for the series, if not better, with trumpets and electronic riffs and fun little vocals. You can listen to the entire soundtrack here.

And a Weaker Ending

Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with a lot of different live action (looking at you, Altered Carbon!) the strong beginning finishes with a weak ending. The focus for this series on Spiegel’s nemesis, Vicious, was a lot stronger in this series than in the original anime. Julia, Spiegel’s old flame, also plays a very important role. I wish instead of building Vicious’ character, his backstory and rise to power, they would have just shown the aftereffects of what he did and let us figure it out on our own. I also didn’t like how Julia’s ending was changed in this live action compared to the original anime. Nonetheless, it left the series with a promising new direction for her character, one that we sadly won’t be able to see now that the series has been cancelled.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Overall I actually really enjoyed this series, mostly for its music, quirkiness, and cinematography. John Cho and Mustafa Shakir did excellent jobs adapting both of their characters, Daniella Pineda was great too, and Vicious and Julia’s characters, while bogging down the ending, didn’t ruin the series for me overall. There was also a particularly Cyberpunk episode worth noting, where Spike gets caught in a Virtual Reality fighting his own personal demons as an artificial intelligence tries to corrode his brain. It was very Philip K Dick-esque. This on top of the countless punk-like moments and high-tech scenes with spaceships in poor repair.

But what did you think of the series? What Cyberpunk elements did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.

Cyberpunk Book Review: Tropical Punch (Bubbles in Space #1)

Cyberpunk Review: Bubbles in Space #1 — Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch is a cyberpunk tech-noir murder mystery written by Sarah C. Jensen, featuring “Bubbles Marlowe”, an irreverent private eye with a robotic arm and who loves chewing bubble gum, which apparently is an important detail since every book in the Bubbles in Space series (Chew ’em Up, Pop ’em One, and Spit ’em Out) seems to reference chewing gum. Or perhaps it’s a cheeky play on words with the author and her readers, setting the tone for the books themselves. If so, it’s brilliant and hilarious, much like the majority of this book.

A Fun Cyberpunk Setting and Sidekick

Bubbles is an ex-cop private detective who is given a seemingly easy job: to deliver a message to a girl in HoloCity. Once she finds her, though, everything seems to go wrong, and she quickly finds herself inextricably caught up in a confusing murder mystery to solve which leads her right on board an inter-galactic cruise liner. By her side  is her trusty android pig, Hammett, a cute wise-cracking robot with the ability to hack into systems and who serves as a reliable sidekick to Bubbles.

A Fast-Paced Page-Turner

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Tropical Punch and, much to my surprise, it was a page-turner that I finished in record time. I simply couldn’t put it down. Starting in the rain-soaked neon streets of HoloCity before going to the rich people’s space cruise, I loved the themes of income inequality, corrupt cops, cybernetics, religious zealots, and advanced tech in a noir-detective style.

Meme credit: S.C. Jensen

A Female SF Lead written by a Female SF Author

Another thing I definitely enjoyed was reading a novel with a female protagonist written by a female science fiction writer, for once. So much of the Cyberpunk novels I’ve read, from Snowcrash to Neuromancer, from Total Recall to Altered Carbon, have all been written by men with male protagonists. The Cyberpunk that I know and love, however, is more diverse than that. So we need writers like Sarah Jensen to continue lending her voice and her characters in order to fill the cyberpunk canvas with more complex, interesting characters. Bubbles is a recovering alcoholic, for example, which was inspired from Jensen’s own personal struggles with alcohol addiction.

Meme Credit: S.C. Jensen

Final Verdict: 9/10

What stopped this book from getting a full 10/10 mark was the fact that once I finished it, I didn’t feel like I had a deep awakening or a new insight on life or anything. It’s not the kind of book that really sticks with you. Rather, it a fun, light-hearted, fast read that hits all the right Cyberpunk marks. It actually felt rather reminiscent of the Harry Dresden Files books. If you like Harry Dresden but wished he were more Cyberpunk, then look no further than Bubbles Marlowe. And even if you don’t, I highly recommend this enjoyable read for the funny one-liners, great cyberpunk elements, top-notch writing, and the refreshing female perspective. I for one can’t wait to read the rest of this series! Book 5 should be out by the end of the year 2021. Books 1-4 are available now on Amazon via paperback, kindle, and kindle unlimited.

 

Cyberpunk Day 2021

Cyberpunk Day 2021: A Celebration of Everything Cyberpunk

 

Well folks, it’s October again, and with that comes a celebration of everything Cyberpunk: Cyberpunk day! Created by a coalition of Cyberpunk creators and fans, Cyberpunk Day was conceived to  help others discover new cyberpunk content like books, comics, shows, movies, and art. The team includes such cyberpunk writers Matthew Goodwin, Elias Hurst, Rachel Beck, and many more.

A Cyberpunk Lineup

This year Cyberpunk day has a really cool, revamped website, with a lineup is as follows:

11AM EST: Cyberpunk Games with Devs–Cyberpunk games showcase and game-dev interviews, hosted by FuzzyFreaks.

12PM EST: Cyberpunk Red GM Tips with GM Rob Mulligan.

1PM EST: Cyberpunk Roundtable with Cyberpunk authors Joseph & Marisha Cautilli, Tobias Cabral, and Matthew Goodwin.

2:30PM EST: Author readings (Block 1) with Cyberpunk authors Elias Hurst, Rachel Beck, Jon Richter, Jim Keen, Stu Jones, Marcos Antonio Hernandez, and Eric Danhoff.

4PM EST: Deus Ex Speedrun with Heinki.

5PM EST: Screening of Venus and Interview with Director Andrew McGee.

6PM EST: Author Readings (Block 2) with Mark Everglade, Craig Lea Gordon, Tanweer Dar, Matt Adcock and Cypress Butane.

7PM EST: Interview with Mike Pondsmith.

9PM EST: Cyberpunk Red One-Shot: Cyberpunk TTRPG creator Mr. Stidz refs a one-shot playthrough of Cyberpunk Red with players JonJon TheWise, Phil Harker-Smith, Rachel E. Beck and Miss Magitek.

With a full schedule of events, Cyberpunk day will be surely a day unlike any other, where people around the world can follow @cyberpunkday on Twitter to access all the events live as they happen every hour. I wonder what they will have planned for next year.

Celebrating Favorite Cyberpunk Media for World Cyberpunk Day

To celebrate everything Cyberpunk for World Cyberpunk Day, I thought I’d once again share my own favorite Cyberpunk media pieces, in addition to shining a light on some of my favorite, lesser known Cyberpunk content creators,  writers, and websites. Some of this has changed from last year, a lot of it hasn’t. Regardless, come celebrate Cyberpunk with your operator Alex, here on the Cyberpunk Matrix.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk Media

  1. The Matrix (the trilogy and the animatrix) by The Wachowskis
  2. Ghost in the Shell (the original anime and live action remake, as well as the animated series) by Masamune Shirow (writer), Mamoru Oshii (anime film director) and Rupert Sanders (live action director).
  3. Battle Angel Alita (the manga known as GUNNM, as well as the anime movie and the live action film) by Yukito Kishiro (writer), Hiroshi Fukutomi (anime film director), and Robert Rodriguez (live action director).
  4. Altered Carbon (the novel, the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, and both seasons on Netflix) by Richard K Morgan (writer) and Laeta Kalogridis (Netflix series director).
  5. Blade Runner 2049 by Denis Villeneuve
  6. Ready Player One (both the book and the live action film) by Ernest Cline (writer) and Steven Spielberg (director).
  7. Upgrade by Leigh Whannell

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Community Content Creators

  1. NeoMatrixology–For a yellow-pilled approach to understanding everything to do with the Matrix, I always consult NeoMatrixology and his Matrix University series. While I tend to report Matrix news in batches when major things happen, NeoMatrixology is always first to report the latest news relating to the Matrix, no matter how big or small, including livestreams breaking down the latest news. He also has lots of high-quality, in-depth analysis on the philosophy and themes present within the Matrix Universe. We also had a really interesting hour-long discussion about his inspiration, beginnings, and our first Matrix viewing experiences which you can check out in our podcast here.
  2. Matthew A Goodwin & Elias Hurst  — Both Cyberpunk authors in their own right, Goodwin and Hurst have joined forces to create Cyberpunk Day each year, creating an impressive lineup that helps other cyberpunk creators come together, while also helping cyberpunk enthusiasts find their content. They also help contribute content to the Cyberpunk reddit forums, Matrix forums, and Cyberpunk discord servers. Both are doing great work to keep the lifeblood of the cyberpunk community alive, and I was able to have both authors on recently for the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast. You can listen to Matthew’s interview here, and Elias’ interview should be going live this weekend!

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk websites

  1. Neon Dystopia–if ever you wanted in-depth, scholarly articles about all kinds of Cyberpunk content, look no further than Neon Dystopia. This is also where I first went the day I discovered the Cyberpunk genre. Covering philosophy, fashion, movies, music, video games, and news, Neon Dystopia doesn’t post as often as some other blogs, but when they do it’s always very in-depth and interesting. Neon Dystopia was also one of the first Cyberpunk websites I shared about, back in March 2018.
  2. Cyberpunks.com–Cyberpunks has the highest amount of content of all cyberpunk websites I’ve seen to date on the ‘net. Going less in depth as Neon Dystopia but providing far more content, including also the occasional video, Cyberpunks provides articles and essays about all Cyberpunk genres–movies, tv shows, music, news, technology, video games, etc. It also has reviews, lists, recommendations–you name it, Cyberpunks has it! For more about the ambitious creator behind this incredible website, check out my interview with its founder Bradley B. here.

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Up-and-Coming Cyberpunk Book

Despite the title sounding like a Cyberpunk Cosmopolitan Cocktail, Bubbles in Space: Tropical Punch is a delightful Cyberpunk Noir Detective story following Cyborg Private Investigator Bubbles Marlowe as she investigates a mysterious crime ring and new drug that hit the market. Starting in dystopian slums, her investigation brings her to a luxurious interstellar yacht, where not everything is as it seems. I read this book incredibly quickly, and particularly loved the interactions with the PI and her sassy android pig companion. Read the complete review for Tropical Punch on the blog, fortunately it’s only book 1 of 5 in the series by Canadian Cyberpunk author S.C. Jensen!

World Cyberpunk Day: Favorite Cyberpunk Video Game

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon by Ubisoft

If you ask most Cyberpunk fans what their favorite Cyberpunk game is, they will probably answer System Shock, Shadowrun, or Deus Ex (see the speed run in the Cyberpunk Day lineup above). While I haven’t played System Shock (it’s a little dated to play now unless you have that nostalgia factor) or Shadowrun (a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, think blade runner meets LOTR from what I’ve heard), I have actually played Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Unfortunately, I felt both Deus Ex games were a lot more stealth and RPG-focused for my tastes, with the gameplay considerably less fun than the usual fast-paced First Person Shooters I usually go for. Considering I’m a FPS player at heart, it should come with no surprise that Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is actually my favorite Cyberpunk video game of all time (even more than Cyberpunk 2077, surprisingly, although it was close). Sold as a stand-alone expansion to Far Cry 3 (another favorite FPS game of mine), FC3: Blood Dragon is a hilarious, over-the-top parody of 1980s action films featuring corny lines, fast paced action, dragons shooting laser beams, and cyborg ninjas.

Your Favorites

So what are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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