Green Is Dead: Learning from Writing Cyberpunk
by Alex Livingston
As I was putting Akuba through her unpleasant adventures in lack mentality and international travel, the best fun was to be had in trying to come up with wacky uses of currently available technology that felt just around the corner. I still find myself keeping on the lookout for niche street tech and unique adaptations to our changing climate—and wondering how Akuba and her cronies would make a quick dishonest buck off of them.
I’ve written another book since then, one which is about as opposite from Glitch Rain in genre and structure as a book can be. Add in a few earlier pieces and I’m starting to see patterns in my choices. Some are intentional. Some less so. For example, all of my longer works end with the main characters on water. Why is this? Is there some subconscious meaning in my personal symbol-language that’s cropping up without my intent? Travels over the water as indication of a major change in a person’s life? Or do I just like boats? Coincidence? Suffice it to say that I have taken my first steps into the recursive, bottomless mystery of authorial intent vs. interpretation, another tool on the paranoid tool-belt of a writer. So if my next piece doesn’t end with a conversation on a boat, will I have intentionally broken the cycle? Now that I see the pattern, will it change my writing regardless of what I want? HOW WILL I RIDE THIS VERY MUCH PUN INTENDED WAVE THAT IS WRITING AND HANG TEN IN THE GNARLIEST FASHION?!?!
And in other pattern recognition news, has cyberpunk seemed really pink lately? While I’m sure it’s [insert fancy word for seeing patterns that aren’t there I just googled to look smart], after Glitch Rain’s awesome cover hit the feeds I started seeing bright pink creeping up on Matrix green as the default color of the genre. Be it in games (like in Cyberpunk 2077’s controversial ad), the giant Joi hologram in Blade Runner 2049, or an occasional appearance in Black Mirror, clearly we should all herald cover artist Matt Davis as a style-maker.