Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why I Write Punk



                                   

I typically tell people that I write science fiction. No, the punk genre isn’t well known, or perhaps not even considered a genre at all by the average reader. I have no lack of fantastic-yet-scientifically-plausible scenarios – mind uploading, extravagant online worlds, omniscient computers, etc. So why bother with the term punk?  

Because I know that I’m more a writer of punk than anything else. As I’ve been saying, punk is an individualistic attitude, so even writing in that style shouldn’t sway to public opinion. To hide the term punk is to portray that very message as impractical in reality, despite scientific practicality of everything else. Science fiction is an aspect of my style, but punk is more fundamental.

Without punk, I’d feel generic, a wannabe Heinlein or Asimov without anything unique to say. The reason Gibson had such an impact for science fiction is because his implicit punk message would not regard what is popular, but how to make use of what you have for your own sake. Self-dedication to use a technological world to make life bearable as Chase did in Neuromancer. Using writing ability to convey a message of where society is going whenever possible as Gibson did in each of his books.

Any good writer does not follow metadata to discover the popular bits of information that so many people click on. But by punk, I don’t just mean whatever happens to be based on a writer’s beliefs. I mean that the topic of interest for punk writing is primarily about a few individuals using self-stylization to overcome extreme setback, cyberpunk world or not. Science fiction may be so common with punk because technology is a way to conceive of radically new setbacks and overcome those same setbacks with the very same technology.

That’s what makes my style punk first and foremost.

4 comments:

  1. I like this. There's so much to say about the punk genres and what they represent, but whenever I try to say anything about it I usually get tied up in knots.

    This article raises an interesting point about the 'punk' affix, which is that it identifies the writer with youth and the 'new wave', breaking out from under the shadow of the old, established genre writers.

    I think all punk genres can happily be fitted into larger, older fiction categories. Every time a new 'punk' sub-genre is created it's usually less a literary movement than a handful of new writers trying to make their voices heard among the din. I think that's why a new sub-genre of a sub-genre seems to appear every couple months.

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  2. I love the point you make where punks give a unique idea on writing. Instead of being the next great Sci-fi author, punks reside in their own sub-genre.

    I write steampunk because I like to envision worlds that could have been by bringing out some of the best and worst traits of human invention. Science fiction of the past has always been an interesting concept to me and that's why I love the genre so much.

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  3. I love the point you make where punks give a unique idea on writing. Instead of being the next great Sci-fi author, punks reside in their own sub-genre.

    I write steampunk because I like to envision worlds that could have been by bringing out some of the best and worst traits of human invention. Science fiction of the past has always been an interesting concept to me and that's why I love the genre so much.

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  4. Thanks for the comments!

    It's interesting that you say 'new wave', John, because that relates to the music genre of punk. New Wave in the 80s grew from punk before it! Any of those strange punk sub-genres we talk about at Pen Punks really show how they grow from punk and its attitude, not from the irony of conforming to nonconformity.

    Carson, envisioning worlds that could have been is a great topic - I may write on it, because I have a lot to say on it.

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