Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cyberpunk Romance - A Trend. With Guest Blogger Daryn Cross

Today at 4 Writers, we're delighted to welcome Daryn Cross! Be sure to visit her website and her blog.
Welcome Daryn, and thanks for sharing your insights with us!


“I have no idea what cyberpunk is,” you claim. Yet you’ve seen it many times and probably have read it too. Think back to films like Logan’s Run, where everyone over 30 is eliminated and the only life the people have ever known is life without disease to age 30, when they’re “renewed,” which, unknown to the populace, really means they’re incinerated.  Then there is Blade Runner in a futuristic society where the runners hunt replicants, advanced humanoids now banned from earth. Finally, you probably remember Minority Report with Tom Cruise as a policeman of the future who hunts down criminals before they commit crimes, begging us to discover if the predictions can be false.

Cyberpunk is characteristically about a dystopian world of the future where advanced technology goes hand-in-hand with the degradation of society and a break with the social order. These societies of the future are often formed and controlled by large mega-corporations or dictatorial governments where civil rights and freedom of choice are strictly limited or eliminated completely.

Cyberpunk has been around for a long time, but it is still a popular and growing trend, which has now entered the romance fiction market. It, and its biopunk cousin (biological and genetic engineering plus advanced technology in same dystopian future) and distant cousin steampunk (advanced technology usually using steam or clockwork mechanisms to run machines to combat society or government in Victorian historical times) have spurred writers’ imaginations making the concepts popular avenues for expansion of romance into the science fiction markets.

To enter this market as a writer, there are some things you need to consider:

1. How are you at worldbuilding?
There will be a need for a unique vocabulary. New words must be invented, the landscape will be far different than it is today. Methods of travel and life on a daily basis have been altered. What does the citizen of the future do and how much are his activities curtailed?

2. Can you invent new technology and machines?
This is the part I enjoy, but it also means making it believable. I have invented packaged meals like MREs that reconstitute with a single drop of water and direct sunlight. My folks fly in waterjets that give off the chemicals needed to reform and make more water. I have an Android that populates the Cash Chronicles, soon to debut in electronic format. He has special talents humans don’t have.

3. If bio or genetic engineering is part of your world, do you know enough to make it sound possible so you can suspend the reader’s belief? 
Is cloning part of the new world? How are babies born, in utero or entirely as a separate process? Are your people inventing new species? Has experimentation gotten out of hand? What is a human being’s life span in this new universe, short due to environmental conditions, or long due to scientific breakthroughs?

4. If you decide to write steampunk, can you get your history right while doing one through three well at the same time?
To me, this is the hardest, because you have to walk the tightrope of dressing your characters correctly and making them speak without using modern idioms. At the same time, you’re inventing machines and an alternate history gone wrong.

So next time you consider writing a cyberpunk novel, remember what Bruce Sterling says in his article at It’s about…”inhumane technology, environmental collapse, omnipotent mega-corporations, ruthless commercialism, overcrowded mega-cities, vicious criminality, terminal decay, neon and chrome, violence and death.” Are you up for it? Something to consider: is our society that far away from fitting the profile?
Check out The Cash Chronicles
Bobbye Terry is a multi-published author of several different genres. She writes fantasy and science fiction under the pseudonym, Daryn Cross. In April, she will begin to indie publish her science fiction series, The Cash Chronicles, but the prequel to the series is an historical set in mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The story, Millicent, introduces the villainess who is responsible for the dystopian U.S. of 2145. See just what made her the power-hungry woman she becomes.  


  1. Thanks for having me, Jenn. I enjoyed writing the historical for perspective, but really love writing about the future. It gets my creative juices flowing.

    FYI, Millicent is up for sale now at Smashwords (coupon on my blog, so is the first book in the series, Frozen Assets. Frozen Assets is up on Amazon already. Millicent probably won't be until later today. Search under Daryn Cross if interested.

  2. I didn't think I liked cyberpunk, but I like MILLICENT. Best of luck with the series!

  3. Thanks, Caroline--Millicent is an historical but it does lead into a sci-fi series with the first and second books cyberpunk, the third a time travel back to 1945, the fourth back to the future but farther than 2141. It jumps, but then time is a spiral not a line. The generations of the family are in order.

    Millicent is now live on Amazon- search under Daryn Cross to bring it up.


  4. Thanks for sharing Bobbye! I loved all of the movies you listed but didn't realize that's what cyperpunk was. Now I get it! Thanks again.