The future virtual: an intellectual history of cyberpunk criticism

Simon Ayling

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This dissertation is an intellectual history of cyberpunk criticism. Looking through the lens of the history of ideas, it examines cyberpunk critique for academic trends, and for critical successes and absences. In the course of its analysis, this dissertation examines key themes in the genre criticism. These include the influence of posthumanist philosophy on cyberpunk criticism; the idea of the posthuman and its place in the critical literature; the key role of feminist criticism in the formation of the cyberpunk critical discourse; interpretations of spaces in the cyberpunk genre; and, lastly, the role of history and the idea of historicity in cyberpunk fiction and critique. It finds that the majority of cyberpunk critics analyse the genre using the critical tools provided by postmodernism. It also observes that the philosophical leanings of the cyberpunk critical discourse tend to be overwhelmingly posthumanist. While it acknowledges the significant and intellectually important criticism provided by the discourse constructed upon these twin pillars, it concludes that the lack of consideration of alternative critical resources, particularly those which could have been provided by humanism, has created lacunae within the genre discourse. Ultimately, it finds that, although a lively community of criticism has grown up around cyberpunk, it is a critical community which is marked as much by its silences as its vigorous discussions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012


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