Technology has enriched and infected almost every aspect of human life. Its uses and possibilities are exciting, frightening, and dizzying all at once, introducing the kinds of unknowns no fiction author could resist writing about.
To that end, Denver-based Hex Publishers released Cyber World: Tales of Humanity’s Tomorrow featuring a wide range of accomplished, award-winning authors, including seasoned science fiction writers and others stepping outside of their usual genres.
Cyber World is a good place to start if you want to sample a variety of voices and topics in relation to cyberpunk and similar genres. Madeline Ashby’s “Panic City” features an automated city with the demon mother’s touch. In “The Rest Between Two Notes” Cat Rambo shows us how technology might be used to empower survivors of abuse, perhaps a bit too well. One of the anthology’s shorter contributions is its most disturbing: “Small Offerings” by Paolo Bacigulpi proposes what may happen if we take our desire for perfect, healthy children to its logical and horrifying conclusion.
If you’ve tried to figure out if there’s such a thing as cyberpunk music, you’ll be pleased to find out that there is a limited edition soundtrack available, featuring the dark electronic music of Klayton.
According to editors Jason Heller and Joshua Viola, diversity was prioritized for this collection and they succeeded in a manner that seems effortless, an example for others who may be nervous about getting tacitly political in art. In fact, diversity enriched the anthology’s theme, emphasizing technology’s universal and insidious appeal.
As with all the best speculative fiction, these stories act as a warning for us to hold ourselves and our authority figures accountable. Cyber World proves that there is still much to be gleaned from the cyberpunk genre, perhaps at a time when we need it more than ever.