Patrick Nagle, English 65, The Cyborg Self, Brown University (Fall 2006)

Claire Sponsler's describes the cyberpunk ethos as:

Antifoundational, skeptical of authority, suspicious about the possibility of human autonomy, and fascinated by the way technology and material objects shape consciousness and motivate behavior, cyberpunk would seem to square with postmodern culture as it has been amply described by Baudrillard, Jameson, and Jean-François Lyotard, among others."

This attitude is similar to Science Studies', which questions the authority of science and exposes the role of technology in shaping ideas of the self. Sponsler continues by asserting that while cyberpunk has captured postmodern culture brilliantly, it has failed to adopt postmodern narrative strategies:

The problem this streetwise science fiction faces, however, is one it shares with other postmodern narratives — how to shape plot and agency in a way that matches the postmodern ideology and aesthetic it embraces. The ease with which Gibson and other cyberpunk writers are able to create a postmodern surface world — one that compellingly inscribes technological and cultural changes — clashes with their difficulty in finding an equivalent way of handling plot and agency. (627)

Science Studies provides a possible model for a postmodern literary agency in actor-network theory, and hypertext plots are by their very nature networked, decentralized, and multivocal.


Works Cited

Last modified 18 December 2006