Cyberpunk: A Style Guide to the Cyber-Types and Postmodern lifestyle

Cyberpunk: A Style Guide to the Cyber-Types and Postmodern lifestyle

Cyberpunk is extremely hip. Being extremely hip is the last hope for people with no money and no power. Being hip gets you big wins in the status game. Hipness can crush your enemies and attract the opposite sex. Best of all, cyberpunk is the next big thing AFTER the next big thing. You can hop on the cyberpunk bandwagon and coast for a long, long time. Think of the money you'll save on wardrobe updates! The worry, you'll save on lifestyle decisions!

What is there to know about being a cyberpunk? Leather jacket, mirrorshades—that just about does it, right? This kind of patronizing shirt must be faring DIE... Do you think cyberpunk is just a leather jacket, some chrome studs, and fully reflective sunglasses? Do you think that's all there is? Hah! You can find those on Kansas City bikers and the whole California Highway Patrol. The true cyberpunk might truck with a cellular modem laptop under a spiked leather arm and a laser pointer in the upper zip pocket. Or a true cyberpunk may look just like You. But who knows doesn't tell, and who tells don't know. The lifestyle and goals of the true cyberpunk are carefully guarded secrets in life totally devoted to coolness and secrecy. We will pierce the veil and reveal those secrets. We will display for you the inner cyberpunk. We will give you everything you need to know about embarking on this challenging lifestyle you will see more on the Daily Strange.

While cyberpunk is commonly a middle-class white male with way too many electrons, there are varieties of cyberpunk. Underlying all the types and genres is Basic Cyber Style, which breaks down to physical gear and mental attitude:

Basic Cyberpunk Gear is simple. Black leather jacket. Boots. Mirrorshades. Laser pointer. (We don't know why do all cyberpunks need a laser pointer, but it's mandatory.) We'll give you a more elaborate guide to basic cyberpunk gear. Later. The Basic Cyberpunk Attitude is quiet assurance. Subdued swashbuckling. Maybe a little menace. With these cyberpunk basics, you can navigate through all the sub-genres. But if you want to pass as a native in a particular cyber sub-scene without getting jeered at, you gotta accessorize and pay close attention to detail.

Motor psycho Maniacs

Cyberbikers pack the mystique of both worlds—high-tech and big loud greasy engines. Standard cyberpunk costume is ideal for riding motorcycles, and a mirror shades helmet is a big plus for the cyber look—mega robotic coolness. Motorcycles are dangerous and can kill you. This is also cool.

Goths, Deathcore, and Vampire Wannabes Ideally, for these sub-scenes, you should know about The Cure, which is a band. To fit in, grow your hair big and dye it blue-black. Spray it with Aquanet White to make it stick out; medusa like. Go to a kid shop and buy plastic fangs. (The kind that glows in the dark is funny. Funny is NOT the object here.) All sexes should wear a Victorian shin blouse—white or black only— that gapes to show flesh. You must practice looking tormented, tall, and thin. The ideal is chalk-white face makeup with blue-black eye sockets. Blue-black makeup with white eye sockets is untested but might work very well if you avoid a minstrel look. At all times think intently and torment. Torment... and ironic bitterness. No giggling or snickering, no kidding.

RIOT GIRLS These are fierce girls who like tech. This is a sexist category, but there we are; girls, only. A grrrl (girl) must be called, "dOOd" and ''guy' at all times, but a non-female guy is not a grrrl. This is just the way things are. If you're a grrrl, you can wear anything you want to, because you're there to defend it. This is true for anybody, really—look as tough as you wanna be, and be ready to back it up. Fierce is good. Grrrls with tech expertise is irresistible. Nothing more attractive than a fierce, blazing, ninja-type grrrl right now, and if she knows UNIX or phone-freaking, the world is hers. Girls.

Technopagans/Ravers/Neo Hippies Don't worry about this one. This scene is free, loving, nonconforming, spontaneous. You can dress any old way and fit right in... Unless you don't look cool. Maybe you should stick to basic cyberpunk. Dancing in leather is hot as a hack, but sweating is better than not looking cool. Non Cyber ravers favor floppy hats, five kinds of plaid and paisley, and multiple organ piercings. They sometimes take raver drugs. These drugs make you fonder of other people than you really want to be. (The morning-after Revulsion attacks can be nasty.) In this scene, pretending to be on raver, drugs are recommended and easy, too. Unfocus your eyes and smile lovingly. In black leather, you won't have to worry so much about getting hugged.

Academic Cyber-Wannabes

Students, teachers, whatever, dress down. Like you're always en route to a garage sale... maybe to donate what you're wearing. Casual Jeans, black leather jacket, laser pointer. No tweed, notice, and no Birkenstock. If you flash paperbacks by the Krokers, Paul Virilio, and Jean Baudrillard, it means you're serious. Paperbacks by Mark Leyner and Kathy Acker means you're way past serious.


Some of these people come from Texas or Oklahoma. In this crew, to yer cyber basics you add a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and grow any hair you've got really long. Males should try to get hair somewhere on their faces.

Science Fiction Writers Full-steam straight-ahead hard edge, with a permanent sneer. Just to twist heads, some male writers go for the Tom Wolfe effete look—blue blazer and wing-tips. Still, they sneer.

- Web Crawlers and Other Bourgeois Types - You don't really care about this one, do you? You do?

Deep Geek: Supemerds, Hackers, Wizards, Phone Phreakers Things get difficult here. Deep geek ware is un-standard. Very heavy Wizards can look like accountants, or like street people. Facial hair and Goodwill Casual happen a lot. Chubby happens too since these guys don't do enough dancing in leather pants. To get along in this scene, you really need to be very smart, very funny, or very sexy. To work yourself up to smart at least, learn UNIX. Or carry the 2600 zine in your back pocket and read that. Practice being technical. But until you get good, wear your cyber basics and never leave home without your laser pointer. This will draw the admiration of people who don't know any better, which has its own rewards. Leading us inevitably to the final category...

Phonies, Poseurs & Pretenders Don't think about the scheme! Forget about reading books, buy no computers or widgets. Don't do or buy anything. Save all your money for clothes and art materials. Make your girl/boyfriend help you assemble your hi-tech models — you're gonna need mockups of a laptop computer, a personal communicator, a beeper, maybe even a fake stun-gun. Realism is the key. Then wear them all with attitude. You're better than real. Strut. Sneer. Remember the 3 disses: distrust, disrespect, destroy. Wait, that's not right, is it?

We know there are going to be mutterings about this category. Grumblings that being a poseur is not as easy as we think. A poseur has a lot of overhead—in worry, just for starts— what if you're exposed as clueless? And having to stay locked to the Strange Website (DAILY STRANGE) to catch what you should be imitating?