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Punk Punk genres are a generalization of Cyberpunk into other periods or with other genres mixed in. In the 1980s, authors like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote dystopian novels set Twenty Minutes Into the Future, where they explored themes such as the impact of modern technology on everyday life, the rise of the global datasphere as an arena for communication, commerce, conflict, and crime, and invasive cybernetic body modifications. The heroes of these stories were marginalized, seedy, and rebellious, in other words "punks". Bruce Bethke called this Cyberpunk, and it was good.

The original noir flavor of Cyber Punk had disillusioned, cynical protagonists striving against overwhelming odds to avoid total defeat. As other authors latched onto the genre they added another, more optimistic, flavor with badass longcoats wearing mirrorshades and using Impossibly Cool Weapons and other gadgets to wipe out the opposition. They also took the Punk to other time periods and settings, creating Punk Punk genres. Common for all such genres is that the technology (and/or magic) level is turned way up, an ultra-modern sensibility is grafted on, and that the protagonists are somewhere along the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes living in a Privately-Owned Society. The world is also on a sliding scale, from a World Half Empty to A World Half Full (or, rarely, even more optimistic).

Shared genre conventions

Technology (and/or Magitech)...

  • ... is ubiquitous and, in retro-futuristic settings, considerably more advanced than that available in the corresponding period.
  • ... is a means to control the public. The actual form of government varies, but it is usually somewhat sinister and oppressive (Dystopia, duh?).
  • ... provides some kind of medium for global or at least wide-ranging communication that is driven by research and/or business, piggybacked by military/political needs.
  • ... is a strategic resource. In our timeline, this started in the 19th century with railroads, the telegraph, and the machine gun; in later settings wars are lost and won in cyberspace, before the army even leaves its barracks. Speaking of the army, while most of the soldiers are using relatively crude weaponry, there will often be an organization whose units pack state-of-the-art weapons and equipment for black-ops work.
  • ... is regularly applied in transhumanistic ways, i.e. to make people stronger, faster, more perceptive, etc -- for instance through body modifications/prosthetics. The science of medicine is typically quite sophisticated.
  • ... can create Artificial Humans, Clockwork Creatures, or Ridiculously Human Robots.
  • ... is developed with little regard for harmful consequences to society or nature.

If there is magic, it may...

In particular, it does not involve divine miracles, and will not depend on faith. Nor does it require a Deal with the Devil. Magic users might suffer deleterious sideeffects.

Character archetypes

Characters in a Punk Punk narrative can include:

Examples of Punk Punk include:


A Punk Punk variant either exchanges the basic technology for that of another historical period or mixes in another genre.

By period

  • Stone Punk: (Stone Age) Bamboo Technology based Punk. The Flintstones plays this for laughs, and is probably the most famous version.
  • Sandal Punk: (Bronze and Iron Age) Ancient Astronauts (or Atlantis) impact the dawning classical civilization.
    • Bible Punk (Late Stone and Early Sandal/Biblical) A combination of late Stone Punk themes and very loosey Sandal Punk elements set in the very mystical prehistoric Middle East. It takes a revisionist approach to the Old Testament in Judo-Christian mythology by focusing upon adventure rather than morality.
  • Clock Punk: (Renaissance/Baroque) Leonardo da Vinci-style clockwork mechanica and gunpowder. Gormenghast, some of the Discworld novels. Assassin's Creed II plays it literally by having Da Vinci himself build some Clockpunk machines.
  • Steampunk: (Victorian Era - Edwardian Era) Steam-powered machinery in the vein of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. This setting is often more romantic, heroic, and optimistic than other Punk Punk settings, but some works in this genre are every bit as cynical as the darkest Cyberpunk.
    • Stitchpunk (1910s - 1930s): An subgenre of Steampunk. "Fiction influenced by the DIY and crafts element of Steampunk, with a prime example being Shane Acker's Nine, in which cute Frankenstein doll-creatures stitched together from bits of burlap sack try to save the world. In a wider context, Stitchpunk emphasizes the role of weavers, tinkers, and darners in Steampunk." Termed by Acker and outlined as such officially in The Steampunk Bible (page 55). More details and examples (mixed in with other genres) may be found here.
  • Diesel Punk: (1920s - 1940s) Internal combustion engines and electricity. A fairly rare setting (well, compared to Steam, Atom, Cyber, and Bio); until the release of Bioshock (which blends Diesel with Bio Punk) the most famous example was probably 2004's Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.
  • Atom Punk, aka Raygun Gothic : (1940s - 1960s or further to early-mid 1970s) The world of pulp sci-fi where everything from inter-galactic space ships to pens is atomic powered. The Fallout series is a great example, running on Science!
  • Cassette Futurism, aka Formicapunk: (mid-late 1970s - 2000s) Features a heavy dose of late 20th century analog technology, such as VHS and audiotapes. Digital technology may exist, but it generally still looks distinctly primitive, with 8-bit aesthetics (16-bits in some cases) being rather typical of the genre. Cell phones and the Internet are either absent or not as prominent as they would be in Real Life, and the lack of focus on digital technology is the main difference from Cyber Punk of the same era. Chronologically, it is centered on the 1980's or sometimes late 1970s, but can cover anything from the late 1960's (when it departs sufficiently from standard Raygun Gothic) to the early 2000's (for some works that already look dated).
  • Cyberpunk: (1970s or 1980s - 1990s or even probably still can happen in Twenty Minutes Into the Future) The original Punk Punk setting, see the first paragraphs on this page. It used to be a futuristic genre, but Tech and Society Marches On, however several still theorized thinking it can happen no matter what.
    • Post Cyber Punk: (2000s - Twenty Minutes Into the Future or 2050s) a much less dystopian successor to Cyber Punk. Appears in this list for completeness, but one of its defining elements is the absence of any 'punk' elements and in some cases even manages to almost completely dump the 'cyber' as well. It is now extremely popular to combine this with The Great Politics Mess-Up or The War on Terror. Examples: Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell (both by Shirow Masamune), Summer Wars, (debately and very likely first Nanopunk film) Transcendence (film).
      • Everything Is an iPod In The Future (Late 2000s - Twenty Minutes Into the Future or Mid 2020s): its first variation to Postcyberpunk, the current design for the future where all technology is touchscreen based and can be used anywhere you have access to glass. The architecture is formulated to provide easy access to this technology and be aesthetically pleasing in a zen sort of way.
      • Solarpunk: (Twenty Minutes Into the Future?; Late 2020s - 2080s or longer?) its most newest recent/second variation and opmistic one to Postcyberpunk or Climate Fiction genre, with possibly lightly Biopunk, Steampunk and or most likely Skypunk elements all seen from below than Cyberpunk itself put claims as "Basic opposite" to Cyberpunk for some reason. Its style/aesthetically seems very realistically Low Fantasy or Sci-Fantasy elements (if playing straight unintentionally) that also claims be even more lesser dystopic than (post)cyberpunk itself, strongly updated Green ideologies/themes very straight instead only Green politics as "themes" seen from past (With Techno-gaian, Eco-Socialist, Eco-Conversative, Eco-Captialist, etc.)
  • Bio Punk: (1990s or 2000s -) An alternative to Cyberpunk with genetic engineering/organic technology instead of computing as form of dystopia. Gattaca, Orphan Black and Farscape might be the most recognizable example of Bio Punk, although The Island of Doctor Moreau is a notable precursor. eXistenZ and BioShock also come to mind.
    • Nano Punk: (Mid 2000s -) It emerged genre or mostly rather a subgenre to ether Biopunk or Post Cyber Punk that ether Bio-Augmentations or Cybernetics implants are limited or banned replace with Bio-Nanotechnology as way to evolve or mutated mankind. Generator Rex is only clear noble example of punk in action. While Crysis is only less example of have limited used on Punk and instead more on extreme Cyberpunk theme instead.
  • Everything Is an iPod In The Future (Late 2000s - Twenty Minutes Into the Future): the current design for the future where all technology is touchscreen based and can be used anywhere you have access to glass. The architecture is formulated to provide easy access to this technology and be aesthetically pleasing in a zen sort of way.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: (after 2100s - far future) a setting filled with Sufficiently Advanced Technology that is reminiscent of the great empires of the ancient world.
  • Used Future: (far future) futuristic technology is already old in this setting; you can find rusting androids and rayguns in junkyards. The premier example is probably the first Star Wars film.



By genre:

  • The Apunkalypse: Punk meets After the End, as disaster reduces civilization to tribes of marauding scavengers.
  • Anthro Punk aka Zoopunk: (Furry + Post-Cyberpunk, Solarpunk or Biopunk + Psychological Horror) is a concept punk genre planned as idea of rather semi-dystopic or false utopic subgenre horrofic twist to Biopunk and possibly then-recent Solarpunk seen below with rather strongly mixed of any genre, Put Majority genre is aforementioned Biopunk (Bio-genetically mutated into Literal furry as sometimes plot) or Made animals with human genes to stand on two legs with some human level of Smartness, Its setting is always (If not overlap with former) Sci-Fantasy or Any Fantasy of matter and another genre that have furries.
  • Cattle Punk: (The Western/Space Western) A typical John Ford film setting, only with things like robots, super-weapons, and wacky gadgets tossed in.
  • Cape Punk: (Superhero + Beware the Superman + Biopunk with occasionally Cyberpunk into it) Mostly prose Deconstruction stories of superheroes in a modern setting that may also deal with Transhumanists in alongside with it.
  • Desert Punk: (Punk + survival in a super-harsh environment) The desert may be Desert Planet or Burned-out Earth.
  • Dungeon Punk: (Medieval European Fantasy) A heavily magical world where spells and enchanted artifacts take the place of modern technology.
  • Fantastic Noir: (Urban usually) a mixture of the Noir detective story with the more colorful aspects of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
  • Feudal Future: Set in the Standard Fantasy Setting or Medieval European Fantasy, only with beyond-modern technology designed to resemble objects and concepts associated with the European Middle Ages. Rarely does magic exist in this setting; whatever looks like magic is actually extremely advanced science.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: (Steampunk + Historical/Urban Fantasy) Steampunk with supernatural elements.
  • Gothic Punk: (Urban Fantasy + Gothic point of view) The punks are also goths. The world is secretly controlled by various supernatural creatures to whom humans are merely pawns.
  • Graffiti Punk: (Graffiti Town + Post-Cyberpunk + Punk Rock) Graffiti Town as not just the setting but the plot as well. Expect lots of Grunge, Punk Rock, Hip-Hop and Indie Pop. The most Nineties thing ever, codified by Jet Set Radio (which inspired VeloCITY), other good examples include Sunset Overdrive and Splatoon. A unique example of the genre is Mirror's Edge (which also has great Post-cyberpunk feel to it), which features few of the visuals of Graffiti Punk but makes up for it with characters and plot which is more within the example than most of its contemporaries. Vapor Wave is what happens when this is an Inverted Trope.
  • Kid Punk: (Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World + Solar Punk + Spy Fiction/Buddy Cop Show/Film Noir but with Light and Softer twist or Late 1990s to Early 2010s) Those Little PunksGet Off My Lawn! The Trope Codifier is Codename: Kids Next Door but there are signs of it in earlier works such as Recess and Rugrats. Interestingly, it went "Post-Kidpunk" via Fillmore! the same year it was defined. Most if not all examples feature Nobody Dies, all are at least a World Half Full, and Kid Heroes are a given. Surprisingly the genre has rarely Jumped the Shark, as seen with the Trope Codifier and the Post-Kidpunk example not overstaying their welcome. Possibly includes some overlap with Graffiti Punk and Ocean Punk via works like CATastrophe and Splatoon, carrying Unfortunate Implications about Escapism and Cosy Catastrophes in the eyes of the cynical.
  • Modem Punk: (Hollywood Hacking + Everything Is Online + Post-Cyberpunk and maybe Cyber Punk or sometimes 1990s to The Future) Surprisingly, there are a fair amount of Post-Cyberpunk and Cyberpunk works which emphasise that the protagonist and antagonist are the Playful Hacker/The Cracker and The Cracker/Mega Corp. respectively, having little to no physical presence but extensive power thanks to the internet and globalization. They range from movies like Hackers and The Net, to big budget productions like The Matrix and Watch_Dogs, to niche games with hidden complexity such as Endgame: Singularity and Uplink, to independent oddities made as "homebrew" projects including ModempunkHax Simulator and ArtifIce.
  • Mythpunk: (Mythology + Post-modern) It refers to "a subgenre of mythic fiction" in which classical folklore and faerie tales get hyperpoetic postmodern makeovers.  
  • Post-Punk Punk: (Dystopia - Punk Punk + Reconstructed Trope) No, not Beyond the Impossible Post-Modernism of Punk Punk. A reconstruction of the Orwellian Dystopia which predates Cyber Punk, the point the writer makes is that, unfortunately, Dystopia Is Hard isn't always true. Often includes Child Soldiers, Anyone Can Die and shades of Bio Punk and Diesel Punk in later additions. The Hunger GamesUgliesIncarceronThe Maze Runner and DivergentThe Giver is probably the Ur-Example. While The Sky Crawlers is not in words-only format and Invitation To The Game averts it while predating it, Literature has been overusing it recently when three successes proved it was profitable and will likely disappear for a while in the near future. Rant on History Repeating 
  • Ocean Punk: (Pirate) Punk in a mostly (or wholly) oceanic setting.
  • Sky Punk: (Sky) Punk that mostly takes place in the sky, Sky Pirates included.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Steampunk (Steampunk + Science Fantasy): Steampunk with an Applied Phlebotinum catalyst, often (but not always) with elements of Gaslight Fantasy.


A full list of Punk Punk settings is here.

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