Altered Carbon, Season 1 (Netflix, 2018) The television series succeeds in capturing the slick, dystopian setting and jaded noir cyberpunk vibes of Richard Morgan’s novel. Beneath the SF layers, however, the plot is then twisted out of shape with the introduction of Kovacs’ sister as a major player.
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell dir. Rupert Sanders (2017) A cyberpunk dystopia extrapolated from current scientific trends and mapped onto Japanese society. The usual question is asked—what is human?—but the film offers no real advancement from Blade Runner, preferring instead to focus on action and effects. Watchable but derivative.
Psycho-Pass, Season 1
Psycho-Pass, Season 1 (Fuji TV, 2012-2013) Japanese anime that postulates the cyberpunk-esque tracking down and stamping out of latent criminals by state-sanctioned deviants and their police handlers. Dark, stylised, and graphically violent, Psycho-Pass spurns all hint of cutesy to deliver on its premise. A disturbingly plausible near-future dystopia.
Neuromancer by William Gibson (Ace, 1984); audiobook read by Jeff Harding (Bolinda, 2014) Though ground-breaking, Neuromancer in retrospect seems more a writers’ guide for cyberpunk than a fully-fledged work, its constituent parts being 5% plot, 35% characterisation and 60% overlay. Appreciation of the audiobook will depend largely on one’s tolerance for Harding’s hardboiled noir drawl.
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (Gollancz, 2002) Beyond the action/intrigue of its no-holds-barred cyberpunk murder mystery, Richard Morgan’s debut novel packs a hefty SF punch by immersing the reader in a cynical, comprehensively envisaged future of haves and have-nots; of memory storage, body downloads and associated abuses and liberties.
The Matrix dir. the Wachowskis (1999) This cyberpunk martial arts neo-noir SF classic swept the cinemas upon release (unlike Wild Wild West, which Will Smith inexplicably preferred when choosing between lead roles) and holds up well in retrospect, using CGI prudently to stylise action scenes beyond human normal.