Recently, we examined cyberpunk's view on advertising
, and cybernetic augmentations
. Today we examine its take on hacking. For years, before the internet even went public in 1991, hacking was a central trope to cyberpunk with the core maxim information wants to be free
as stated in the Hacker’s Manifesto
. That text drew from Rosseau and Marx with both its idealistic vision, and implied warnings to society. I reiterate, that doesn’t mean cyberpunk is inherently liberal.
As cyberpunk author and critic Dr. Joseph Hurtgen
puts it, The power of archives is connected to economic power, which generates anxiety...in society's powerful institutions. The archive as socioeconomic determiner is most visible in Gibson, allowing for both control and resistance. For example, Johnny is a slave to corporate systems until he learns how to hack, allowing him to sell information to the highest bidder.
Hackers often encounter ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics). Although the term was popularized by Neuralmancer
, Gibson's friend, author Tom Maddox, actually came up with it.
Let's look at how 21 cyberpunk authors write about hacking!