The origins of a unified cyberpunk community are closely linked to post-modern science fiction. William Gibson, science fiction writer and accidental cybercultural theorist, created much more than popular terminology when, in his benchmark novel Neuromancer, he described the World Wide Web as "Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators . . . A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity (Gibson, 51)." Gibson's descriptions of the geographical reaches of the internet were among the first and most influential; a veritable bank of others would follow, and by the end of the eighties, the subculture of "cyberpunk" would emerge, claiming as their adopted "homeland" the vast 4-dimensional grids, suspended helixes, floating text, and glowing matrices of Gibson. Cyberpunks, the children of the realization of science fiction, were formed of the belief that “technology can be a tool for the imagination, opening up new terrains of images, sounds, experiences and concepts [HREF 2].”


With eerie, fast-paced, gritty fictions such as Stephenson’s Snow Crash at the core of cyberpunk, it has always been a somewhat paradoxical view of the future—dystopian, and yet yearned for. The dominant nineties subculture was marked by a desire for an imperfect culture, far from the various “perfections” promised by its predecessors; the wholesomeness of the 50’s, the peace-love of the sixties, the carefree partying of the 70’s and the yuppie decadence of the 80’s were immaterial. These promises having been proven to be mere illusions, the cyberpunks sought their paradise in contradiction and pluralism. The early cyberpunk community was one forged of “impersonal” technologies, based upon a future that did not yet exist, a mythological utopia. Paul Saffo of Wired describes the cyberpunk vision of 1993 as one of "humans as electronic cyber-rats lurking in the interstices of the information mega-machine; the gospel of the post- cyberpunk movement will be one of machines in the service of enlarging our humanity [HREF 3]."


Mythology has been integral to cyberpunk consciousness since its inception; cyberpunks dream of a world in which they have brought their fantastical future to life, in which the lines between the virtual and actual blur, and where science fiction has become a reality.