The bold at the beginning is the prompt, and the rest was written by the AI. If you’d like to support this project, please buy me a coffee.
Advanced AI was invented by soviet communists to help humanity better understand itself and the world. Let’s use it for that purpose, instead of merely for the purpose of selling better ads and to better manipulate the population. For this post, AI also created the images.
Cyberpunk is a genre of science fiction and an art movement set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology that tends to focus on a “combination of lowlife and high tech.” Cyberpunk features futuristic technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with societal collapse or decay. Cyberpunk takes place at what sociologists would call the interstices; in the cracks between institutions, and outside the edge of what we think of as society. Typically cyberpunk stories involve people using technology in ways it was not intended to be used, in order to achieve an asymmetric advantage which allows them to survive and thrive in hostile socioeconomic conditions.
Solarpunk is a genre and art movement that envisions how the future might look if humanity succeeded in solving major contemporary challenges with an emphasis on sustainability, climate change and pollution. It is a subgenre within science fiction, aligned with cyberpunk derivatives, and may borrow elements from utopian and fantasy genres. Contrasted to cyberpunk’s use of a dark aesthetic with characters marginalized or subsumed by technology in settings that illustrate artificial and domineering built environments, solarpunk uses settings where technology enables humanity to sustainably co-exist with its environment with Art Nouveau-influenced aesthetics that convey feelings of cleanliness, abundance and equability. Although solarpunk is concerned with technology, it also embraces low-tech ways of living sustainably such as gardening, positive psychology and do-it-yourself ethics. Its themes may reflect on environmental philosophy such as bright green environmentalism, deep ecology, and ecomodernism, as well as punk ideologies such as anti-consumerism, anti-authoritarianism, and civil rights.
Comparing and contrasting the solarpunk genre with the cyberpunk genre, we see some obvious similarities and differences, and some that are more subtle.
Both genres are set in a future world that is drastically different from our present day. In cyberpunk, this is typically a bleak and dark world, where people are marginalized or subsumed by technology. In solarpunk, the future is typically depicted as being much more sustainable, with humans living in harmony with their environment.
Both genres typically involve people using technology in ways it was not intended to be used, in order to achieve an asymmetric advantage. However, the motivations for doing so are different. In cyberpunk, this is often done for self-preservation or to gain power over others. In solarpunk, this is typically done in order to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future.
Cyberpunk typically borrows from the dystopian genre, while solarpunk borrows from the utopian genre. This is most evident in the way that cyberpunk typically focuses on the negative aspects of technology, while solarpunk focuses on the positive aspects.
Cyberpunk typically has a dark aesthetic, while solarpunk has a more light and airy aesthetic. This is most likely due to the fact that cyberpunk typically takes place in a world that is less hospitable, while solarpunk takes place in a world that is more hospitable.
Cyberpunk typically emphasizes the negative aspects of technology, while solarpunk emphasizes the positive aspects. Cyberpunk is often dystopian and pessimistic, while solarpunk is often utopian and optimistic.
Cyberpunk typically takes place in the “cracks between institutions”, while solarpunk tends to take place in the “institution” itself. Cyberpunk typically focuses on fringe culture, while solarpunk typically focuses on utopic culture.
While cyberpunk often delves into cybernetics and robotics, solarpunk typically does not. Cyberpunk is about integrating with technology, while solarpunk is about rejecting the technocratic society and returning to a simpler way of life.
Cyberpunk tends to take place in a large city, while solarpunk typically takes place in a rural community. Cyberpunk often revolves around characters who are marginalized or criminalized by the state, while solarpunk typically revolves around characters who are valued members of their community.
Although cyberpunk is concerned with technology, it also embraces low-tech ways of living sustainably such as gardening, with solarpunk embracing high-tech ways of living sustainably such as renewable energy systems and electric cars.
Cyberpunk is typically dystopian and pessimistic, while solarpunk is typically utopian and optimistic.
Cyberpunk usually has the protagonist be a “de-mystified agent”, while solarpunk typically has the protagonist be a “mystified agent”. The typical cyberpunk protagonist is not a heroic figure, and may often have anti-heroic qualities. Cyberpunk is about hiding in the shadows, and not being seen by the oppressors. The cyberpunk protagonist usually belongs to an oppressed minority, such as a drug user, an immigrant, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The solarpunk protagonist is typically a champion for the oppressed, and is an inspiration for others. The solarpunk protagonist tends to be very heroic and virtuous.
Cyberpunk novels often have the protagonist living on the fringes of society, whereas solarpunk typically features a protagonist that is “a lot closer to the center”. Cyberpunk novels often feature protagonists who are criminals or outcasts, whereas solarpunk typically features protagonists that are hard-working, virtuous citizens.
Cyberpunk typically takes place in a city, and features characters who are marginalized or criminalized by society, while solarpunk typically takes place in a rural community, and features characters who are valued members of the community.
In conclusion, cyberpunk is a dystopian genre that focuses on a dark and oppressive society dominated by technology, while solarpunk is an optimistic genre that focuses on a bright and sustainable future where humanity lives in harmony with its environment. The two genres are obviously very different, but they also share many similarities, which can be attributed to their shared subgenre of science fiction. Because of these similarites, it is not surprising that there is so much overlap between the two genres. However, it is also important to recognize the differences, as it is unlikely that low-tech solarpunk communities will be able to thrive in a future that is dominated by advanced technology like cyberpunk worlds.