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Alien franchise as Cyberpunk?

Alien franchise as Cyberpunk?

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I Raptus

Apr-12-2019 8:38 PM

Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is almost the quintessential Cyberpunk Gold Standard, up there with William Gibson's Neuromancer....The same William Gibson of the unused Alien 3 script no less.

Numerous sources claim Alien as cyberpunk

Neondystopia 

Reddit forum 

Wikipedia

Facebook group Cyberpunk forum

My question is... Is Alien and (subsequent entries) really Cyberpunk. I have seen this debated on other forum's but would like to see what the mighty Scified community think. 

There are certainly elements.

Weyland-Yutani is undoubtedly the hallmark Cyberpunk Mega-Corp, as is the High-Tech, Low-Lifestyles observed on the Nostromo, Hadleys Hope, The crew of the Betty. Not Fury161 though as they are notably low-tech, low-life.

Synthetics and AI are common enough, and encroach on creator-creation ethical questions. 

But the question becomes difficult to answer in full because we just dont see enough of the inner workings of humanity, especially the Inner Sphere and main habitats around Earth. We only ever observe The Rim and beyond. 

Personally I don't think it is. The franchise lacks the seedy vice-gripped underworlds, techno-enhancements to humanity blurring the lines of reality and virtual, subjugation of the populace under Mega-corporation rule, weak governmental power, severe invasion of privacy etc. 

Ripley could be argued as a Cyberpunk archetypal character, fringing the realms between humanity and biomechanical. Resisting against the greedy desires of W-Y.

But she is less the midway between lawful society and the underworld that a Weyland-Yutani Xenomorph future could represent, and more the only thing preventing that existence.

She is not rebelling against conformity, but more rebelling against just rolling over and dying for the sake of this company. 

I certainly do not claim to be entirely competent about all things Cyberpunks but and am generally curious about What is Cyberpunk?

 

 

 

 

11 Responses to Alien franchise as Cyberpunk?

dk

Apr-12-2019 8:57 PM

This is an interesting question that I can only answer from a different POV. I will leave Cyber out and adress Punk. I will try to rope it all in lol. Please keep this in mind.

Punk was basically a musical/political/social movement. It was a mindset. It was a scene that encouraged originality and free thinking while dissing things like almost any authority structure.  

Eventually, people started to say things like "you aren't punk if you listen to this or dress like that". It became the entity it was initially against. It collapsed under its own weight but the mindset remains with individuals.

Cyberpunk- My understanding is that it is an environment where government is very weak and ripe for the very uprising that ACTUAL punk talked about. Aesthetically, it looks like film noir with more advanced technology mixed with an Orwellian vibe. 

It is a very strange yet interesting topic and I am but a goober inviting more insight.

I think your question of defining Cyberpunk is left up to an individual interpretation, just as what punk music or Alien canon is. 

 

I Raptus

Apr-12-2019 9:25 PM

I am very fascinated, and would like a better understanding of Cyperpunk too. The concept apparently stemmed as a polar contrast to the Techno-Utopia sci-fi's of the 70's. 

I would actually welcome Alien exploring this more but we would need to look inwards towards the bulk of human society instead of out in the rims.

But as we're argued before, the franchise has been kept in a constant loop of self-limiting premises and tropes on the ass-end of space.

This is again, where a series would benefit. Look at Cyperpunk Netflix series Altered Carbon. 

dk

Apr-12-2019 9:29 PM

Altered Carbon- noted.

There may be a bit of cyberpunk influence in the short Alien Infestation from my stickied thread?

ninXeno426

Apr-12-2019 9:47 PM

I always got Cyberpunk vibes from Gateway station outside Ripley's apartment with the graffiti in the hallway

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

Leto

Apr-13-2019 8:37 AM

Alien is not Cyberpunk. Alien is Biopunk.

Because it all about life forms and bioweapon. Even androids - not a classic robots, but synthetic life.

I Raptus

Apr-13-2019 3:04 PM

Leto thank you for that insight! A quick look on google for biopunk images bring up some very fascinating images, and definitely fits the bill for Alien! 

I see works like The Thing, Bioshock, and the upcoming Scorn are listed as biopunk too

Godzilla's_Tail79

Apr-13-2019 8:05 PM

Alien is at best cyberpunk-adjacent, if you consider Bladerunner and Alien to take place in the same world. 

Not enough trench coats and urban blight in Alien for it to be truly cyberpunk, and nobody in Alien is really enhanced with cybernetics except Ash, but he's an android. 

dk

Apr-13-2019 9:40 PM

Somehow, I think Resurrection seems the most bio/cyberpunk of the franchise. It is pretty subjective but there was a good mix of film noir, advanced tech, a dystonian- ish environment and some anti heroes of sorts.

ignorantGuy

Apr-14-2019 2:59 AM

Probably you should look at the characters and the setting. Do you have mega-buildings littered with bright neon corporate ads, usually representing Honk Kong on a very "bad day"? Do you have a form of cyber-space? The technology should be really advanced in CP, but in the Alien Franchise prior to the prequels everything was pretty much junk. There are no implants no human genetic modifications or cloning (before Resurrection).

The protagonist is usually a man (a hacker or some form of Private eye), an anti-hero ("criminals, outcasts, visionaries, dissenters and misfits" https://web.archive.org/web/20050827210905/http://18hz.deid.net/cyberpunk.htm) forced to do a job. While Ripley is a true hero she only becomes a misfit only after meeting the Xenomorph. David from Prometheus could fit the bill, but he was transformed into a villain so I wouldn't consider him as such. But there is also the Meet Walter short, with it's loss of DNA rights disclaimer.

The most CP element is of course the Company itself, Weyland-Yutani.

But we must also keep in mind that the movie is mainly a creature feature, more Horror than Sci-fi and it appeared before there was a Cyber-Punk genre, which properly emerge with Blade Runner, RS's next movie. So I would say that the first Alien might be considered proto-SP, but the rest of the series are more or less Alien movies. 

 

ninXeno426

Apr-15-2019 4:35 PM

Speaking of cyberpunk, anyone notice the Blade Runner style handgun in Alien Night watch?

Nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for 

daliens

Apr-15-2019 4:43 PM

Lone noticed that too, here.

"He survived, he’s now in Disneyland in Orlando, and no way am I going back there. How did he end up in Disneyland? I saw him in Disneyland, Jesus Christ!"

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