Soul Of A New Machine – Cyberpunk World Building

Author: Henry Taylor

As a setting, cyberpunk is unequivocally a product of its time. Defined by its polarised classes and advanced technology, it could be considered as the rising sentiments of the 1980s taken to their extremes. While parallels and comments on society have to be purposefully added into other genres and other kinds of ‘higher’ science fiction (I’m thinking Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels, or Dune), cyberpunk’s social critiques define its very nature. Without that aspect of a yawning societal divide, it’s just science fiction. The word punk is there for a reason.

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An ode to the Rue Jules Verne

Distorted Japanese neon signs, reflected in the pooling rain on a Shinjuku sidewalk. High tech low lives, mirror shades, cyberspace decks, smart drugs, riding on light, neural data jacks, androids, replicants & and the infinite possibilities of technology. This was the future I signed up for and it was glorious.

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Fear Tomorrow….Corehammer does Cyberpunk

Once again it’s time for a week of themed posts over here at the mighty Corehammer. Our Seven Nights Of Samhain theme was pretty successful last Halloween and it was a great opportunity to throw the doors wide open and invite some friends and allies to get involved. We are doing it all again this week and the theme is something thats been on my mind a lot these past few weeks, CYBERPUNK!!! With shows like Altered Carbon and Phillip K Dick’s Electric Dreams popping up in recent months alongside the new Bladerunner movie and Akira turning 30, I figured it’d be an appropriate time to don our disheveled trench coats and step outinto the hard rain of Neo Tokyo to take a look at yesterdays vision of tomorrow.

Any nerds who grew up in the 80’s will be familiar with the Cyberpunk juxtaposition of High Tech/Low Life. With it’s strong aesthetics, punk sensibilities, class politics and speculations on technology Cyberpunk caught hold of a lot of imaginations and inspired an enormous amount of radical art, literature, gaming and cinema. If you’re reading this blog it’s a reasonable assumption that you’re already familiar with genre benchmarks like William Gibson, Phillip K Dick, Akira, Bladerunner and so on…but what else?

Over the course of this week we’ll be taking a break from our regular content to probe the matrix by looking at some of the movies, music, games and ideas that contributed to Cyberpunk as a subgenre and it’s legacy in 2018.There’s also a new episode of Dungeonpunx in which the guys try to get their heads around cyberpunk by watching Johnny Mnemonic …..

Massive shout out to everyone who reached out and got involved. Check out Andrew Scully’s awesome SCUM poster at the top of the page and be sure to follow his work on Instagram @scullcomixinternational  I really appreciate all your efforts. We’ve got some great stuff for you this week..

“Fist of the North” Dungeonpunx do Hellboy

Creating a basic RPG player character (PC) is something that people find pretty simple…..the problem comes when you try and elevate the PC from a list of stats and skills on a piece of paper into a living breathing actual “character”. In this series we are going to look at the process we went through to get characters for our newest campaign from the stats into real life.

If you have been listening the dungeonpunx podcast over the past few episodes you will be aware of our change from our normal DnD game Nathan was running to a game based in the “Hellboy” universe created by Mike Mignola back in 1993. Ager has been running a campaign using ”Hellboy Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game” a system published by Steve Jackson Games…..(no not that Steve Jackson…..the other Steve Jackson) which is powered by GURPS 3rd edition.

you know you talk so hip man….call the cops!


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Friday The 13th Part VIII – Mama, Just Killed A Man

I’ll be honest with you – I wasn’t supposed to watch this film this week. In honour of the glorious Hallmark festival where you all get given a heart shaped pizza or whatever and I get a nice text off my mum, I was going to watch My Bloody Valentine, cos I saw it when I was small by accident and threw a teddy with a heart on it away after because it stressed me out. What I ACTUALLY wanted to watch was Valentine, the wanky teen slasher starring Angel off Buffy as a handsome lunatic, stalking girls who made fun of his thick specs at school, but it came out in 2001, and that puts it largely outside of our calendar catchment area. I’ll obviously still watch that when I’m done here.

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Nobody carries the dogboy! – Salute Of The Jugger

1989 was a real kicker of a year. I was 13 years old. My brain was already a bubbling toxic soup from prolonged exposure to lethal amounts of 2000AD and undiluted Kia Ora. I was peaking hard and gobbling up everything I could get my greedy claws on to feed my developing appetites in twisted fiction, dystopian sci-fi and martial arts movies. At the cinema we finally got a ‘dark” Batman courtesy of Tim Burton and my cinematic comfort blanket The Burbs was released into the world.

What was I listening to? Guns & Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ exclusively. I hadn’t traded in the Grifter for a mountain bike yet either. Life was pretty good.

A little googling revealed that cinematic trend for B-Movies in ’89 was underwater alien horror. Sophie already dismantled The Abyss a couple of weeks ago much to Boardy’s chagrin, but there were at least four other ‘Aliens living at the bottom of the sea’  films doing the rounds. Leviathan, Lords Of The Deep and Deep Star Six. That’s all well and good but I’m from Margate mate, I saw horror on the regular down that sea front in the 80’s and didn’t care to revisit it in the cinema. That and I’m terrified of deep water. No friends, my attention was drawn to the other end of the environmental misery spectrum. The dusty plains of the post apocalyptic future…..

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Freyja’s Wrath – Interview With Bad Squiddo

Bad Squiddo Games, not content to rest with its already heaving catalogue of practically attired female ass kickers, has launched a new Kickstarter – Freyja’s Wrath. Complete with Shieldmaidens, axe wielding warrior women, and Goddess Hel herself.

You want to know more about that? Of course you do. I had a chat with Annie, head mistress of Bad Squiddo, about her mission, motivation, and of course – her maidens. Enjoy.

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Marked For Justice Vs Fan Films

We live in an age where a geeks life is a many splendored thing. Gone are the days of scrounging around at stale old comic marts, tracking down grainy third generation dubs of the Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie or the Star Wars Holiday Special. At the touch of a button the modern dork can access out of print games, underground music, cult movies and become an expert on their chosen field of interest in minutes. But it wasn’t always like that. No mate. I’ve said it before and I will definitely say it again but being about that nerd life before the internet was some fucking toil man. If you wanted something niche…..you had to put in the leg work.

These days fandom is accessible to all. Comic book movies dominate the multiplexes. TV shows that draw upon the established lore of once reviled cult authors are now smash hits. We are quite literally spoilt for choice. I am not ashamed to admit that there’s a big part of me that is incensed by all this acceptance. What changed? Where was all this enthusiasm and tolerance when I was getting the pipe knocked out of me because I’d rather read an X-Men comic than play football? You people are all posers. I bled for this shit. Actual blood, not fake blood from the joke shop or corn syrup or whatever you cosplay people use. Fuckers.

Anyway look, right back at the dawn of the internet, before Marvel got their shit together and turned the superhero movie into a certified money spinner, that genre was absolutely in the bin. Yeah yeah we may well be past saturation point with superhero movies these days but until you’ve suffered through the Albert Pyun Captain America or endured The Hoff as Nick Fury, and don’t even get me started on the guy from Streethawk playing Daredevil in the Trial Of The Incredible Hulk… spare me your issues with superhero cinema you mewling babies. You don’t know pain.

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Gaming Board On A Budget

Thousand Sons facing down the Sons Of Fenris

With limited space, I wanted to sort a gaming board for the kitchen. Something for me and the lad to play on, but also for entertaining mates. The dining table can extend, but a 6*4 would take over the room, so I decided to stick 3*3 with a focus on smaller points games, and things like Blood Bowl, Shadespire, Frostgrave and X-wing. With that in mind I wanted a mat and scenery to cover all games, so went with a snow mat and decided on generic gothic ruins that would work in both fantasy and sci-fi. The bonus of the snow mat is that it works as Hoth for X-Wing games. Continue reading

Danger, Dissent and Unfinished Business – Mosh Round Up

 

For my money Youngblood have been the dons of the ‘traditional hardcore’ (I hate that phrase) game ever since they dropped the Rancor 7″ back in 1995. That was a seminal record for my circle of friends, a breath of fresh air amongst the poe faced metallic chugga that dominated the sxe scene of the time. If you’ve never heard Rancor I’ll do you a solid and include a link at the bottom of the page, thank me later. Anyway Pimlott switched me onto Line Of Sight after his band True Vision did a stint with them and Insist around the USA year. Youngblood continue their unbeaten run with the Line Of Sight Dissent EP in which this DC quartet manage to breathe new life into that most tired of formula’s Youth Crew Hardcore. How do they manage this? Just like Rancor they got that ENERGY my friend.

See I really only listen to hardcore when I’m involved in some kind of physical activity. Chopping wood, running, pretending I know what I’m doing at the gym etc.  That’s when I subject music to my rugged criteria….‘does this record make me want to smash up this stack of wooden pallets in record time?  or Does this song make me want to throw a barbel through the ceiling? and so on.  I was out jogging when the Line Of Sight record rotated into my playlist. Holy shit when they open with Raze and that floor tom build up/ mosh part comes in after like five seconds, well damn it made this old man inadvertently pop the hood up on his C cuff reverse weave and sprint all the way home like I was missing Youth Of Today at The Anthrax in 1986 or some shit.

I stole that pic above from Jeff Lasich of Start Today fanzine/Bottled Up Records. He’s a cool guy and gave me some nice Firm Standing Law pics for my zine, so go check out his most recent issue for free HERE
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