K. Ceres Wright Answers Eleven Cyberfunk Questions
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a Christian, mother, and science fiction author and fan. I’ve been a sci-fi fan since I was a child, but I came to cyberpunk late, not having read Neuromancer until around 2003. But I became enthralled with cyberpunk and now I write it. And I hope you’ll like my work.
I’ve also started a writers support group, the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, or DWASF. We try to inform writers of color about calls for submission, writing tips, and goings on in the spec fic world.
2. What’s your favorite cyberpunk book/movie/anime?
Books: Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan, Neuromancer by William Gibson, and Noir by KW Jeter. Movie: Blade Runner. I’m one of those rare cyberpunkers who doesn’t like anime or gaming, so I may have to relinquish my cyber card.
3. What do you like most about Cyberpunk?
For me, it’s the juxtaposition of high tech and low life, serving as the postmodern to the Golden Age sci-fi of gleaming rocket ships and shiny spacesuits; the tight writing (at least it’s supposed to be), eloquently defined by Rudy Rucker as a high information-theoretic complexity (using as few words as possible to convey information); the anti-heroes who aren’t quite as anti as one would expect; and, of course, the tech, where you can upload your conscience to a cloned body, enhance your memory with data implants, or change your appearance with bioware. Your imagination is the only limit.
4. For you, what’s the difference between Cyberpunk and Cyberfunk?
Cyberfunk features the cyberpunk tropes, but tells the story from a Diasporic perspective. If Deckard were Black, would he have killed all the escapees, who wanted their freedom from slave labor and more life, or would he have empathized with their being members of an oppressed minority, faked their deaths, and let them go…maybe gotten them onto a ship to a far-flung off-world colony?
I think Black people have fit into the cyberpunk world already because we’ve always had to improvise. We’ve had to finesse what we have into what we want.
5. What’s the title of your Cyberfunk story?
6. Give a brief synopsis.
After getting implants for opening energy conduits, a teen discovers she can do much more.
7. What do you like/hate about your main character?
She’s a serious teenager who’s trying to help her family and trying not to kill her little sister. She’s tempted by riches, but at the end of the day, she knows where her priorities lie.
8. Are we heading for a Cyberfunk/Cyberpunk future?
I think we’re there now. The tech is just unevenly distributed, as Gibson said. A man in Canada is able to see using bionic eyes after having lost his vision to eye injuries. In the U.S., a Marine veteran was equipped with a bionic arm after having lost hers in a motorcycle accident. The makers of the Sophia robot, Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong, are planning a massive rollout of Sophia during the COVID-19 pandemic to help deliver therapy and provide social stimulation to the sick and elderly.
In Africa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital city, Kinshasa, authorities installed two eight-foot-tall robots to help direct traffic and prevent road accidents. And in Kigali, Rwanda, they’re using medical robots to take people’s vitals and detect those not wearing masks. The tech is not as advanced as in books, or as widely and cheaply available. But we’ll eventually get there.
As far as a dystopian backdrop, large corporations are acting in their own interests, becoming islands of privilege unto themselves and blurring the lines of established nation-states. And more and more disadvantaged populations are being forced to become self-reliant, grabbing side hustles where they can to make ends meet, or are being denied access to health care, even during a pandemic. That sounds pretty dystopian to me.
9. Would you become a cyborg?
If I needed to, yes. I’ll get a cybernetic appendage if my arm or leg got mangled in a car crash. I might need some implants if my memories begin to fade. Of course, you’ll have to show me the Phase III trial and 20-year followup data on those first.
10. Could you love an A.I.?
If it were sufficiently advanced, I think so. Maybe a wicked sense of humor, encyclopedic knowledge, enlightening observations. Who wouldn’t want to interact with that personality?
11. How do we keep up with all things Ceres?