1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I love finding surprises in writing, so I read to surprise myself. I write to surprise myself. It’s that ethos of George Clinton where he asked, “Are you hip to Easter Island? Ain’t nothin’ but a party.” That sense of joy being right in plain view but sometimes hidden by our expectations, that’s the good stuff. I love seeing sci fi laced with humor, social consciousness, and the willingness to send tropes flipping like Simone Biles on a windy day. When I achieve that sense of fun and discovery in my stories, I’m happy.
2. What’s your favorite cyberpunk book/movie/anime?
My favorite cyberpunk book goes back a bit: Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad. Published in 1969 but I read it in the early ’80s. It hit on the fractured media, predatory news cycles, the psychological effects of data oversaturation on a society, and the outright surreal lunacy that resulted from mixing all 3! Favorite movie’s gotta be Strange Days with the queen, Angela Bassett. I need to rewatch it ‘cause it’s been a minute. Anime, gotta go with Akira. Just getting to shout “Tetsuoooo!” in my brain while I’m supposed to be in an important meeting is reason enough to love that cartoon.
3. What do you like most about Cyberpunk?
I like when it shows technology actually being a benefit to the little guy. Tech sucks a lot in our real world but not all the time. I like seeing that acknowledged in cyberpunk. Look at us since last March: tech has literally been the social tether helping loads of people keep their stuff together. Humans adapting tech to fit their needs rather than tech siphoning resources from humanity is my jam.
4. For you, what’s the difference between Cyberpunk and Cyberfunk?
Cyberfunk will let itself have fun. Cyberpunk focuses on the grit and conflict between people and tech, almost always coming from a place of Dystopia and gloom. Cyberfunk can do that too, but it’s often more about spiritual emergence rather than solely escaping techno submergence. That outstanding artwork of the little girl grinning mischievously from beneath the forceshield umbrella held over her head by a robot? That grin of limitless possibility is Cyberfunk.
5. What’s the title of your Cyberfunk story?
Something New for the Silent
6. Give a brief synopsis.
What’s personal freedom in a cyber world where thoughts and emotions are nothing but commodities to be extracted from the poor?
7. What do you like/hate about your main character?
I love that he’s an explorer and a poet and a rebel, even if only in his mind—which in the cyberfunk world, is the most important place to be all those things. I hate how the world he lives in isn’t so far removed from attitudes of today.
8. Are we heading for a Cyberfunk/Cyberpunk future?
I think just as we’re heading toward a more harmonious Afrofuturist world, we’ll see a corresponding shift in cyber attitudes too. Cyberpunk is all about raging against the machine. Cyberfunk introduces a willingness to let the machines talk to the grass and the trees, introducing a whole new flow into our informational world, which is where we’re going.
9. Would you become a cyborg?
I would out of necessity, but I don’t think I’d ever be the “Hey, I think I’ll see if Walmart’s got any new biomech on sale this week?!” type. My biological body’s served me well so far. Although…if somebody wanted to hook me up with some titanium abs, brother might quietly get in line.
10. Could you love an A.I.?
As a writer who spends a lot of time interacting on an intimate basis with characters who are nothing but data in my head, I can’t answer this any other way but yes. I see legal marriages, data offspring, and every other social interaction coming in the not too far future for humans and AI. The movie HER touched on it, but that movie was Splenda when the Kool Aid called for cane sugar.
11. How do we keep with all things Claybourne?
I hang out on the web at www.writeonrighton.com, and am usually on Twitter talking about pie, Star Trek, or all three at @zzclaybourne.
Read Something New for the Silent and 17 other fantastic stories in Cyberfunk! Preorder your book today. Release date, February 28, 2021.