What is Biopunk?
The majority of “punk” subgenres can be chalked up to meaningless aesthetic derivatives. However, Biopunk is one worth mentioning.
Directly inspired by Cyberpunk, Biopunk asks the same questions but paints a much different outcome. Instead of cybernetics, AI, and virtual reality, it deals with a more organic and oftentimes more grotesque form of transhumanism. These frequently take the form of gene splicing, mutations, and blurring the line between technology and biology.
In these settings, the human body and biology as a whole is completely commodified. Computers with brains and beating hearts concoct serums and bizarre experiments to birth hideous humanoid amalgamations and assembled mechanisms from bones and tissue.
Maintaining the spirit of true Science Fiction, it demonstrates futures where science is left unchecked and technology veers off into monstrous outcomes, where man trades his humanity for convenience and comfort.
Directly informed by Lovecraft’s “Herbert West–Reanimator” and Gibson’s Neuromancer, Biopunk isn’t a completely unknown commodity, while other literary sources like Rucker’s Wetware, Butler’s Xenogenesis, Bear’s Blood Music, and Westerfield’s Leviathan trilogy aren’t as commonly known as other genres. Biopunk themes are also prevalent in videogames like Bioshock, Prototype, and Final Fantasy 7.
Not as impactful as Cyberpunk, Biopunk still remains a subgenre worthy of note with its oozing green aesthetic and oddities of mad science. For that reason it’s a worthy torchbearer in the lineage of weird fiction.