Well it’s been a while, hasn’t it? You haven’t heard from me in quite a long time aside from the sporadic news article here and there. There is a reason for that. Actually, there are several reasons. Some of them are even good reasons. This blog post is an attempt to explain where the hell I’ve been, why Cyberpunkery has been mostly dead and silent for a few years, and what my plans are for it going forward (it’s good news, don’t worry). But in order to explain what has been happening, I need to discuss a little history first. This is going to be a strange post that’s going to get really personal in a bit. Lord help me, here we go.
The Origins of Cyberpunkery
The idea for Cyberpunkery came about in November of 2015 while playing the game Mega Man Zero Collection on the Nintendo DS. This was a compilation of all four Mega Man Zero games—originally released on the Game Boy Advance from 2002 to 2005—onto one DS game card. I never had a chance to play them back when they originally came out so the DS compilation was perfect. And I loved them so very much.
While I had been a fan of the Mega Man series since I was 8 years old, Mega Man Zero hit different for me than any other game in the series had. It had RPG mechanics and its environments were more open and contiguous, making it more like a metroidvania than a traditional linear platformer. But more importantly to the purposes of this article, its storytelling was more poignant and complex than any other 2D game in the series. And it was very cyberpunk.
I played through all four games during my daily exercise sessions. This was while using a stationary bike. Which should go without saying because I can’t imagine any other exercise that would allow one to play a DS at the same time. The Zero games are to this day some of my favorite games of all time. As I was playing through them I kept getting struck with the urge to write about them. I wanted to share how much I loved these games with other people. More specifically, I wanted to share how exciting it was that they fit into the cyberpunk genre, a genre that I had been a fan of since I was a small child.
Around this same time, I was listening to an album called Genexus by the band Fear Factory. Fear Factory has long one of my favorite bands and one that I’ve jokingly referred to as Cyberpunkery’s house band on more than one occasion. They’ve had a cyberpunk theme running throughout their music forever. From the beginning really, but it was ramped up with their second album Demanufacture.
I remember clearly the first time I listened to Genexus and got to the final track, an emotional roller coaster of a song called “Expiration Date.” It dealt with aging, the acceptance of mortality, and the fact that we aren’t machines that can be repaired forever. The song included some voice samples from film Blade Runner which is, as long time readers are well aware, my favorite film.
The voice samples used in the song came specifically from the “tears in rain” monologue, which happens later in the film during the final confrontation between the protagonist Rick Deckard and central antagonist Roy Batty. In the scene, Batty laments that all his profound experiences will have meant nothing due to his short life span. It fit perfectly with the theme of human mortality present in the song.
Despite hearing that monologue my whole life—literally over a hundred times—it hit me differently this time. Hearing it alongside the emotional context of the song, I started thinking more deeply about what it actually means. I actually wrote about it at the time and it ended up being the first thing I ever wrote for the site.
It inspired me to re-watch the film and also re-read the book it’s based on. I was shocked by how I was able to learn new things from both, despite how familiar I already was with them. I had experienced so much more life than when I last watched/read them and was able to experience them in a completely new frame of mind. And again, I was struck with the urge to write about it all. The album, the film, the book, the games. All of it. And to share my excitement over it with the world.
So in June of 2016, I registered the cyberpunkery.com domain.
My original goal was to write features and reviews of media properties I have enjoyed over the years but the strangest thing happened around this same time. There was a big surge of new cyberpunk things happening everywhere. Video games, music, books, television, film. Suddenly it seemed like cyberpunk was gaining mainstream popularity again out of nowhere. So I thought it would be cool to maybe try to keep up with all the news of the genre. I saw it as an opportunity to do something unique and cool but also right in line with my lifelong interests.
Work was slow at first. I didn’t post very often. I figured that at the very least I would use the site to practice my writing. I hadn’t really written in years and my skills had diminished quite a bit by that time. However, over the next few years I started writing more frequently and began sharing what I wrote on social media. To my surprise, it started getting the attention of cyberpunk creators. Authors, game devs, musicians, etc. who took an interest in what I was doing with the site and would share it with their avid fans.
I got a positive response from everyone. It was all very cool and exciting and I thought that perhaps I had a future, however distant, of doing it for a living. But then the pandemic started.
Chronic Illness and a Pandemic
My wife has a genetic collagen disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It is a horrible condition that causes the body to not be able to produce enough connective tissue. It affects connective tissue production throughout the entire body. This means that it can come with a myriad of other health issues including problems with your stomach/digestive system, brain, spine, eyes, heart. . .and literally every other organ and body part since connective tissue is present and required everywhere in your body.
The most prevalent issue though is constant joint dislocations. When you have Ehlers-Danlos (EDS), your body can’t hold joints in place. To put it simply, her body is literally falling apart. All the time. And it is extremely painful. Doing very normal things like going for a walk, making a sandwich, grocery shopping, etc. leads to extreme, sometimes intolerable pain, fatigue, dizziness, and random fainting spells. And this can last for days or even weeks after any physical activity.
If this sounds awful to you, it’s because it is. And unfortunately this is a degenerative illness. In other words, it only gets worse over time. And there is no cure for it. She was diagnosed with it in 2004 when we were expecting our first daughter because the pregnancy exacerbated the already present but at that time not too concerning EDS symptoms.
At this point you’re probably asking yourself why I’m telling you this and how it relates to Cyberpunkery. What EDS means for the person who has it is all of what I mentioned above and more that I haven’t even gone into. But what it means for that person’s partner is that they become an essential source of support to them. Depending on how far the illness has degenerated, that support person may have to take on more tasks and responsibilities than they would in a typical relationship or household.
She does what she can and often does far more than she should. It always leads to all of the pain and other issues I mentioned above. She can’t drive because of the random fainting spells. And it is getting progressively worse over time. What this means for me is that I don’t have as much time to work on things as I would under more normative circumstances. We have three kids, and I have a full time day job as well. To put it simply, I’m really really busy.
Please understand this is in no way a complaint. I love being able to provide support, encouragement, and assistance to her always. I am happy to be able to support her in everything. And for a long time I was able to juggle all these things and still have time to work on the site. But that all changed when the pandemic started.
When the kids started doing school remotely, I suddenly had a lot more on my plate. I had to help manage the kids’ schooling in addition to other tasks I was responsible for. This on top of a job that had, since the pandemic started, become increasingly more stressful. Exponentially more stressful. And continues to do so today.
Regardless of how passionate I was for Cyberpunkery, I had to drop it for a while. I became crushingly overwhelmed. I became crushingly stressed. I became crushingly anxious. I prioritize my family above everything. But back then I also forgot to take care of myself and all the while my physical and mental health were being rapidly damaged. I neglected myself and I got to a really bad place mentally, emotionally, and physically.
And so the site fell by the wayside, unfortunately.
Obviously everything is now “back to normal” even though the pandemic isn’t really over. Kids are back in school. Some people are back in the office. I continue to work from home, thankfully. My employer made the decision to make remote work permanent.
Still, I found it difficult to get back into working on the site because so much damage had been done and I was severely depressed. And the stressful nature of my job continued to get worse, even as the rest of the world seemed to go back to normal. This made it extraordinarily difficult to find any joy in anything.
But that has been starting to change recently.
So. . .Now What?
That’s the end of the doom and gloom portion of this post. I hit a low point over this past Summer that made me realize something needed to change and that it would be literally impossible to stay on the trajectory I was on and continue living. I have been gradually getting better in every way over the last two to three months. My physical health is the best it’s been in years. My mental and emotional well being are on their way to a healthy place.
I’m ready to write about cyberpunk stuff again.
Or I will be very soon. The point of this post is to let you know, mainly, that I haven’t given up on it. I never did. Ending the site was never on the table and never will be. It was just in cryosleep for a while. For now, while I continue to work out. . .me. . .I will post articles when I can. And I will continue to plan for the future and think about things I want to do with the place.
For now, I have a couple of really fun, long-form features that I am going to be writing over the next few days and I can’t wait to share them with you. I’m also going to try to be proactive about posting news. There is still so much going on in the world of cyberpunk. It’s hard to keep up with sometimes, which is honestly a great problem to have, isn’t it?
If you’ve visited the site recently, you will see that there is now a blog section. The blog, where this very article is posted, is to keep you updated on changes to the site. But also, it’s for general off-topic thoughts and minutia by the site’s author(s).
You might also notice that there is a link for forums down at the bottom of the site. Having forums is a thing that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Really since the beginning, my goal with this site was to create a community of like-minded cyberpunk fans. Having a centralized place to discuss all the things we love can only help make that a reality. I haven’t really advertised them much yet, but I will make a push for them soon when I start posting content more regularly. Feel free to register and start posting though if you’d like!
You might also notice a “submit news” button on the menu bar. I always accepted news submissions and tips but now there is a nice little button there to make it more convenient! So please, if you are a creator making a cool cyberpunk-ish thing, get in touch and let me know about it so I can post about it.
There are a number of things that I have planned for the site in the near and not-so-near future. These rely on getting regular content on the site and me getting into the routine of keeping the writing going every day. Here are a few of them:
- Creating a Podcast – Cyberpunkery was actually originally going to be a podcast with a journalism site as a supplemental resource for it. I love podcasting which probably sounds weird to people who know me because I’m very introverted, quiet, and reserved. I created two podcasts in the past, both of which I am absolutely not going to tell you more about. I always found it to be extremely fun.
- Hiring Freelance Writers – I am admittedly not the best writer, but man do I love to write. With that being said, I want to have really good, quality content on the site. I plan on reaching out to some freelancers in the near future and see if I can entice them into writing some reviews and features. I’ve had a few people offer to write for the site for free in the past and I refused. I would never want anyone putting in that work without being properly compensated. So I had to decline because I wasn’t prepared at that time to pay for their work. I am nearly at the point where I am ready to take that step. Again, I want to make sure I’m getting regular content up on the site so that it is something worthy enough for a professional writer to want to spend their time working with.
- Creating Video Content – Heh, this one is a long way off to be honest. I wouldn’t mind having video content on YouTube or wherever, but I am not prepared to be on video and my video editing skills are beyond rusty at this point. Eventually though, this is something I’d like to do.
And that about wraps up this little (wait, it’s how long?) re-introduction article. I’m really excited to be working on the site on a daily basis again and discussing my favorite topic. I’m going to be honest, there are going to be dry spells here and there. I am still a very busy person, and I may take a break now and then to avoid burnout. But it will never be that long again. I am dedicated to this and I want it to turn into something great.
I just want to thank the people who have stuck with me through the hard times and have offered encouragement, acknowledgement, and validation through everything. If you are reading this right now, you are probably one of them. Thank you so much.