Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Science Fiction, and Libertaria
What is Cyberpunk?
Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a near-future setting. Noted for its focus on “high tech and low life,” it features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.
Is Libertaria: The Virtual Opera a Cyberpunk Opera?
Besides taking its clear musical cues from science fiction classics like Blade Runner, Libertaria: The Virtual Opera, and the upcoming related novel Libertaria: Book 1, both by experimental composer Sabrina Peña Young, clearly has many key elements necessary for the cyberpunk tale. Taking place in about a century, the story behind Libertaria focuses on the plight of the Underground Society of teen cyborg misfits who attempt to overturn a crumbled post-apocalyptic dystopic GenTech Factory that not only acts as the government of the fledgling socialists states, but also determines the fate of humankind globally through bizarre and cruel genetic experiments on young teens. All of this to create the mysterious Metal Ink, a reverse-aging narcotic that in its purest form can lead to immortality but in the street version just leads to addiction.
Like many anti-heroes of the cyberpunk science fiction genre,
the heroes of Libertaria are notoriously flawed.
While much of the backstory does not come out in the animated opera, the novel delves wholeheartedly in the twisted and convoluted stories behind each woeful character. Simeon, whose story we follow throughout the novel, is clearly flawed. Besides being addicted to Metal Ink, to the point that he risks the safety of hundreds underground, he also has a more than complicated relationship with his daughter Lucinde, largely due to his poor parenting, a love triangle, and clear rejection of the girl whose body is half charred and deformed. Libertaria, who appears as a savior/assassin? in the Underground is both powerful and child-like, searching for the Nurse Jaala who had rescued her, but even Jaala has dark secrets that will change Libertaria’s fate forever.
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