Is there one person or creator cited as the inventor of cyberpunk?

  • If you want the grandfather of Cyberpunk, read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Heinlein. It has almost all of the tropes in embryonic form.
    – SteveED
    Commented Dec 2, 2012 at 16:11
  • @SteveED if you really think that, you should add an answer (that adduces some evidence!) so that people can consider it.
    – AakashM
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:16
  • @AakashM - he asked for the inventor, not the grandfather. i agree that Gibson is the inventor/father.
    – SteveED
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 3:10
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    Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" is frequently (at least twice, anyway) cited as an early example. "Shockwave Rider" came a few years later, but still preceded Gibson by several years. Nothing against Gibson, but he was not the first.
    – DWin
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 21:39

4 Answers 4


The term "cyberpunk" is almost universally associated with William Gibson and, to a lesser extent, to some other authors; but Gibson didn't create this literary genre, end he even didn't create its name, which was first used by Bruce Bethke as a title for one of his short stories.

Cyberpunk (the genre, not the name) wasn't actually invented by any single person, but emerged from the works of various authors who contributed to its definition and evolution; Gibson was indeed one of its greatest expressions.

More info, as usual, at "Cyperpunk" on wikipedia.

  • This answer is better than mine! It should be the definitive answer. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 23:26
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    Philip K. Dick deserves some reference as well. Commented Feb 8, 2015 at 13:01
  • Bruce Sterling cannot be discounted when it comes to the origins of cyberpunk. His novel The Artificial Kid (1980) predates Neuromancer by 4 years and Gibson's first short story by a year. Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 8:34

Bruce Bethke coined the word. Well-known editor Gardner Dozois popularized its use in connection with the kind of SF being pioneered in the early 1980s by Gibson, Sterling, etc.


It should be noted that the Vernor Vinge novella True Names (1981) pioneered many of the styles and concepts central to the idea of "cyberpunk" even if that term hadn't been invented yet.

Fully immersive virtual reality, anarchism, and early 1980s punk embellishments... all the elements are there.


If you mean who invented it, William Gibson invented the term and what it is.

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    Any other answers will be summarily downvoted. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:39
  • @Bill: is that a bad thing? Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:46
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    William Gibson didn't invent the term, even if he's universally recognized as the father of Cyberpunk. See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk
    – Massimo
    Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 22:57
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    @Bill a truly definitive answer, while acknowledging William Gibson as the primary progenitor of the literary movement, wouldn't overlook the important contributions of several other key authors - notably Neal Stephenson and Bruce Stirling in shaping the aesthetic as well. Commented Jan 11, 2011 at 23:08
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    @J. Pablo Fernández, Trying to claim Willian Gibson invented it is false. Populularised it perhaps, but certainly not invented. I distictly remember having many discussiins back in 1989/90 into what Cyberpunk was, in comparison with half a dozen authors who were using it, or writing in the genre. It was an organic evolution from other works, and wasn't in any way emergent as a standalone concept or entity. Simple evolution at work. Also when I look back at it, there was a whole number of author writing in that genre about dystopian futures, AI, convergent tech, before the term became popular. Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 20:11

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