Biopunk (a portmanteau of ” biotechnology ” or ” biology ” and ” punk “) is a subgenre of science fiction that focuses on biotechnology. It is derived from cyberpunk , but focuses on the implications of biotechnology rather than information technology . [1] Biopunk is concerned with synthetic biology . It is derived from cyberpunk involving bio-hackers , biotech mega-corporations , and oppressive government agencies that manipulate human DNA. Most often with the dark atmosphere of cyberpunk, biopunkly examines the dark side of genetic engineering and represents the low side of biotechnology .


Cover of Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo , a seminal biopunk story collection.

Biopunk (science fiction) is a subgenre closely related to cyberpunk that focuses on the near-future (most often unintended ) consequences of the biotechnology revolution following the discovery of recombinant DNA . Biopunk stories explores the struggles of individuals or groups, often the product of human experimentation , against a typically dystopian backdrop of totalitariangovernments and megacorporations which misuse biotechnologies as means of social control and profiteering . Unlike cyberpunk, it builds the information technology , but on synthetic biology . Like in postcyberpunkfiction Individuals are usually modified and enhanced not with cyberware , goal by genetic manipulation . [1] A common feature of biopunk fiction is the “black clinic”, which is a laboratory, clinic, or hospital that performs illegal, unregulated, or ethically-dubious biological modification and genetic engineering procedures. [2] Many features of biopunk fiction have their roots in William Gibson ‘s Neuromancer , one of the first cyberpunk novels. [3]

One of the prominent writers in this field is Paul Di Filippo , though he called his collection of such stories ribofunk , a blend of ” ribosome ” and ” funk “. [5] In RIBOFUNK: The Manifesto , [5] Di Filippo wrote:

Why Ribo?
Cybernetics was a dead science when cyberpunk SF was born, dead-end without living practitioners. Furthermore, the “cyber” prefix has been irreparably debased by overuse, in movies and movies. The tag now stands for nothing in the public mind and computer hacking and fanciful cyborgs such as Robocop. And Weiner’s actual texts do not provide enough fruitful metaphors for constructing a systematic worldview.
Why Funk?
Punk was a dead music when cyberpunk SF was born, has cul-de-sac. The music’s nihilistic, chiliastic worldview had already been culminated in its only possible end: self-extinction.
What is Ribofunk then?
Ribofunk is a speculative fiction which acknowledges, is informed by the fact that the next revolution – the only one that really matters – will be in the field of biology. To paraphrase Pope, ribofunk holds that: “The proper study of mankind is life.” Forget physics and chemistry; they are only tools to probe living matter. Computers? Merely simulators and modelers for life. The cell is King! [5]

Di Filippo argues that precursors of ribofunk fiction include HG Wells ‘ The Island of Doctor Moreau ; Julian Huxley ‘s The King Tissue Culture ; Reviews some of David H. Keller ‘s stories, Damon Knight ‘s Natural State and Other Stories ; Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth ‘s Gravy Planet ; novels of TJ Bass and John Varley; Greg Bear ‘s Blood Music and Bruce Sterling ‘s Schismatrix . [5]

See also

  • List of biopunk works
  • Nanopunk
  • dieselpunk
  • Cyberpunk
  • Steampunk
  • Cyberpunk derivatives
  • Genetic engineering in fiction
  • Grinder (biohacking)
  • Human enhancement


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Quinion, Michael (1997). “World Wide Words: Biopunk” . Retrieved 2007-01-26 .
  2. Jump up^ Pulver, David L. (1998). GURPS Bio-Tech . Steve Jackson Games . ISBN  1-55634-336-1 .
  3. Jump up^ Paul Taylor. “Fleshing Out the Maelstrom: Biopunk and the Violence of Information” . Journal of Media and Culture.
  4. Jump up^ Fisher, Jeffrey (1996). “Ribofunk” . Retrieved 2007-01-26 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:c Di Filippo, Paul (1998). “RIBOFUNK: The Manifesto” . Retrieved 2011-01-05 .

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