Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Science Fiction, and Libertaria

The Cyberpunk Opera?

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. 
The Cyborg Gabriel once fought in the Great War

The novel also explores the personal lives of the side characters like the cyborg Gabriel and his complicated relationships with a cyborg-junkie and Miguel, Lucinde's love interest and the dutiful soldier who must choose between saving hundreds or saving his love. And readers are introduced to knew characters like General Talysei and Dr. Victoriana Veny, diabolical villains that at one time were heroes, and may yet be again if they could just move beyond the power of Metal Ink. All within the setting of a seriously screwed up world where a genetics corporation has total control over technology and the military after a clearly orchestrated worldwide nuclear holocaust that left the Northeastern coast of the US a dead zone.

Exploring the science fiction underpinnings of Libertaria: The Virtual Opera continues to be an exciting journey that explores the faults of today's society and leads them to their eventual and dismal conclusion. 

Science Fiction has always served as the herald for society, 
exploring what can be in technology and 
discovering how our dark human souls can destroy 
that which was meant to save us. 

In this respect the story of Libertaria fits well into cyberpunk science fiction and the rage of dystopic science fiction films, novels, and video games that are running amok in our culture today. 

Pris from Bladerunner Makes a cameo in Libertaria at 24:06
But perhaps the question should be: 

Why is the Zeitgeist obsessed with dystopia, invasive technologies, and intrusive governments? 

Perhaps it is because the populace at large is seeking a voice for its discontent and anger for the way that society has evolved over the last half century. Maybe this is the only way to give a voice to those that cannot express the injustice that plagues them each day. 


The oppressed are so busy fighting to survive, that it is up to the creatives to try to give a voice to the plight of today's oppressed, yet we do so from a golden tower looking down and not from ground. 

In some way creatives are an elite, too, given the time, the resources, the wherewithal, to concern ourselves with the arts and not with pure survival. In this way, the dystopic sci-fi author, filmmaker, or artist, attempts to make sense of our world but through a distorted glass that is deeply warped by our own comfortable lives. 

SCROLL DOWN FOR A SNEAK PEAK 
OF LIBERTARIA: BOOK 1
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Composer and writer Sabrina Peña Young creates mind-numbing experimental music that has been performed throughout Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. Her latest work is Libertaria: The Virtual Opera, a dystopic machinima opera available online and produced entirely through Internet collaboration and social media. Young will be speaking on Singing Geneticists and EPIC Virtual Opera at the upcoming TEDx Buffalo 2014 event in October. 



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