Although it is pretty unclear that which particular person coined the term “biopunk”. But it has been presumed that the interesting and mind-boggling term came to be known after the term steampunk originated. Steampunk was also established as a genre. It is believed that only after the steampunk genre entered the mainstream that the term “biopunk” came into being.


Just like the genre, steampunk, the famous literary term biopunk, also finds its origin in the main term, cyberpunk. The term biopunk mainly replaces cybernetics information technology with genetic engineering’s synthetic biology. What more! Biopunk has carried forward most of the genre elements of cyberpunk.

So, can we really consider biopunk to be an independent genre? And if not, then are dieselpunk and steampunk really genres as well?

Read this article to find out!

Cyberpunk & Biopunk

Cyberpunk’s leading theorist, Lawrence Person says that cyberpunk depicts a future. A future wherein the day-to-day lives of people are rapidly impacted by the change in technology.

Cyberpunk mainly involves some marginalized features. Such as the alienated loners that can be found living at the society’s edge. The genre is nothing but a punk subculture. With a film noir atmosphere and detective models that are extremely hardboiled.

The cyberpunk genre revolves around some topics such as a troubled future along with utopian science fiction. Most cyberpunk genre movies have a post-industrial dystopian setting. The main characteristic that sets cyberpunk apart from other genres is its extraordinary cultural ferment.

The genre also depicts the use of some epic technology that hasn’t really been anticipated before, even by the most epic creators of technology.

The genre is known for representing contemporary concerns along with some prominent urban society shortcomings. Such as government warnings, excessive corporate corruption, pervasive surveillance technology, indifference, alienation, etc. So, cyberpunk is known for being skeptical about progress. While post-cyberpunk is focused on the upsides of the cyberpunk genre.


Biopunk, on the other hand, isn’t very much different from cyberpunk. Also follows some dystopian overtones as in the case of cyberpunk. However, the major difference is that biopunk depicts the impact of biotechnological advancement. While cyberpunk depicts the impact of cybernetics.

Biopunk: A Worthy Successor?

Mainly displays the negative and unrecognized impact of the biotechnological revolution. Biopunk would definitely involve humans falling prey to unwanted human experimentation. Humans and societies shown in the biopunk would be seen suffering from the struggles of some mega-corporations as well as totalitarian governments.

Biopunk openly reveals how governments and megacorporations abuse humans with the wrongful use of biotechnology. In order to instill terror, exercise proper social control, and gain profits.

The man behind the successful discovery of the biopunk genre is the famous author Paul Di Filippo. The author had published a great collection of short stories called Ribofunk. The term “ribo” refers to the full name of ribonucleic acid or RNA. The movie felt like it was detective punk instead of cyberpunk.

Fiction drama

The 1997 movie, Gattaca became a famous science fiction drama. The movie depicted selective breeding being done through the method of preimplantation genetic diagnosis. After that, the 2006 movie, V for Vendetta featured a protagonist that developed superhuman traits. With these phenomenal traits, the character fought in an oppressive regime. This movie is also a great genre movie.

However, the most successful biopunk video game to date is “BioShock”. The 2007 launched video game showcased an underwater utopia that became excessively infested with harmful biotechnological products.


Biopunk is only a little different than the famous genre of cyberpunk. Also depicts rapid technological advancement along with invasive human body modification. The main catalyst in the case of biopunk is specifically biotechnology. While in the case of cyberpunk it used to be cybernetics.

Focuses on bringing forth contemporary concerns, society’s shortcomings, corporate corruption, warning against the government, the resurgence of eugenics, uncontrollable genetic engineering, etc.

Whenever you come across any biopunk genre labeled fiction, consider it to be nothing but an updated version of cyberpunk.