This article provides a reading of gender politics in cyberpunk, drawing upon the Gothic, the cyborg and the (post)feminist subject. This reading is effected through an account of the ass-kicking techno-babe, a crucial component of the masculine strand of cyberpunk which valorises a masculinity and technology dialectic and draws upon film noir, with its hardboiled detectives and monstrous femmes fatales. From Molly Million‘s in Neuromancer to Y.T. in Neal Stephenson‘s Snow Crash (1992) and Trinity in Andy and Larry Wachowski‘s Matrix trilogy (1999–2003), this figure of the femme fatale demonstrates that the (post)feminist project of the ass-kicking techno-babe has found a home in the Gothic aesthetics of the noir-inf(l)ected genre of cyberpunk. The account of how hyper-sexualised cyborgic female bodies are positioned in contrast with the repressed bodies of male hackers reveals the destabilising conundrum of supposed agency contained by the determinacy of the (post)feminist body.
Frankenstein, neo-Victorian fiction, and the palimpsestuous literary past
Perhaps Steffen Hantke had this in mind when he observed that a special relationship seems to exist between Shelley’s Frankenstein and modern writers of neo-Victorian fiction (250). While some of the most famous neo-Victorian texts (works like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine , NealStephenson’s The Diamond Age , or Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ) make no reference to Shelley’s Creature, many other pieces bear out Hantke’s observation, including the two texts on which this chapter will