Every good protagonist needs a good antagonist. Well, in Metropolis there isn't one, but a seemingly endless stream of them. In my cyberpunk, corporations are not the bad guy. That was considered “edgy” prognosticating back in the 1980s–we know better now. In my cyberpunk, the bad guys are bad guys in corporations, governments and on the street. That's reality. Oh, there will be big conspiracies to uncover, but not in the way you think.
Before we can talk about the “little” villains (people), let's talk about the “big” ones (themes).
The Urban Neon Jungle
In a “world of skyscrapers,” urban sprawl takes on a whole new dimension. Metropolis is a city of 50 million people living in monolith towers that dwarf any of our tallest buildings. If so many people lived in such a city–think Downtown Manhattan on steroids–wouldn't such an environment have a negative impact on people? Wouldn't they become more detached from each other, more anti-social, meaner?
From the opening moments of the series, we learn it is always raining or about to rain. We don't know why, only that this is how it is. A city that's always overcast and raining doesn't tend produce the friendliest of populations. (Though they say Seattle is a friendly place.)
Megacorporations and Uber-governments
The private and public sector are always at odds. But in Liquid Cool, we learn that this tension has grown to a cold war, of sorts, for the ultimate control of the city. Besides the rain, only one thing is getting in their way–crime.
What exactly is Up-Top? It's mentioned frequently in the book. Can you figure it out?
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