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The Women of Cyberpunk Essay

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The Women of Cyberpunk

Women have always been on the fringes of the science fiction writing community. Not only have there been few female writers, but few female characters of substance have explored the universe, battled aliens, or discovered new technologies. Even in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), considered by some to be the first science fiction novel, Elizabeth, who is the major female character, does little more than decorate Victor's arm, snag his heart, and eventually contribute to his self-destruction. Women were virtually non-existent in the Golden Age SF (1938-1949) writings; except perhaps as trophies to be rescued, or smoldering, sexual beings that really didn't contribute to the overall plot other than as the
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"Target specs on a combat that isn't in the book---"

"Waste my time and you won't profile at all," said Molly, leaning across his scarred plastic desk to prod him with her forefinger.

"So maybe you want to buy your microwaves somewhere else?" He was a tough kid, behind his Mao-job. A Nighttowner by birth, probably.

Her hand blurred down the front of his jacket, completely severing the lapel without rumpling the fabric.

"So we got a deal or what?"

"Deal," he said, staring at his ruined lapel with what he must have hoped was only polite interest. "Deal." (Gibson, 38)

In the above passage, it is evident that Molly, however, would not have the ability to truly break away from the female SF character stereotype without her body's enhancements. She is the more physically powerful because of them. Technically, she could be considered a cyborg in feminist and technological theorist Donna Haraway's view because of these enhancements:

"Chiba. Yeah. See, Molly's been to Chiba, too." And she showed me her hands, fingers slightly spread. Her fingers were slender, tapered, very white against the polished burgundy nails. Ten blades snicked straight out from their recesses beneath her nails, each one a narrow, double edged scalpel in pale blue steel. (Gibson 37)

and,

And I saw for the first time that the mirrored lenses were surgical
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