Misprints News #49 : Creating Future Subcultures

So technically the “cyberpunk” story has what can be considered an ending, good enough to start fleshing out the chapters anyway. The bulk of this weeks writing went into finalizing the two main characters and creating three of the “gangs” our fellas are gonna be dealing with throughout the book. Now, these aren’t the huge well organized crime rings like we have today where one group has various chapters and members all over the country. Think of these as sort of start-up gangs made up of less than a dozen or so folks. I guess that makes them clubs?

Anyway, it was fun to try and come up with the rules for each gang and what their product was going to be. I’ve established in previous weeks that our guys get caught up in writing code for digital drugs, and of course, you need someone to push those out to market and that’s where our mini gangs show up. Each one has a specialty, Gang A deals in euphorics, Gang B deals with hallucinogens, and Gang C slings uppers. Since the drugs are simply software for a physical medical device, the gangs use mobile kiosks and other “fronts” to upload your code. Each software package is good for X amount of uses, requiring you revisit or pay more to be given a new access token. This type of software can be auto-detected on the internet by police so you can’t simply email it or offer it online. That’s the basics of how they operate for this story.

Now, it was super hard to not make my gangs all West Side Story level cheesy with mobster nicknames and choreographed introductions. I did give them cheesy nicknames, but there is no dancing I promise. They go to clubs and bars where dancing occurs but singing is out of the question as is finger snapping and ballet style leaps into the air. Modern gangs sport matching colors or in the case of motorcycle gangs, they have a full on logo. I’ve given these guys similar setups with matching tattoos, matching facial hair, jewelry, etc. Things you’d expect a gang to use to define themselves. They have alliances and enemies, and fight over where they can and can’t sell their products. I’ve given each one a particular futuristic subculture to be a part of to make them easier to distinguish. An example is one of the gangs runs a club so they are by default part of a hardcore digital music subculture. Another is semi-primitive in that they grow their hair and beards long, raise pigs, chickens, ducks, and run a niche grocery shop.

So since this is all set in the far flung future, there are things I have to make adjustments for. Are jeans and athletic jackets going to look out of place by then? Is this a time where baseball caps finally go the way of the top hat? Do they even make spray paint anymore? How will they mark boundaries? Do they drive cars or motorcycles? I have a feeling everything would be electric by then and signs would be made up of LED strips as opposed to vintage stuff like neon. What if tags were some kind of large EL sticker you could literally slap up on a wall and it lit up? Since these are basically black market startups, perhaps they could all run a small office or over-branded bar as a base of operations. Nothing is as sketchy as a startup that’s description is nothing but buzzwords. Only one of the gangs at this point doesn’t have a base so I’m still working on a fun one for them and it’s not required for the first few chapters.

But yeah, this weekend and into next week I’ll be starting on the first chapter properly. Unlike with Redbriar I won’t be posting links to them as I go, but if you would like to beta read it feel free to hit me up in the next two months when I should have it ready for such a thing.

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