Cyberpunk Rules! Workshop @ Rikon 2019

This year’s Rikon was dedicated to cyberpunk, which I adored in high school. It fits into my love of film noir, and science fiction and police procedurals with a twist as well as into my overall moodiness. I proposed a two-part cyberpunk workshop to Rikon programming sometime in the middle of September, possibly at a moment when I was reminiscing about attending Milford in Wales last year. 

I love workshops. I am a serial workshopper. I love holding them, I love planning them and attending them. This one I planned a bit topsy-turvy: I was a bit late with filling out the form to officially submitted and only asked for 3 hours, 1 one on Friday and 2 on Saturday. At first glance, that was about all the time I was willing to commit to a workshop I had to be at during a con that is really all about hanging out on a Sunday. 

Of course, later on, I totally panicked that it was not going be enough time, not by a long shot, if more than 5 people showed up. I had envisioned nicely designed cards as cyberpunk tropes and as subversions I was going to as my workshop to do. I had not envisioned the number of hours I would have to put into my work and my family life in September. Well, not in the same verse, anyway. 

Cyberpunk Friday. Photo by me.

I did find some awesome pictures of 50s SF movies’ robots, that I printed out and managed to leave at the printer as I rushed home from work in the middle of the day to get the bus ticket I had inadvertently left there earlier in the day day when I was depositing my kid after having picked him up rom the week-long school trip that had ended a bit earlier than announced. Long, twisty sentence? 

Yeah, that was the conundrum that was my Rikon Friday. The lovely traffic, everyone heading out of town, for a long weekend as October 8th is Independence day and a national holiday in Croatia, was not helpful. I literally made it to the bus a single minute before departure. Luckily I had already made some packages, inspired by the ones Karron Warren gave me for GUFF, earlier in the week. I had realized, only after having done them, that they were also in English! And that there might be people wanting to write in Croatian. So I bought some Croatian papers, some Rijeka papers and winged it. (The rest of the materials and the tropes I had prepared well in advance, without the awesome designs, as I am visually challenged).

Luck was on my side: not only did I manage to get to Rijeka on time, even though the bus was late to leave and the traffic such it took us almost an hour to get out of the city, but I also got a taxi relatively soon and I managed to enter the con a full 30 minutes before my item. Also, only 4 people showed up for the workshop. This meant we could take our time and take it slowly. 

The packages were a great success, and well liked and what was most important to me – they were an awesome inspiration to all the workshoppers. In the first hour, we talked about cyberpunk, favourite books and characters, its tropes and examples. They took a long look at their materials and me giving each a set of tropes to use or subvert soon turned into everyone giving these to everyone else, making me not miss my non-existent design cards. 

Cyberpunk Rules Day 2
Photo by Maja Škvorc

On Saturday, the workshop had a drop-in, someone who did not mind being 15 or more hours behind everyone else. Most workshoppers came with a concept they had developed since Friday, and some had even written first drafts. After catching up our drop-in, everyone told and read what they had with a short review and discussion afterwards. It was a lot of fun seeing how the given elements were used and what restrictions brought about interesting pairing such as lesbian android cakemakers, robot dragon healers and philosophical takes on what love truly is in a mix of cyberpunk and Heidegger. 

I loved this workshop so much so, that I might hold it again. Might even be an anthology in there somewhere. Perhaps in time for Futuricon in Rijeka next year.



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