Here are 10 quick ideas for a cyberpunk story, including everything from artificial intelligence to virtual reality constructs.
1. 2,300,780 PEOPLE LIKE JACK TURNER
The memories of celebrities are available for public download. Jack Turner is an internet sensation. His first marriage was a best-seller and over 2 million people subscribe to his daily live feed. But when a false memory is implanted into his feed, showing him committing a murder, Jack finds himself on the run.
With the police watching his every move, a two-minute delay in transmission is his only advantage – that and his millions of loyal fans.
2. THE MISSING DEAD
The after-life is made real in the form of a virtual reality heaven. People pay to have their minds stored on computer and are allowed to continue living in a virtual world of their choosing. But when their money runs out, users are downgraded to the basic free package, which takes the form of a virtual slum.
When several of heaven’s residents are reported missing, a detective enters the virtual world to investigate. There he discovers the shocking truth; non-paying users are being deleted to free up server space. Think ‘Caprica’ meets ‘Tron’ meets ‘Ubik’.
3. WORLD 1.0
Two teenagers build an entire holographic world from the ground up. When the program is stolen by an entertainment company, they attempt to sabotage it from within. They use their knowledge of the virtual world to gain control of its characters, preventing the company from making a profit.
The inmates of a high-tech prison have their brains linked to a computer network to provide extra processing power. The prisoners use this to plan their escape.
5. NEW LEASE ON LIFE
A severely disabled man is given a new lease on life in the form of a holographic avatar. The hologram allows him to interact with others more freely, and to lead a fuller life after having been bedridden for years. However, he struggles to reconcile the differences between his physical and non-physical forms.
6. THE NEW YOU
In the distant future, scientists have found a way to transfer thought and memory into the minds of robots.
Humanity has been all but wiped out by a century of plague. There are less than 1,000 living humans left, but thousands more continue in near-immortal robot bodies.
The robot-humans know that the biological population is too small to repopulate the Earth, so they search for a way to create new robot minds, using their own thought patterns and the thought patterns of the last surviving biological humans as a template. They create hybrid personalities, combining different character traits to increase diversity. The minds of the living/biological humans are more capable of growth and development than the robot minds, and so the last remaining humans are vital to the future diversity of robo-mankind. The robots subject them to a battery of tests, challenges and new experiences (some traumatic and some pleasant) to encourage their personalities to change. After each new experience, their minds are scanned, copied and uploaded into a new robot.
Living as lab rats, the biologicals are desperate to escape their torturous existence. Maybe their robotic counterparts can help, but will they?
7. JOHNNY-5, DEAD
A strange, futuristic cult begins using replicants/clones/androids as suicide bombers. They are created specifically for the purpose, can be made to look like any person, and they have no fear of death. The source of their manufacture must be located and destroyed.
8. ARTIFICIAL EMMA
A lonely farmer buys a replicant to work as a farm hand. She is not a robot but an ‘artificial person’, manufactured from living tissue. While at first e treats her like a slave, the farmer slowly falls in love with her.
Many people are fearful of the replicants, and they blame them for rising unemployment levels. When a replicant is accused of murder, anti-replicant groups across the country turn violent. A mob of neighboring farmers come to ‘dispose of’ Artificial Emma.
A group of troublesome children are abandoned on a huge trash heap. They have all committed crimes – some serious, some not-so serious – and this is their punishment.
The trash heap stretches out for miles in each direction and the children are alone. They arrive by teleporter, and each week they receive a food parcel by teleportation, but they must otherwise fend for themselves. They pull together as a group, with the eldest children as their leaders. They share their different stories, their troubled pasts, and become close friends.
Two of the children begin building their own teleportation device using scrap parts so that they can all escape. But when the device is finished they all decide to stay. They’ve found what they always wanted – freedom, responsibility, people who care about them, and they don’t want to leave that behind.
Unfortunately, this is all a simulation – a virtual reality. The experience was designed to punish the children and build character. They awake from VR and are sent back to their homes.
10. THE ULTRA-HORSE
The world of horse racing has been corrupted by the introduction of cybernetic enhancements. Horses are enhanced by artificial limbs and computer intelligence. Sponsorship allows for increasingly advanced technologies to be used, and mega-corporations begin to dominate the sport.
Drink Vitalade is a champion. The horse has not lost a race in over 40 years. Each time the horse is injured or retired, its memories are transferred into a new model with the latest technology.
The mega-corporations begin to fight over this valuable champion. Should Drink Vitalade be disqualified from the sport?
We have a Random Story Idea Generator which includes similar ideas above, but randomly spliced together with other ideas. Maybe it'll show you an idea which will inspire you?