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An artist's depiction of nanotechnology.

Nanopunk refers to an emerging genre of speculative science fiction (sci-fi) still very much in its infancy in comparison to other genres like that of cyberpunk or steampunk.[1]

The genre is similar to biopunk, but describes the world where the use of biotechnologies are limited or prohibited, so only nanites and nanotechnologies are widely use (while in biopunk, bio- and nanotechnologies often coexist).

Currently the genre is more concerned with the artistic and physiological impact of nanotechnology, than of aspects of the technology itself which is still in its infancy. Unlike the cyberpunk protagonist, a low-life yet technologically advanced character, the personification of a nanopunk can be set 'hard' or 'soft', depending on one's own views of the impact nanotechnology may have on the future.


Kathleen Ann Goonan (Queen City Jazz) and Linda Nagata were some of the earliest writers to feature nanotech as the primary element in their work.[2]

Linda Nagata's Tech Heaven is a futuristic thriller about Katie, a woman whose husband is about to die of injuries sustained in a helicopter crash. Instead of dying, he gets his body cryogenically preserved so that he can be reawakened when med-tech is advanced enough to heal him. The problem is that it winds up taking far more than the estimated few years for this to happen.[3]

Another famous example of this genre is Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age. Some novels of Stanislaw Lem, including Weapon System of the Twenty First Century or The Upside-down Evolution, The Invincible and Peace on Earth could also be considered precursors of nanopunk.

Another example is the Michael Crichton novel Micro.

More recently, Nathan McGrath's "Nanopunk" (2013) is set in an Icebound near-future where almost half the world's population has been wiped out. Alister, a child when "The Big Freeze" began is now a teenager in a society slowly finding its feet. Unaware of his nano-infection he sets out to find his lost sister and is joined by Suzie, a militant cyber-activist. Their hacking attracts the attention of Secret Services and a ruthless Private Military Corporation and their search becomes a deadly race for survival.

2014 saw the publication of Kelly Mitchell's Wildcard. The story: When Karl’s mother abandons him at the age of 10, he aches to know why. It seems to do with Wildcard, the mysterious A.I. beyond time and space. The three lesser A.I.’s want Karl, too, each for their own dangerous purpose. Only Karl can cross the deadly barrier into Wildspace, the universe Wildcard created. Those who’ve tried to cross before went mad and failed. Wildcard needs Karl to perform an almost impossible task - to heal the rift in his all-powerful mind. Wildcard has a dark side, torn apart from the time of his creation. He was forced, by an accident, to spend 100,000 years alone. Wildcard, the most powerful being in the universe, is insane.

Film and Television[edit]

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]