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An artist's depiction of nanotechnology.

Nanopunk refers to an emerging subgenre of science fiction still very much in its infancy in comparison to its ancestor-genre cyberpunk[1][2] and some of its other derivatives.[3]

The genre is especially similar to biopunk,[4] but describes a world where nanites are widely in use and nanotechnologies the predominant technological forces in society.

Currently the genre is mainly concerned with the artistic, psychological[2] and especially societal impact of nanotechnology, rather than aspects of the technology which itself is still in its infancy. Unlike the cyberpunk which can be distinguished by a gritty and low-life yet technologically advanced character, nanopunk can have a darker dystopian character that might examine potential risks by nanotechnology as well a more optimistic outlook that might emphasize potential uses of nanotechnology.[5][4]


  • Kathleen Ann Goonan (Queen City Jazz - 1997) and Linda Nagata were some of the earliest writers to feature nanotech as the primary element in their work.[2]
  • Another famous example of this genre is Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age.[6] Some novels of Stanislaw Lem, including Weapon System of the Twenty First Century or The Upside-down Evolution, The Invincible and Peace on Earth as well as Greg Bear's Blood Music could also be considered precursors of nanopunk.
  • Another example is the Michael Crichton novel Micro (2011). 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.
  • Linda Nagata's Tech Heaven (1995) 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.[7]
  • Alastair Reynolds' Chasm City could also be considered nanopunk.[8]

Film and television[edit]

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Multiple Worlds of Fringe: Essays on the J.J. Abrams Science Fiction Series. 2014. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7864-7567-4. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Newitz, Annalee (17 January 2008). "io9 Talks to Kathleen Ann Goonan About Nanopunk and Jazz". Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "AZoNano - Nanopunk, Definition and Examples of Nanotechnology Based Nanopunk Speculative Science Fiction". AZoNano. Jun 12, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b "Nanopunk Science Fiction". 
  5. ^ Huereca, Rafael Miranda. "The evolution of cyberpunk into postcyberpunk - The role of cognitive cyberspaces, wetware networks and nanotechnology in science fiction" (PDF). Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Sohn, Stephen Hong (2008). "Alien/Asian: Imagining the Racialized Future" (PDF). 33 (4). The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS). Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Newitz, Annalee (December 22, 2006). "Underrated SF Classic: Linda Nagata's "Tech Heaven" (review)". Wired News. 
  8. ^ Heikkilä, Ville (November 2013). "Restoration of identity from space in Alastair Reynolds's Chasm City" (PDF). Retrieved 19 May 2015.