CGNPCWSW: A Manifesto
Is This a Literary Movement?

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice. Fuck around and find out.
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January 16, 2022

After doing a significant amount of market research (via a Twitter poll and subsequent comments–thank you friends, especially Francesca for revealing my movement’s final name!), I have come here, to my blog–which is full of very good writing indeed–to declaim my manifesto for my new speculative fiction movement, CGNPCWSW.

What the heckin’ heck is CGNPCWSW? Easy, it’s:

CyberGolden New PunkCore Weird SqueeWave

And what is it exactly?

CGNPCWSW is a trend that coheres around a few key concepts in the current state of speculative fiction:

  • It has a plot and stuff happens. I like both explosions and kissing in my books.
  • There are interesting characters that represent a diverse spectrum of human beings in the book. Some of them are jerks, but most are not. I like books where the jerks at least have reasons for their jerkiness, as opposed to the other type, who are jerks just for fun. Give your jerks some nuance.
  • There are either science fictional or fantastic aspects to the work–or both! Both is good. I like both.
  • Sometimes the work makes me think about the nature of humanity and our world, but sometimes it doesn’t. I am a reader with contradictory desires and needs and this is okay!
  • In terms of tone and voice, well! There are so many facets to explore! Works that are really voice-y, works with a new point of view character every chapter with no repeats, works that hew to one specific point of view for the whole thing, works where each word has been so clearly thought through that the text is as sharp as blade–all of these are good!
  • The general feel of the book can be hopeful or kind, but I am not opposed to nihilism and darkness every so often .Also earnestness! I really like it when a book is really sincere in what it’s trying to convey. Even if it’s trying to convey “we’re fucked.”
  • If it sounds kind of like fan fic, it’s good? You know that sort of cozy feeling you get when you’re reading a coffee shop AU where Miles Vorkosigan and Breq and Katrina Nguyen are just chilling and comparing life experiences? Yeah, that. Extra good.

And most importantly: You can’t write anything that’s CGNPCWSW if I personally think you’re an asshole. Especially if you’re an asshole who likes to score cheap points off people at the slightest provocation and organizes outright abuse and brigading of people on Twitter as a fun little hobby.

I even made a cool AI-generated piece of “art” to represent my movement! Isn’t it great?

A pink, purple, and blue science fictional image generated by an AI

And if you’re wondering what the heckin’ heck I’m going on about, you can get caught up with either Camestros Felapton’s post, Is there a dominant mode of current science fiction? or Cora Buhlert’s Science Fiction is Never Evenly Distributed. Me, I’m being entirely sincere and earnest over here and reading books I like that, as far as I know, are not written by assholes. Don’t mind me.

Have a great week, everyone! Go forth and spread the gospel of CGNPCWSW far and wide!

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