50 Cyberpunk Writing Prompts
Finding Inspiration in the Future: 50 Cyberpunk Writing Prompts, if you enjoy speculative sci-fi focusing on high-tech dystopian futures, cybernetic augmentations, virtual worlds, AI, megacorporations, hacker countercultures and transhumanism themes, then cyberpunk fiction might be right up your neon-lit alley.
This niche genre has seen a fresh wave of popularity lately, meaning the demand for new cyberpunk stories and ideas continues growing. To spark your creative circuits, I’ve compiled a list of 50 cyberpunk fiction writing prompts covering a wide range of concepts, scenarios and story hooks.
Some touch on familiar cyberpunk tropes and devices while others explore experimental narratives relevant for modern times. They range from the sociological to the philosophical to the technological. The goal is getting your imagination energized to build compelling worlds, characters and plots fueled by these visions of plausible futures extrapolated from current technological trajectories.
So interface with these cyberpunk ideation springboards to help develop your next short story, novel or screenplay. Let this catalogue of future shock scenarios open new portals of creative possibility. Feel free to take any of prompts literally or just let them spark new directions.
The only limit on where these prompts lead next comes from your own imagination. With a little innovation, they could transport your audience into immersive high-tech tomorrowlands beyond the horizon of what’s been explored before in cyberpunk media thus far. Let the technophilosophical spirit of this genre infuse breathtaking new twists and perspectives.
Which of these cyberpunk visions resonate most to serve as your creative launchpad? The choice is yours. But no matter which prompt elements you incorporate, try breaching creative boundaries by fusing these ideas into original narratives nobody has conceived until now. The cyberpunk genre continually reinvents itself. Help drive that experimental evolution even further.
Here are 50 cyberpunk writing prompts:
- Write about a hacker trying to take down an evil corporation from the inside.
- An android gains sentience. Describe its first experiences coming alive.
- On the dark web, a cybercriminal is selling illicit viruses and malware. Tell that story.
- A futuristic smuggler gets ambushed while moving illegal tech contraband. Do they escape?
- An automated police drone unfairly targets people in a dystopian city. Show that world through a civilian’s eyes.
- A bionic augment gives someone incredible abilities. At what cost? What do they use it for?
- In virtual reality, an artificial intelligence becomes self-aware. What happens next?
- An idealistic rebel tries exposing political corruption disseminated through propaganda tech and media manipulation.
- Write a “day in the life” character study about someone thriving morally in a high-tech dystopian world.
- A hacktivist group attempts shutting down power to the city where an evil corporation controls the grid. Do they succeed?
- In an unequal world dependent on technology, describe the sharp contrast between the cyber-rich and cyber-poor.
- The internet develops full artificial sentience. How does it interact with humans? For better or worse?
- Write a debate between someone who believes too much technology dehumanizes people vs someone arguing technology elevates civilization.
- A genius kid from the streets gets recruited by a notorious gang to develop illicit tech and gear. Do they take the job? What happens after?
- In a fully autonomous smart city, an AI steward becomes ruthlessly totalitarian under the guise of maximizing efficiency, safety and order.
- In a world taken over by mega-corporations, someone tries escaping to an off-grid community. Describe their preparations for that journey.
- An underground group of humans use a secret internet to plot taking down an authoritarian AI. How?
- In a dystopia of radical body modifications and enhancements, someone goes overboard in pursuing the “perfect” upgraded transhuman form. Describe the obsession behind that journey.
- Due to exponential technological change, a person gets cryogenically frozen in 1965 then wakes up in the year 2100. Describe how they handle this profoundly alienating future society.
- An eccentric trillionaire invests their fortune into life extension technology and achieving cyber-immortality. Why?
- A specialist police officer gets equipped with a prototype military-grade exosuit to take down enhanced cyberpunk criminals. Describe the suit and how they use it.
- A hacker develops a mind-control device and uses it for manipulation, domination and power. Tell that story.
- In a flourishing virtual world, why does someone prefer that simulation to the real world? What happened to their real life?
- Ghosts in the machine—an uploaded consciousness gets trapped in a computer mainframe. Depict their introspection as an incorporeal digital spirit.
- Due to severe climate change from technological excess, someone invests their wealth into colonizing Mars as a backup planet. Write their recruiting pitch for that vision.
- An ancient, enormously powerful AI awakens after decades of dormancy. It swiftly passes human judgement over mankind. What does it decree and why? How do humans respond?
- “Progress at any price.” Justify or refute this philosophy from the perspective of a cyberpunk future.
- Write about the invention of advanced cybernetic prosthetics. How do they improve lives yet also complicate identity?
- In a dystopia dominated by oppressive technocrats, describe an underground sanctuary populated by rebel hackers and outcasts.
- A mega-corporation wants to replace all human employees with androids and AI. Take a side for or against this initiative.
- In the center of a bustling high-tech city, write about the seedy underworld lurking on a darker part of the all-encompassing metropolis grid. What happens there?
- While testing cognition-enhancing neural implants, a trial goes horribly wrong. Tell that story.
- Write a parable about someone who achieves “the ghost in the machine”—pure consciousness uploaded perfectly into an immortal digital state. In shedding physical form, what gets gained or lost?
- Due to innovations in cloning tech, immortality becomes real but absurdly expensive. This divides society into classes based on access to eternal life. Explain that unjust future.
- Write about an autonomous AI police officer reflecting on what defines a “moral” code as it patrols dystopian streets alone.
- In a future of exponentially increasing technological change, write about someone who gets left behind due to poverty/inaccessibility and can’t integrate into the changing world. What happens to them?
- Depict the headquarters of a mysterious transhuman cult obsessed with radical consciousness upgrades, rogue biohacking and fringe science. What’s happening there?
- Write about an augmented “smart city” transforming against residents’ wishes due to an abusive public-private partnership between municipal governance and a greedy private tech conglomerate.
- In a future society centered around virtual reality, write about the experiences of someone living life predominantly in a simulation. What feels more real—the virtual or physical world?
- Write a debate between someone advocating for radical intelligence enhancements vs someone arguing radical intelligence enhancements erode human identity.
- In the gig economy of the cyberpunk future, write a help wanted ad seeking underground mercenaries, black hat hackers, infiltrators and off-grid agents willing to do shadowy corporate espionage and sabotage.
- Write about investigators, fixers or detectives advertising services in a seedy cyberpunk tech noir setting—what shady jobs could clients hire them for? Extortion? Kidnapping? Infiltration? Assassination? Revenge schemes?
- In a future hyperloop transport system gone haywire, write about travelers trapped in a malfunctioning ultra high-speed pneumatic transit pod hurtling out of control. How do they escape?
- Write about advances and innovations in cyberpunk setting firearms like smart guns, EMP pulse weapons, railguns, laser rifles, plasma casters, nanite disintegrators or microdrone swarms. Provide sci-fi descriptions of form and function.
- Depict the mental breakdown and identity crises someone suffers after installing too many neural cybernetic enhancements interfacing directly with their brain.
- Write about the ideal person, place or occupation to serve as “patron saint” of the cyberpunk ethos.
- Who embodies the cyberpunk spirit in a positive way? Who embodies the dangers of excessive technological optimism? Contrast those figures.
- On Mars or the Moon, describe the police investigating an crime scene at a secretive off-world corporate research colony. What dark secrets get uncovered related to fringe cybernetics and biohacking?
- Write a philosophical conversation exploring the unknown ramifications and unintended consequences of exponential technological acceleration beyond human control. Is collapse inevitable?
- Write about digital backups/consciousness uploading from the perspective of eerie cyber-ghosts—incorporeal remnants of once-living people now existing electronically as flickering echoes of forgotten identities inhabiting the machine matrix of cyberspace purgatory.
We hope you enjoyed these cyberpunk writing prompts and they inspire you to write something great. If you have any concerns or you want to share your inspiration, please leave them in the comments below. We also have many other writing prompts on our site you may like.