A far future cyberpunkish sci-fi story with a cyber samurai

Fire&Light65

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I had this idea planned out for some time. And while I try to understand my martial arts fantasy story a little better, I think this can help me connect the dots as this story would be in my better interest to work on and I feel I can get more creative with it.

The story is about a cyber samurai soldier set in in the distant future with a cyberpunk-futuristic setting. It would also showcase the change in politics and governments now controlled by megacorps, pharmaceutical corporations, etc.. that have now gained lots of control, as well as corrupted citizens that formed their own riot and terrorist groups. So the world is out of order, but there are these private military groups, one of them with cyber samurai training.

My MC is a cyber samurai, who is ethnic mixed with Japanese heritage, which descends from a Japanese samurai clan.

I'd like to know if this is an interesting premise and if anything sounds controversial. Is there anything wrong with using the term "samurai" in the very future?

I'm focusing on working on this one right now.
 

tinkerdan

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How, besides being mixed heritage, does your character fit into the world you have built?
Does your character have feelings and emotions or is it just robotic?
Does it have opinions of governments and politics and businesses and business practices.
Does it have motives, weaknesses, strengths, goals.

Is the idea interesting-I don't know.
Is the character interesting...
you haven't told us yet.
 

Wayne Mack

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A cyberpunk samurai -- that certainly sounds like an interesting character. I would advise doing sufficient research to portray samurai culture correctly and respectfully. The first thing, though, that springs to mind is that is sounds like a remake of "Seven Samurai," a classic Japanese movie and definitely still worth watching.
 

Fire&Light65

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How, besides being mixed heritage, does your character fit into the world you have built?

The soldier who trained him and who he worked for a while, had caused chaos in the world and only he has the k knowledge/skills to stop him.


Does your character have feelings and emotions or is it just robotic?

He has to an extent. He started out as a normal human with emotions, but became more robotic overtime, due to all the torture and experimentations over the course of time. And he's the newest model.


Does it have opinions of governments and politics and businesses and business practices.
Does it have motives, weaknesses, strengths, goals.

The takeover of corporations and turning humans into cyborgs, which they are evolving into.

I guess I'm kind of lost with what purpose this story will be about. But I'd want it to relate to the crisis situations that are going on now in the world. Any advice would be great.
 

Fire&Light65

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A cyberpunk samurai -- that certainly sounds like an interesting character. I would advise doing sufficient research to portray samurai culture correctly and respectfully. The first thing, though, that springs to mind is that is sounds like a remake of "Seven Samurai," a classic Japanese movie and definitely still worth watching.

If it's in the distant future, could I relate it to real samurai culture like this? Would it come off stereotypical?
 

Valtharius

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If it's in the distant future, could I relate it to real samurai culture like this? Would it come off stereotypical?
Here's my semi-informed thoughts: the real life historical samurai were servants of what were called daimyo in Mediaeval/Early Modern Japan. These were roughly the equivalent of feudal barons in Europe of the same period. They had enormous wealth and political power (often subordinate to the Emperor only in theory) by virtue of their hereditary landholdings. Samurai were supposed to be fanatically loyal to their daimyo (again, in theory but they also often were in practice). A samurai without a daimyo master was called a ronin and this was considered a fairly disgraceful position to be in (research the story of the 47 ronin if you don't know it already). I think (again it's your book so feel free to take it or leave it) the obvious analogy in your scenario would be making the cyber samurai fanatically loyal to the mega-corporate CEO's.

Generally my other advice is: do lots of historical research. The Book of Five Rings is probably a good place to start. Know the history. Study the lives in depth of real life historical samurai. Know what they had in common and what made them unique individuals. That's how you avoid stereotyping.
 

alexvss

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I like @Valtharius hint. Samurai is a word that comes from “to serve”, and it has different meanings according to the times. In the Sengoku era (1467-1615), samurai were pretty much soldiers that went to war using full body armor while mounted on horses, and used spears more than they used swords. In the Tokugawa era—a much more peaceful period—they were obligated to carry two swords, even in the bathroom, because that was the Law. They served the shogun, and the shogun said that every samurai must carry two swords. In the far future, as our colleague said, they could be servants of megacorporations. Or have no master at all.

If it's in the distant future, could I relate it to real samurai culture like this? Would it come off stereotypical?

The only way it would come off as seterotypical is if copy the other tons of stories that feature futuristic samurai. Yeah, this has been so used that is now considered to be a trope. You instantly reminded me of Neuromancer. One of the protagonists, Molly, is a street samurai (called “razorgirl”). She has augmented body parts and is a mercenary. But this is not the only, nor the first, futuristic story with samurais in them, not by a long shot. This trope boomed in the 1980's and is booming now, much because of the game Cyberpunk 2077 and its copycats. You could say that The Mandalorian is also a futuristic samurai, as he's based on the protagonist of Lone Wolf and Cub--one of the most famous fictional samurai ever. Hell, even the villain for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a robotic samurai.

Make sure you read the article about street samurai on TV Tropes. You will see that this concept has been broadly explored, in various medias. Make sure you read/watch some of these stories, so you can know what you can do differently. The article says that they are more like ronin or ninjas than actual samurai, and I agree. As I said, a samurai follow a master; if he hasn’t one, then he's a ronin. Street Samurai are often depicted as thugs without honor (much like how a ronin would be). And I discovered another trope--the Corporate Samurai--, make sure you read about them too.

This is a much-beloved trope, if not overused. Personally, I really like Cyberpunk (the aesthetic buys me off instantly), and I hope you succeed in publishing this story. Feel comfortable to ask more about this (I'm nerdy about this topic). Also, don't let the number of similar stories let you down. William Gibson himself thought that everybody would say that he copied Bladerunner. And look where he is now.
 
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Wayne Mack

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If it's in the distant future, could I relate it to real samurai culture like this? Would it come off stereotypical?
Why would this group be called samurai if there is no connection to the past culture? I would fear that by not using samurai culture, one would need to rely on popular conceptions of samurai and that truly would be stereotypical. My suggestion would be to either provide a clear lineage to samurai traditions or not use the term samurai.
 

DLCroix

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Hi! Hmm, probably the hurdle to overcome would be Hideo, the clone ninja of Neuromancer book.
Also, I think that the idea of cyber samurai presents problems of coherence or conceptual consistency. In fact, on the subject of Neuromancer (look how the coincidences of life put the elements together!), It was the reason why Gibson finally preferred a ninja warrior instead of a samurai, because on the one hand it saved the a lot of pages it would take to explain the ronin, but above all, who would believe precisely the idea of a cyber samurai? Do you know where the problem is? The samurais were Christians. How do you fit that with a cyber mindset?

 

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Fire&Light65

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I think (again it's your book so feel free to take it or leave it) the obvious analogy in your scenario would be making the cyber samurai fanatically loyal to the mega-corporate CEO's.

He actually would work for a CEO magacorp and be loyal to one. I was going to say that he would of been raised working for his corrupted Japanese mother's corporate since he was young. She would of eventually kicked him out, when she didn't find him worthy and she rejects him, sending him to some military-like school in the US run by some corrupted colonel that uses some samurai-like influences in hopes he'll learn his lesson. After working under the colonel all those years, he'd eventually break away from him, becoming a ronin.

I know this sounds really bad. I really need to work on this.


Generally my other advice is: do lots of historical research. The Book of Five Rings is probably a good place to start. Know the history. Study the lives in depth of real life historical samurai. Know what they had in common and what made them unique individuals. That's how you avoid stereotyping.
I'll definitely be doing this. I appreciate this information.
 

paranoid marvin

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I am not an expert on Samurai or their culture, but if you are having such a person as the lead role in your story then (as others have suggested) it is definitely the right thing to read up on their culture to make sure it is incorporated correctly into your story.

From what you have mentioned so far, it may be worth considering a storyline along the lines of that he feels that his current master is acting dishonourably, and is making him do dishonourable things, in relation to the code of conduct for Samurai. So he leaves his master, becoming Ronin, and seeks to find a new master who is more respectful and obedient to the laws and rules of the Samurai.
 

Fire&Light65

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samurai were pretty much soldiers that went to war using full body armor while mounted on horses, and used spears more than they used swords. In
This is true. Before they carried their swords around. Weren't they also known to use bows through the 1400s-1600s?



They served the shogun, and the shogun said that every samurai must carry two swords. In the far future, as our colleague said, they could be servants of megacorporations. Or have no master at all.
If he serves a megacorp in the future, it'd be like him serving the shogun in the feudal era, then if he were to break away from the shogun or be left on the run, that would make him more of a ronin? So what would that make him in the future if he was broken away and left on the run from the megacorps?


One of the protagonists, Molly, is a street samurai (called “razorgirl”). She has augmented body parts and is a mercenary.
This is similar to my protagonist, who would become a mercenary, then assassin, then be on the run, surviving for his life, realizing those he worked for were the true bad ones all along.


Cyberpunk 2077 and its copycats. You could say that The Mandalorian is also a futuristic samurai, as he's based on the protagonist of Lone Wolf and Cub--one of the most famous fictional samurai ever. Hell, even the villain for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a robotic samurai.
It's become a big trope I see. Is it okay if there are similarities to these?


Make sure you read the article about street samurai on TV Tropes. You will see that this concept has been broadly explored, in various medias. Make sure you read/watch some of these stories, so you can know what you can do differently. The article says that they are more like ronin or ninjas than actual samurai, and I agree. As I said, a samurai follow a master; if he hasn’t one, then he's a ronin. Street Samurai are often depicted as thugs without honor (much like how a ronin would be). And I discovered another trope--the Corporate Samurai--, make sure you read about them too.
Hey thanks! I'll be looking more into these. He would be more like a samurai in the beginning, then be more like an assassin/ronin later on.
 

Fire&Light65

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Why would this group be called samurai if there is no connection to the past culture? I would fear that by not using samurai culture, one would need to rely on popular conceptions of samurai and that truly would be stereotypical. My suggestion would be to either provide a clear lineage to samur
I was wrong before. I would connect past culture of samurai to the current future timeline. They would incorporate their old traditions into the new ones. I was going to say his mother brought it big, with new up to date high advanced military tactics, used with the samurai code. And her ancestors would have dated back from a samurai clan.


Hi! Hmm, probably the hurdle to overcome would be Hideo, the clone ninja of Neuromancer book.
Also, I think that the idea of cyber samurai presents problems of coherence or conceptual consistency. In fact, on the subject of Neuromancer (look how the coincidences of life put the elements together!), It was the reason why Gibson finally preferred a ninja warrior instead of a samurai, because on the one hand it saved the a lot of pages it would take to explain the ronin, but above all, who would believe precisely the idea of a cyber samurai? Do you know where the problem is? The samurais were Christians. How do you fit that with a cyber mindset?
My character does sound more like a ninja than a samurai in some ways. But he could if been more like a samurai in the beginning, before he was betrayed by the megacorps he worked for?

I am not an expert on Samurai or their culture, but if you are having such a person as the lead role in your story then (as others have suggested) it is definitely the right thing to read up on their culture to make sure it is incorporated correctly into your story.

From what you have mentioned so far, it may be worth considering a storyline along the lines of that he feels that his current master is acting dishonourably, and is making him do dishonourable things, in relation to the code of conduct for Samurai. So he leaves his master, becoming Ronin, and seeks to find a new master who is more respectful and obedient to the laws and rules of the Samurai.
Something like this. His master/boss was going against proper code but instead of leaving, he would get betrayed or maybe left for dead. Then found by someone and gets augmented to keep him alive and he ends up working for them. Then he's betrayed again and would now be like a ronin.
 

BAYLOR

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Back in 1985 There book and I think it was also series too. The Cybernetic Samurai by Victor Milan
 

Fire&Light65

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But was it easier to read a book like that in the 80s? It seems like it might be more challenging to make now? Does my premise story background for how he becomes a cybernetic samurai make sense? I could also create a female character as well.
 

hitmouse

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We seem to be getting bogged down on technical minutiae of character. Do you have a story? Do you have a rounded character even without the samurai detail?

if so, get on and write the story. You can always get around the samurai stuff by either changing it to something samurai-like, or by riding roughshod over historical accuracy and ignoring errors/ inconvenient bits/ inconsistencies etc (which is what most people do in practice.)
 

BAYLOR

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But was it easier to read a book like that in the 80s? It seems like it might be more challenging to make now? Does my premise story background for how he becomes a cybernetic samurai make sense? I could also create a female character as well.

Alot has changed since 1985 and science fiction even cutting eyed stuff becomes dated and outmoded.
 

DLCroix

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My character does sound more like a ninja than a samurai in some ways. But he could if been more like a samurai in the beginning, before he was betrayed by the megacorps he worked for?

Huh, to be able to answer that I must admit that I do not know the ninja code or further details. My suggestion is that, since the story takes place in modern times, the ideal would be that you respect the basic principles of both cultures (the other is the samurai, obviously) but you still have certain licenses to suggest variations. That is, use previous research as a guideline, according to which the number of tomatoes and eggs thrown at you by the fandom will be in direct proportion to how much you have followed from that guideline. I mean, the further you get away from the directive, the more tomatoes: remember that in the fandom there is a subspecies called nerd and it is the most radical and incredibly knowledgeable fandom of all: that one is almost an Amish of the fantasy, it does not accept many variations. For example, don't ever put a ninja using a Toledan sword. Or remember the joke of Banderas when he sharpened or rather deformed a Viking sword (in The 13th warrior) to adapt it according to his Arab customs in order to make that tremendous sword more like a scimitar.
 

Toby Frost

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The only way it would come off as seterotypical is if copy the other tons of stories that feature futuristic samurai. Yeah, this has been so used that is now considered to be a trope.

I agree: it's a standard cyberpunk trope, probably related to Japan being economically powerful in the 70s and 80s when early cyberpunk was being written. The idea of a criminal/assassin who follows a samurai code has also been used in crime films like Ghost Dog and Le Samurai. To be honest it wouldn't feel especially original - not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but it wouldn't break new ground.
 

Fire&Light65

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Do you have a story? Do you have a rounded character even without the samurai detail?
Not really. I'm kind of lost how I can fit this cyber samurai in a distant future society.




My suggestion is that, since the story takes place in modern times, the ideal would be that you respect the basic principles of both cultures (the other is the samurai, obviously) but you still have certain licenses to suggest variations.
I would set it further into the future. I would definitely write both with respect, though ninjas I would say leans more towards spies and assassins that do more freelance work and don't follow any real strict code. I could be wrong but I'll have to research it more.



Or remember the joke of Banderas when he sharpened or rather deformed a Viking sword (in The 13th warrior) to adapt it according to his Arab customs in order to make that tremendous sword more like a scimitar.
Oh yeah, something like this I would avoid from using things that are not associated with that culture. I know ninjas used ninjato sword, which is what I would put. But if this is the future, any sword might feel too outdated.
 
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