Archive for the ‘ Tomorrow ’ Category

GitS cyberspace via Kinect

Saw a link to this, thought people here might find it interesting. It’s a recreation of cyberspace from Ghost in the Shell as a game for the Kinect.

「攻殻機動隊 S.A.C.」シリーズ 電脳空間システム from BMCL on Vimeo.

(via http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/30/kinect-dives-into-anime-cyberspace-dares-you-to-catch-cute-robo/)

Interesting concept. Still, I think it requires too much activity to be a functional replacement for the good old browser.

The next evolution of cyberpunk?

I’m heading to a conference for the “day job” part of my life next week, so I might not have time to post. So, I’ll leave you with an open-ended question to discuss: what’s the next step in cyberpunk?

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Exploration in Cyberpunk

This week, let us consider the theme of exploration in cyberpunk works. How it shapes the world and how it could be expanded.

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Religion in Cyberpunk

Let’s take a look at what is often a touchy subject: religion. How does it fit within cyberpunk?
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Games in Cyberpunk

Given my “day job”, I love games. But, they seem to be conspicuously absent in a rather technical-minded genre like cyberpunk, particularly in the classic works. So, let’s take a look at the role of games in the future.
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Immortality in Cyberpunk

Immortality is a recurring theme in many fiction stories. It tends to appeal to the part of us that fears death, or at least wants to hold it off until we’re ready. Immortality, while desirable, is sometimes seen as a bad thing in stories.

Cyberpunk, of course, has its own twist on the subject. Let’s take a look at some examples.
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Chaos vs. Order

I came across another interesting review of TRON: Legacy today over at Terra Nova, an academic site that covers online games. The article is Blizzard is CLU, and goes into some interesting detail about the nature of MMOs and how the “living parts” were driven out, reminiscent of the plot of the movie. (Warning, there are some mild spoilers in that article and this. But, if you’ve read my review you probably already know the plot points covered.)

This brought up some thoughts about the classic themes of chaos and order. Read on for my take.
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Review of TRON: Legacy

I recently went to see the new movie TRON: Legacy, the biggest cyberpunk-related movies this year. It’s the sequel some of us have waited decades for. I’m sure all the hard-core fans here have already seen it, but in case you haven’t I’ll be including a few spoilers. Go see the movie if that’s a big deal for you. Otherwise, read on and then leave a comment with your thoughts.
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Fear and New Orientalism in Cyberpunk

Fellow cyberpunk enthusiast End_User send in this though-provoking article. Enjoy!

‘Modern Japan simply was cyberpunk.’ – William Gibson

‘The Orient […] seems to be, not an unlimited extension beyond the familiar European world, but rather a closed field, a theatrical stage affixed to Europe.’ – Edward Wadie Said, in Orientalism

Cyberpunk is a genre obsessed with the other, the outsider, the strange and the foreign. Whether it be foreign objects that penetrate and augment the human body, foreign beings represented by AI constructs or simply the seemingly eternal concept of the foreigner as ‘that man from elsewhere,’ cyberpunk is saturated with them. Leaving aside for the moment works that actually originate from South East Asian countries, Western cyberpunk is obsessed, just as the citizens of the European empires were during the age of exploration, with the concept of the East as a faraway place where magic resides. In cyberpunk, of course, that magic is technology, but it remains the same.

The East becomes a mysterious place, Gibson’s ‘black clinics of Chiba’ attaining a foreign and horrible resonance in the mind of the Western audience. The Triads and the Yakuza are conglomerated and deliberately blurred together, ‘the Sons of the Neon Chrysthanthemum,’ and become a dominant force in world affairs through their corporate interests. Is this demonstrative of a fear, peculiarly Western, of the growing economic and political power of South-East Asian nations? Or is it merely fetishism, the attraction of this foreign and magical land that was felt by French artists in the 19th Century?

Outside of Gibson’s works, we see indicators that it is fear that dominates this new Orientalism: in Blade Runner we see not the empty and decaying L.A. that Dick had assumed, but an overpopulated, multi-racial, multi-lingual city. And the races portrayed delineate American paranoias that have only been expanded upon since the end of the Cold War; non-integrating Hispanics and Asians flood the screen and the streets in Blade Runner, speaking pidgin languages and bringing their own cultures. Yet, they never ascend beyond the streets, because as Said highlights, Orientalism is ‘a sign of European-Atlantic power over the Orient [rather than] a veridic discourse about the Orient.’ By implanting this fearful racial dystopia, there is a forced realisation of the dominance and therefore superiority of Western cultures.

But what of cyberpunk works that arrive in the East? Japan undoubtedly has produced some of the genres greatest works, and they cannot be accused of fetishising their own culture. Observe, though, the concept of ‘other’ applied through a Japanese scope: in Ghost in the Shell it is always America that is the foreign invading ‘other’ politically, while visual representation of the other comes through blond hair/blue eyes, or in the filmic versions, a stereotyped China (Ghost in the Shell, 1995, is set in New Port based on Hong Kong, characters on signs are Chinese). Indeed, in Stand Alone Complex we see America, China and Russia as the invading outsider multiple times, while films such as Akira and Appleseed doubtless have grounding in memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Visually, Eastern cyberpunk does not rob from other cultures, so why does Western? It rests on a widespread assumption, not entirely unfounded, that Japan is ‘the technology place,’ because of its past record of producing and adopting new technologies at a rate greater than the West. But as the West moves ahead in technological terms, might we not question the reasoning behind always thinking of Japan thusly? It mirrors all too uncomfortably the concept of the East being ‘the spice place,’ and Said’s criticism that there is ‘a distribution of geopolitical awareness into aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical, and philological texts.’

Interview: Jess C. Scott

Jess contacted us with news about her new book, The Other Side of Life which combines Urban Fantasy and Cyberpunk. She offered to do an interview, so we took her up on the offer before she changed her mind. ;) This is her first book in a series, and she’s offering free copies to people willing to do advance reviews. Read to the end if you’re interested.

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