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Currently reading a short story collection called The Ultimate Cyberpunk
(2002); evidently it's part of a The Ultimate...
series, hence the horrible name. It has fallen to the hapless Pat Cadigan ("Queen of Cyberpunk") to assemble this material and despite a bland introduction in which she does nothing to explain the history of the movement or compare her choices, the stories are pretty good (so far--I'm about halfway through).
Alfred Bester's "Fondly Fahrenheit" is a natural prototype, using the now-familiar Hollywood trope of a serial killer moving from city to city (probably a lot more shocking in '54), the twist(s) being that the killer(s) are an android and his human master who have become so psychically entwined that the reader is never entirely sure who's doing the butchering. Whenever the artificial human starts to go funny he sings a tune from the turn of the last century ("Oh it's no feat to beat the heat. All reet! All reet! So jeet your seat/Be fleet be fleet/Cool and discreet/Honey...") Very creepy, but definitely all reet.
Cordwainer Smith's "The Game of Rat and Dragon" initially surprises as a choice with its space opera setting, but damned if more foundations aren't being laid: in order for ships to traverse the stars, humans merge minds to combat murderous dragons lurking in the depths of planoformed spacetime, using an electronic device called a pin-set. The story hook is that the pinlighters also partner telepathically with domestic cats, who see the dragons as rats and are much more effective than humans alone at annihilating them back. I like this tale but blanch that it's basically an extended love letter from a writer to his kitty, and wish Cadigan had included Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain," one of the greatest cyborg stories ever written, instead.
Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" served as the bare bones of the Gropenfuhrer vehicle Total Recall
, and I mean bare bones. Typical Hollywood move, Douglas Quaid was originally Quail--so much less manly except the character is supposed to be a dweeb. James Tiptree, Jr.'s "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" is unreadable, marred by the breezily hip, drunk-on-the-elixir-that-was-the-60s style so prevalent in New Wave sf around '72-'73 (see also Norman Spinrad, John Brunner, RA Lafferty). Having not read Tiptree I wanted to like the story since we now know "he" is a woman, Alice Sheldon, and many were pissed off back in the day by her "deception," which is cool, but had to skip this after a page or two. By pure contrast, Wm Gibson's "Burning Chrome" hasn't aged a day since '82 and is lit'rary but much more sparingly written. Also looking forward to re-reading his "Dogfight," written with Michael Swanwick, another story about cybercowboys and the women they neglect...
tom moody - hiphop guitar (dj 8kbps remix) - from linkoln at SCREENFULL
: [260 kb(!) .mp3
the original tune: [4.7 mb .mp3
thanks to linkoln for this--the lower resolution gives the song a much-needed pirate radio feel. i like what the loss of bits does to the different sound levels--the kick drum is boomier, the guitar seems about 30 feet back from the microphone, and the percussion after the first chorus really becomes an instrumental break, which is how i envisioned it but didn't realize as well in the original. [ /lower case]
Highly recommended: MEQ AND THE URS
, four songs performed entirely on the Sidstation synthesizer, using its unique wavetable features to write sequences (as opposed to overdubbing separately played parts, which is the lazy way out around here). The Sidstation is modern hardware incorporating the much-geek-fetishized SID (sound-producing) chip from '80s Commodore computers, and while this page has complained repeatedly about a lack of substantive musical content in the so-called "gameboy scene" hyped by Malcolm McLaren as the new whatever, I'm pleased to report that the MEQ songs are dark, soulful, trancy little numbers with clever compositional hooks and surprising transpositions, working within the cheesy video game limitations of the chip while reveling in its sensuous sawtooth sonorities. I finally got the .sid-song player working on my Sidstation so have been listening to some of the '80s game stuff but prefer what MEQ is doing, which is exploiting the capabilities of a smart present-day instrument built around a success story of the early era of home computing. The point is not to be stuck forever in the '80s but to pursue hybrids between the overlooked or still perfectly good old and the ingeniously programmed and collectively vetted new. "A Tale About Reactivation" and "Union Bob" especially shine.
More on this thread
. Jotsif explains it's two Sidstations (using wavetables) playing side by side in real time, sequenced from the Monomachine (another synth made by Elektron, the same Swedish company that created the Sid).
Next time someone says you don't support the troops because you're opposed to Bush's handling of Iraq, the reply is that Bushvoters don't support them either. Fundamentalist preachers aren't urging their congregations to enlist in the personnel-starved Army, Rush the Hillbilly Heroin Addict isn't exhorting his dittohead radio listeners to serve in Iraq, and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders (right wing bloggers) aren't doffing their khakis and polo shirts and quitting their jobs in the tech industries to help Uncle Sam. They all love to bay for war but don't think their kind should have to pay the ultimate price. The official word from Bush to America is still shop for the war effort. I'm sick of these people and frankly don't think anyone should listen to them. (excellent graphic from PST
; rant partly recycled
Gilliard and Kos)
"Hiphop Guitar (Final Version)" [4.7 MB .mp3
"Hiphop Guitar (Rhythm Only)" [mp3 removed]
This is more of that acid-y guitar used in my guitar solo video--I was able to save the settings and fool around with it more. The rhythm-only track is more soothing.
Update: Just want to say I'm taking this concept of home computers being the "new garage" (as some magazine called it) very seriously.
My cubicle yesterday, the last day of the ART@><*WORK
show (click image for slightly enlarged view). I like the contrast between my "dude holdin' it all in" style and Erika Somogyi & Evan Greenfield's rather more expanded field behind. Below: detail of my workspace. Bear in mind it was a performance piece--this is just scenery for me sitting there for 44 hours being the office dork I am in my other life. Thanks to those who came out to witness this--your interest and support is greatly appreciated!
A few more installation shots from the ART@><*WORK (cubicle) show, in addition to my earlier ones and the ones Chris Ashley took
. Top to bottom: Tony Luib's tribute to latex office supplies, including an abundance of what I call thumb condoms (used for flipping pages); an assortment of Michelle Rosenberg's "office supplies converted to bellows" (squeeze them and weird game calls inside squawk and chirp); Irene Moon's entomology thesis photos (excuse my lame reflection in the shot).
And lastly, a view out the window of 520 8th Avenue, Suite 1602.
Did these two drawings my last day of work
, which was today. More documentation photos of the cubicle and surroundings are coming. Like, wow.