By Mark Dery
Within the first in-depth exploration of fringe computing device tradition, Dery introduces readers to underground roboticists, cybersex fanatics, virtual-reality designers, cyberpunk novelists, and would-be cyborgs. In exploring this unusual new international, Drey shifts the focal point from the companies that layout the electronic machines which are altering our truth to the fringes of cyberculture, the place real-life cyberpunks are pursuing the intense promise of those technologies.
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Extra info for Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century
The slang says it all: The inhabitants of the sixties counterculture exemplified by Kesey and his Pranksters may have dreamed of enlighten- ment, but theirs was the "plug-and-play" nirvana of the "gadget-happy American" -cosmic consciousness on demand, attained not through long years of Siddharthalike questing but instantaneously, by chemical means, amidst the sensory assault of a high-tech happening. sters and their ilk madcap, sped-up And when the Prank- attempted to go back to the garden, they brought the "electric circus" of modern media culture with them, wiring the garden for sound.
Issue number five is typical: The soft-core pictorial "Bacchic Pleasures," a cyber-Dionysian fantasy acted out by nude models with hunks of circuit board lashed uncomfortably to their privates, makes a strange bedfellow for John Perry Barlow's "Virtual Nintendo," a sobering reflection lease on the use of electronic media on death-by keeping it at a in the Gulf War to "give war a new distance and transposing another, de- natured, reality between the electorate and barbecued bodies. "^^ 34 Mark Dery Mondo's brief history has been fraught with internal tensions between the magazine's hippie/New Age hneage and punk stance; between and Butt-Head anti-intellectuahsm and Beavis its the starstruck attentions it hbertarian/cyber- its lavishes on academic celebrities; the swooning, fin de siecle romanticism that flowers in between Queen Mu's prose ("Cancer of the penis must be the ultimate in karmic diseases-just too exquisitely perfect for an incarnation of Orpheus.
Is "^^ also a sense in which the systems them- 45 Escape Velocity Indebted though to ideas of recent vintage such as chaos theory or the it is Gaia hypothesis, the techno-transcendentahsm of RushkoflPs cyberians owes much to sixties counterculture-specifically, to the scientific human- ism mythologized by SF writers such as Arthur C. Clarke. Although End was was published it in 1953, Clarke's Electric Kool-Aid Acid books on Kesey's Test. shelf," Noting the novel among the "strange, prophetic where .