Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century by Mark Dery

By Mark Dery

Within the first in-depth exploration of fringe machine tradition, Dery introduces readers to underground roboticists, cybersex fanatics, virtual-reality designers, cyberpunk novelists, and would-be cyborgs. In exploring this unusual new global, Drey shifts the point of interest 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 brilliant promise of those technologies.

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H. '"*'* Mondo futurism and the other hand, he implies, social consciousness let hype, Sirius counters that Sobchack takes Mondo's "clearly double-edged, deliberately provocative, On re- "New Edge" quired to resolve the tension betw^een Mondo's self-styled its is as antithetical as they sixties-style seem. Sirius refers Sobchack to the manifestos of the Diggers, a Haight-Ashbury-based anarchist collective that harmonized the counterculture's Arcadian longings with the technetronic age. According to Sirius, the Diggers preached the Arthur C.

Frontier," space. " Childhood's End and, after it, 2001 presage the cyberdelic posthuman- ism that crops up in Cyberia, where the magic mushroom-gobbling philoso- pher Terence McKenna chrysalis of matter rises into a . . asserts that evolution and then look back on a higher dimension. More is poised to break free of "the cast-off mode of being as it "^^ profoundly, the cyberians' visions of escape velocity derive from the teleologies of two thinkers whose ideas percolated into counterculture: Marshall sixties McLuhan and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Mu Sirius's and Nietzschean "superbrights" are synonymous with RushkofPs cyberians, personified by the cyberpunk surfers in "Probability Pipeline," an SF story by Rudy Rucker and Marc Laidlaw. Rucker and Laidlaw's characters "are riding the wave of chaos purely for pleasure," writes Rushkoff. To them, the truth of Cyberia is a sea of waves-chaotic, maybe, but a playground more than anything else. The surfer's conclu- sions about chaos are absolutely cyberian: sport, pleasure, and Mark Dery 32 adventure are the only logical responses to a fractal universe ...

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