Lars: Hi, this is channel that will function as the chat for the roundtable … meaning, if you have questions for the panel, please post them here. Discussions, comments etc. can be placed here and we can continue the conversation after the live event.
Pawel: @Hugh, what’s in that mug?
Paul: This is fun, I can pretend Hugh is gazing intently just at me. I might practice my elevator pitches…
Steven: I’m disappointed that I cannot see all the panelists at once, in the manner of Hollywood Squares
Pawel: It’s been awesome so far! Thank you, Lars!
Ana: Graham Murphy talking about how cyberpunk has so many different variations, how it’s not a homogenous thing but a fragmented one…reminds me of the content of cyberpunk itself, which resists homogeneity, which is, as someone in a talk said yesterday, the literature of the fragment
Evan: “sharpen your pencils” LOL, Lars
Lars: wipe your keyboads?
Esko: Important in COVID-19 times, surely.
Evan: polishes VR helmet
Eero: “blow the dust off your datajack”
Evan: OK @Graham — Cyberpunk isn’t “one thing,” but there ARE accepted meta-texts that have played a huge role in “organizing” the canon — not only Neuromancer and Mirrorshades, but also CP2020 which literally has a bibliography and filmography of the canon.
What canonized “cyberpunk” and how do we get back to a more capacious idea of a cyberpunk canon with multiple strands?
Josh: Some of the short fiction pieces in Davies’ Economic Science Fictions blur the line between cyberpunk and realism in the way Sherryl is describing, especially Nora O Murchu’s “The New Black”
Steven: It is BECAUSE we are in an Ayn Rand world that Marxism is valid, since it is the best analysis of that
Pawel: This is great about the DK cassette! I didn’t know that!
Paul: Let’s lynch the landline
Carmen: Cassettes we used to buy. Ok, I’m officially middle-aged.
Josh: consumer subversion can threaten a particular business model, but not the structure of capital
Pawel: Hugh, this was brilliant!
Ana: Yes it was!
Paul: I came for the cyberpunk, but I’m staying for the emphasis on the infrastructural!
Steven: I’m reminded of how Eyal Weizman has written about how the Israeli army makes use of Deleuze and Guattari. I think there may be parallels in how US police depts at least implicitly use cyberpunk as a model for how to do counter-insurgency
Josh: Great comments Hugh. One of the things I’ve struggled with in teaching stories about digitization (“Pretty Boy Crossover”, Black Mirror‘s “San Junipero”, even something like the Pokemon-spouses of Pohl’s “Day Million”) is trying to turn student engagement away from the issue of “digitized immortality” towards those issues of infrastructure (who owns the server housing your digital soul?).
Julia: “First the streets, then the gadgets”-manifesto
Josh: seize the clouds of computation
Re: sources of implicit conservatism in cannonical cyberpunk, Stina’s argument about the impact of noir costuming in Blade Runner and the texts it has influenced in her RCCC entry
Esko: Oh for f*ck’s sake I’d forgotten about Ready Player Two…
Pawel: So, not sure if Lars is fishing for questions, but if so, how about this: could the panelists mention 1-2 cyberpunk titles in any medium that they see escaping the narrow definitions and limitations as they’ve been outlined? Meaning, more political, non-white, street-taking, finance-suspicious cyberpunk texts?
PS. Beyond the obvious like Sleep Dealer or Tiger Flu.
Paul: Ugh, really?
Larisa: What about implementation of cyberpunk methods for fighting real battles – in Seattle recently agains police violence – could anyone comment if they observed any influence?
Lars: We actually talked about a chapter for the RCCC with Cory Doctorow writing about Hong Kong and how it is cyberpunk as a resistance movement. But the time frame did not work out. No idea if the movements themselves took up cyberpunk, but Anon comes to mind … there is a chapter by Colin Milburn in the RCCC that deals with this.
Stina: Graham, It was a good speech!
Larisa: A question on evolution of trends from the initial cyberpunk movement – any thoughts on the engagement with the levels of language and interrrelation of language and reality?
Josh: Another actual question: Doesn’t Sturgeon’s 10% maxim apply just as much within texts as it does among them? Isn’t it less that 10% are wholly good and 90% are wholly trash, but rather that even the trash contains interesting critical moments that escape forclosure or forclosure, even if that good stuff is only 10% of the content? As Sherryl noted, in hindsight critics and readers misidentified the “good stuff.”
So, the opposite of Pawel’s question: What are some examples of “90% trash” sci-fiberpunk that nevertheless contain very useful images or moments that revealed something valuable for you about this moment?
Pawel: Ryman’s Air
Stina: Yes to Midnight Robber as Caribbean cyberpunk. I also read Nisi Shawl’s “Deep End” as cyberpunk, although I don’t know if it’s as often taught that way
Steven: Agree with Graham’s praise of Tim Maughan’s Infinite Detail
Josh: I sometimes read Parable of the Sower as cyberpunk
Esko: Maughan’s Infinite Detail is excellent, I gave a talk on it last summer kinda claiming that it brings the “street” back to cyberpunk.
Paul: Tim’s a good friend. Worth noting he pivoted to journalism after getting into writing fiction seriously; cyberpunk writer as victim of cyberpunk economics.
Josh: the movie In Time is an example of useful trash for me
Pawel: Good example, Josh!
Jaak: “In Time” is the most straightforward SF materialization of the metaphor “time is money”
Steven: Gem out of garbage: the horrible novel The Unincorporated Man by the Kollin brothers is a horrible sub-Heinlein glorification of Milton Friedman style capitalism, but its satirical premise is interesting (you can buy stock in people, and get dividends based on their earnings – this is held by the book to be horrible and oppressive, but they are unable to explain why it is any different than all the hypercapitalist stuff they glorify)
Unfriended is great, I have taught it many times
Lawrax: Unfriended was an update of the Grand Guignol play, Au Téléphone.
mlex: thinking of film, what about the cyberpunk vision in the augmented reality implants in the series
Esko: Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge also straddles that promise/reality of the internet thing Graham brings up.
Steven: Yes, Raphael Carter’s The Fortunate Fall is amazing
Josh: Fortunate Fall is fantastic!
Pawel Frelik: Snow Crash had bits about language.
Josh: Fortunate Fall is a straight upgrade of Snow Crash. Lots of the same elements, but wierder, tighter, less hyper-masculine, less self-satisfied.
Steven: I wrote about Feed, it’s amazing and it deals with language, as Graham says
Stina: Fortunate Fall is a straight upgrade of Snow Crash. Lots of the same elements, but tighter, less hyper-masculine, less self-satisfied.
Kristy: Adam Rapp is the author for Decelerate Blue with Mike Cavallaro as the Illustrator. It’s great.
Larisa: Thanks for adding to the answers on this language-trend.
Josh: While mobile tech helps organize protests, and helps document abuse, it also provides authorities with ways to track dissent. Metadata is forever. I’ve seen a lot of debates about whether you should leave your phone at home or not.
Graham: Yes. I was trying to fill the silence.
Steven: Lauren Beukes’ Moxyland has great stuff about mobile phones – the cops can zap you and render you unconscious by accessing your phone, the phones are used for money and door keys, etc
mlex: Lars, about the use of specific language in social media, there was a great study by Todd Mostak about that, studying twitter in extremist language by neighborhoods…
Josh: Fortunate Fall is a great text for thinking about that kind of algorithmic moderation of speech
mlex: by the way, sort of cyberpunk, Todd Mostak kept going with his high-tech use of GPUs for calculation and presentation and founded OmniSci
Carmen: What a fantastic round table, thank you so much!!!
Esko: Here here, a fascinating discussion, one for the ages.
Josh: I have been struck by the structural parallels between student plagiarists trying to avoid software like SafeAssign and the tactics of the Big Igloo bois and other extremists trying to escape social media moderation.
Carmen: LOL because I cannot both LOL and cry in despair
mlex: no kidding: “early cyberpunks drank the kool aid of neoliberal transreality”
Aiden: Nice work everyone, great discussion – thank you!
David: this was great, thanks everyone!
Katherine: Thanks, panelists!
John: thank you all, this was great!
Beata: Thank you all – great conversation!
Adam: Thanks, that was fantastic
Jiré: Very interesting conversation, thank you!
Jaak: Thank You for a great discussion!
Lars: Thanks to all the participants in the panel … there is no way for me to applaud or anything there. It felt a bit rushed to say bye. But Anna, Graham, Hugh, and Sherryl … thanks so much!!!!
Graham: And thanks to you for organizing this whole thing!!!!