free pkd downloads

Not exactly new news, but the to my eye yet meager download numbers make spreading it compulsory: Project Gutenberg stores ↑eleven short stories by Philip K. Dick in multiple formats for free and legal download. Additionally ↑open culture links to free audio book versions [.mp3] of four of these stories, and to the 1994 TV-documentary ‘↑Philip K Dick: A Day in the Afterlife‘—go and watch … it features, among others, Terry Gilliam and Elvis Costello. via ↑entry at ↑kueperpunk—tnx! … Continue reading

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riding rockets

Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once. Thus wrote ↑Tom Vogel at IMDb on the novel ‘↑The Right Stuff‘ (Wolfe 1979) and the ↑movie of the same name (Kaufman 1983). It couldn’t be summed up better, and I … Continue reading

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barefoot into cyberspace

↓Barefoot into Cyberspace is an inside account of radical hacker culture and the forces that shape it, told in the year WikiLeaks took subversive geek politics into the mainstream. Including some of the earliest on-record material with Julian Assange you are likely to read, Barefoot Into Cyberspace is the ultimate guided tour of the hopes and ideals that are increasingly shaping world events.     Beginning at the Chaos Communications Congress of December 2009, where WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg first presented their world-changing plans to a select audience of the planet’s most skilful and motivated hackers, Barefoot Into … Continue reading

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a murder of quality

The cold was crisp and sharp like flint. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     For a moment Fielding thought of Hecht pasturing in that thick body: it was a scene redolent of Lautrec. Yes, that was it! (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     It was from us they learnt the secret of life: that we grow old without growing wise. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     I used to think it was clever to confuse comedy with tragedy. Now I wish I could distinguish them. (Le Carré 1962: chpt. 1)     Being alone was like being … Continue reading

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cold war cyberpunk

In my ↵post on John le Carré I somehow tried to vindicate my erupted interest in cold war spy fiction and my subsequent digesting of according novels and movies. Now ↑Bryan Alexander sent me excerpts from a ↑recent interview with ↑William Gibson, which force more mosaic tiles to fall in place: INTERVIEWER: Was [Philip K.] Dick important to you?     GIBSON: I was never much of a Dick fan. He wrote an awful lot of novels, and I don’t think his output was very even. I loved The Man in the High Castle, which was the first really beautifully … Continue reading

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cybernetic revolutionaries

In ↑Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the history of two intersecting utopian visions, one political and one technological. The first was Chile’s experiment with peaceful socialist change under Salvador Allende; the second was the simultaneous attempt to build a computer system that would manage Chile’s economy. Neither vision was fully realized—Allende’s government ended with a violent military coup; the system, known as Project Cybersyn, was never completely implemented—but they hold lessons for today about the relationship between technology and politics.     Drawing on extensive archival material and interviews, Medina examines the cybernetic system envisioned by the Chilean government—which was … Continue reading

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the machine stops

  ‘↓The Machine Stops‘ is a science fiction short story or novella by ↑E. M. Forster, first published in 1909. Here is the story’s setting as ↑Wikipedia’s plot summary has it: The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted but unpopular and rarely necessary. Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine called the … Continue reading

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call for the dead

[…] academic excursions into the mystery of human behaviour, disciplined by the practical application of his own deductions. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)     This part of him was bloodless and inhuman—Smiley in this role was the international mercenary of his trade, amoral and without motive beyond that of personal gratification. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)     By the strength of his intellect, he forced himself to observe humanity with clinical objectivity, and because he was neither immortal nor infallible he hated and feared the falseness of life. (Le Carré 1961: chpt. 1)     For four years … Continue reading

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cyberanthropology reviews

Now that some reviews of my book ‘↑Cyberanthropology‘ have seen the light of day, it makes sense to begin to collect them [naturally they’re all in German]:     The Titel-Magazin was first with ↑Ein Buch mit System! (27 September 2011). As short as enthusiastic—and it is very short.     Next came Karl-Heinz Kohl’s review in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: ↑Völkerkunde war gestern, Cyberanthropology ist heute (16 November 2011). Unfortunately behind a paywall on the FAZ-server, but buecher.de has the ↑full text of the review online (and perlentaucher.de posted a ↑short notice).     On 30 November 2011 SWR2 … Continue reading

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graeber’s debt

↑David Graeber‘s book ‘↑Debt: The First 5,000 years‘ (2011) just arrived on my desk. Unfortunately at the moment I don’t have the time to sit down and read it in peace. Nevertheless I skimmed through it, read a bit here and there, and then couldn’t help but beginning to read it from the front cover on.     It won’t be long and Graeber will owe me hours :-)     There are books with which I do maintain a love-hate relationship. While reading those I constantly do have the impression that there really is something more than worthwhile, original, … Continue reading

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