smart bulletts

Detail of a screencap from 'Runaway' (Crichton 1984), showing a cut-open smart bullett
The picture shows a cut-open smart bullett which homes in on a person’s individual unique heat pattern or signature. The screencap is from Runaway,’ a 1984 cyberpunk flic directed by Michael Crichton, starring Tom Selleck and Kirstie Alley.
Sandia Labs' self-guided bullet prototype
And this is a promotional picture of Sandia National Laboratories’ self-guided bullet prototype from a 30 January 2012 press release. It’s not heat seeking, but a kind of miniature laser-guided rocket fired from small-caliber, smooth-bore firearms. Mr. Roboto over at cyberpunkreview immediately remembered the bullett from the 1984 movie, when he saw Sandia’s prototype. Additionally he had the fine idea that the MPAA now should sue Sandia Labs for copyright infringement. To complete the surreal cyberpunkish air of the story, here is a snippet from the press release:
    ‘Potential customers for the bullet include the military, law enforcement and recreational shooters.’
    Well, I guess Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) of The Fifth Element (Besson 1997) fame although would try to sell weapons firing smart bulletts to everyone. Here is Zorg demonstrating the according capability of his product, the ZF-1:
Zorg (Gary Oldman) demonstrating the smart-bullett capability of the ZF-1 in 'The Fifth Element' (Besson 1997)

BESSON, LUC. 1997. The fifth element [motion picture]. Paris: Gaumont.
CRICHTON, JOHN MICHAEL. 1984. Runaway [motion picture]. Culver City: TriStar Pictures.
via entry at cyberpunkreview

cyberpunk shanghai

'House on Huashan Lu, North View, 2005' by Greg Girard
Canadian photographer Greg Girard has a nice collection called Phantom Shanghai online. Girard’s pictures perfectly catch the cyberpunk ambience and æsthetics and remind me very much of the photographies my pal 2R took in China years ago: cyberpunk china and more cyberpunk china.
    See also Mike Doyle’s abandoned homes.

via entry at kueperpunk

hartmann the anarchist

The destroyed St. Pauls Cathedral, London in 'Hartmann the Anarchist' (Fawcett 1893)
Captain Nemo was a technical anarcho-terrorist.’ wrote Bruce Sterling (1991: 39) about the main protagonist of Jules Verne‘s 20,000 leagues under the sea (1870). The same can be said about the character Robur appearing in Verne’s Robur the Conqueror (1886) and its sequel Master of the World (1904). By way of his submarine ‘Nautilus’ Captain Nemo rules the oceans. Robur rules everything above through his vessels, the ‘Albatross’ and the ‘Terror.’ Just recently I learned that around the same time yet another literary ‘technical anarcho-terrorist’ appeared: Hartmann the Anarchist by Edward Douglas Fawcett (1893):

A sensational tale of the evil Mastermind of Nihilism destroying London and everything else he could get his grimy hands on. A typical ‘nineties tale of urban anxiety and the feeling of politics out of hand. The author (a Socialist—of a sort) gets to fly on the ATTILA, Hartmann’s aerial destroyer made of a specially hardened metal. Hartmann—a member of the professional classes gone bad because of the influence of a malign political theorist, aims to destroy the fabric of a rotten exploitative society stirs up the mobs beneath and watches from above.

The illustrations by Fred T. Jane very much convey the Jules-Verne-touch as you can see especially below. The illustration above is from the first page of the story’s serialization in The English Illustrated Magazine. With Guy Fawkes all around these days I found it apt.
The 'Attila,' the airship of 'Hartmann the Anarchist' (Fawcett 1893)

FAWCETT, EDWARD DOUGLAS. 1893. Hartmann, the anarchist; or, The doom of the great city. London: E. Arnold. First published in The English Illustrated Magazine 1892-1893.
STERLING, BRUCE. 1991. Cyberpunk in the nineties. Interzone 48 [June 1991]: 39-41.
VERNE, JULES GABRIEL. 1870. Vingt mille lieues sous les mers. Paris: Pierre-Jules Hetzel.
VERNE, JULES GABRIEL. 1886. Robur-le-Conquérant. Paris: Pierre-Jules Hetzel.
VERNE, JULES GABRIEL. 1904. Maître du monde. Paris: Pierre-Jules Hetzel.

who shot whom?

zeph’s pop culture quiz #14
Who shot whom?
Who shot whom in the scene depicted above? If you recognize the movie from which the screenshot was taken, and if you have watched that movie carefully, you’ll have no problems in answering the question ;-)
    Just leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]


angelo dundee

Superman, Muhammad Ali, and Angelo Dundee
Last Wednesday, 01 February 2012, Angelo Dundee died age 90. He was the famous trainer of world’s greatest, Muhammad Ali, who just recently turned 70.
    When I heard the news of Dundee’s passing away, immediately pictures from a comic book filled my mind. As a kid I for the first time heard of Dundee via the album ‘Superman vs. Muhammad Ali’ (O’Neill & Adams 1978). The above is a part of page 32.

O’NEILL, DENNIS AND NEAL ADAMS. 1978. ‘Superman vs. Muhammad Ali’ [comic book]. New York: DC Comics.

cyberpunk short films

Under the menu cyberpunkmotion pictures I added the page short films. Very much work in progress as the whole collection, but with direct links. More entries will follow as soon as possible. Above that I added and corrected quite something in all the other cyberpunkish artefacts listings. Nothing is perfect yet, though.


churchill on cyberpunk

Winston Churchill
Paul Kent Alkon, professor emeritus of English and American literature, author of ‘Origins of futuristic fiction’ (1987), and ‘Science fiction before 1900’ (1994), in 1997 has published a wonderful article on Winston Churchill‘s relation to the writing and thought of H. G. Wells, science fiction and dystopia in general. More recently Alkon covered the issue even more in-depth in his chapter ‘Imagining science: Churchill and science fiction’ (2006: 155-176). What struck Bruce Sterling the most is Churchill’s premonition of drone warfare:

Have we reached the end? Has Science turned its last page on them? May there not be methods of using explosive energy incomparably more intense than anything heretofore discovered? Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings—nay to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke? Could not explosives even of the existing type be guided automatically in flying machines by wireless or other rays, without a human pilot, in ceaseless procession on a hostile city, arsenal, camp, or dockyard? (8-9). (Churchill 1929: 221-222 cited in Alkon 1997: 19)

ALKON, PAUL KENT. 1987. Origins of futuristic fiction. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
ALKON, PAUL KENT. 1994. Science fiction before 1900: Imagination discovers technology. Boston, New York: Twayne.
ALKON, PAUL KENT. 1997. “Shall we all commit suicide?” Winston Churchill and the scientific imagination. Finest Hour 94: 18-23.
ALKON, PAUL KENT. 2006. Winston Churchill’s imagination. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press.
CHURCHILL, Sir WINSTON. 1929. The world crisis: The aftermath 1918-1928. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
initially via entry at Bruce Sterling’s beyond the beyond