robotics

Both “cyberspace” and “robotics” are neologisms by influential Science-Fiction writers. Both neologisms in turn are based on neologisms, too. For “cyberspace” ↑William Gibson preyed on ↑Norbert Wiener‘s concept of “cybernetics”, for “robotics” ↑Isaac Asimov preyed on writer ↑Karel Capek‘s “robot,” when he wrote this sentence: “Compare Speedy with the type of robot they must have had back in 2005. But then, advances in robotics these days were tremendous.” (Asimov 1995b [1942]: 257)  Why I am writing about this here, is the fact that both neologisms and their contexts, the stories within which they appeared, somehow developed into self-fulfilling prophecies, shaping … Continue reading

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pulp surrealism

Pulp Surrealism is about the secret life of mass culture, specifically its surrealistic undercurrents. It establishes a low-brow, anti-establishment genealogy of the Parisian dada and surrealist movements in the popular realms of crime fiction and sensationalist journalism. Mass culture was not generally inspirational to the surrealists; the vast amount of it was rejected by them as commercialized and mind-numbing. As Aragon stated in Traité du style, “not any old smut is the equivalent of surrealist poetry.” However, the surrealists were connoisseurs of mass culture and they found great sympathies between subterranean impulses in mass culture and their own intellectual and … Continue reading

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wag the dog

In a 1994 television interview with ↑Alexander Kluge, ↑Niklas Luhmann warned: “Vorsicht vor zu raschem Verstehen!” [Attention if something is understood too quickly.] 70 years earlier, Hercule Poirot said: “If a thing is clear as daylight—eh bien, mistrust it! Someone has made it so.”—from Agatha Christie’s “The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim” (1924). … Continue reading

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spook country

  It seems that I was right, ↵when I suspected that ↑William Gibson succesfully had fused blogging with novel writing, and that in his blog we were reading bits and pieces of an upcoming novel of his. At the end of this year’s January he turned corrected proofs in to the publisher, the covers of the ↑US and ↑UK editions are ready, and “Spook Country” will soon hit the shelves. … Continue reading

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neologic spasm

  ↑William Gibson‘s comment on academia’s appropriation of the word “cyberspace”:  Just a chance operator in the gasoline crack of history …    Assembled word cyberspace from small and readily available components of language. Neologic spasm: the primal act of pop poetics. Preceded any concept whatever. Slick and hollow—awaiting received meaning    All I did: folded words as taught. Now other words accrete in the interstices.    “Gentlemen, that is not now nor will it ever be my concern …”    Not what i do.    I work the angle of transit. Vectors of neon plaza, licensed consumers, acts primal … Continue reading

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zeiss ikon eyes

A discussion-thread at ↑williamgibsonboard, broaching the issue of the ↑actual looks of synthetical eyes within ↑Gibson‘s ↑sprawl trilogy inspired the man himself to write a blog-entry on ↑Molly’s mirrorshades and Zeiss-Ikon eyes. The entry is particularly interesting in respect to precision of description and “the hyperspecificity of the cyberpunk style”. Then Gibson finally comes to the “Zeiss-Ikon eyes”: With the “Zeiss-Ikon eyes”, from “Burning Chrome” [↵Gibson 1987 [1982]], which some readers evidently invision as (gack) German camera lenses, there was a “really”. I assumed they were vat-grown, genetically optically perfect organs, perhaps further tweaked to maximize them as, in effect, … Continue reading

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beyond cyberpunk

a do-it-yourself guide to the future    Brooks Landon’s 1993 article ↑Hypertext and science fiction, a review of Branwyn, Sugarman, et al.’s 1991 HyperCard classic ↑“Beyond Cyberpunk! A Do-It-Yourself Guide to the Future” [ah yes, it’s available on the Web meanwhile] starts with a gorgeous rant I just have to quote almost in full:  Better add “hypertext” either to the list of words you’ve already heard waaaay too many times or to the list you know you’ll be hearing waaaay too many times in years to come. You know the list; top-heavy with “de-” and “post-” prefixes, it has recently … Continue reading

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