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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:18 am

im interested in how it has percolated into pop culture, digital media etc (which is surely the logical progression anyway?). those three are good examples ( i actually knew about them and yay have even read the dick novella). will try animatrix next though, thanks

i still don't get this quechua thing, is it connected to acrnm?
edit: i think the ss14 video is utterly boring, just stale cliches, cityscapes, ninjas, badass azn girls w guns, etc.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby rjbman » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:41 pm

Also: Deltron 3030, a cyberpunk concept rap album featuring Del the Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator, and DJ Kid Koala

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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby bels » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:59 pm

In my opinion the main contributions to popular culture from cyberpunk are:
The dirty future, "cyberspace" and endless capitalism
"cyberspace" IE the concept of an information based world, overlayed onto our real world. The "consensual hallucination" mentioned in Neuromancer. This idea was probably most useful in that it allowed visual entertainment mediums to represent information technology in a compelling way on screen. This concept has become more and more outdated as we've submerged ourselves into a consensual hallucination that has no spatial counterpart. The internet remains a flat space, more and more balkanised by apps and self contained websites that limit user "movement" for more reliable advert deployment. The multidimensional future that was hinted at with hypertext is outdated at worst and academic at best. The infinite plane of cyberspace has been shelved, and frankly no one is willing to portray it in on TV anymore. Cyberspace is not another place we go to, it is an overlay on our reality.

The dirty future is an idea that seems obvious but was apparently not clear to the majority of sci fi creators, that the future will be built on the past. In the same way that cities consist of layers of archeology, tudor buildings next to 2016 skyscrapers etc, the future city will also be like this. It is unlikely that we will get a fresh slate and develop a shining and beautiful new city (like in star trek) and will instead be stuck with the current city, just with a couple of new buildings. This ties into that other gibson idea, that the future is here, just not widely distributed yet. The future city will also have the future, but it will also (probably) have the past. This is now a staple of science fiction futures, dystopian or not. It also makes me think of some ideas I saw since Mark Fisher died (had never heard of him before but he seems up my street) about present day culture struggling to articulate new forms and instead plumbing the past in a kind of atemporal way (Mark Fisher was talking particularly about music though I recall that grayson perry reith lecture (sorry for middle brow art knowledge!) saying the same thing about art)

Endless capitalism maybe isn't something that cyberpunk invented, but I think it's notable that most cyberpunk media exists in a world where the controlling elements are not nation states but corporations. It has become a fetishised aspect to an extent (not as bad as girls doing backflips) but I guess it's notable. There's no hint of anyone escaping corporate life and no suggestion that anyone is capable of curtailing corporate expansion. (Consider the cyberpunk city: Covered in agressive advertising and running itself into the ground whilst the people at the top live in luxury)

The cyberpunk influence has also made itself known in the mainstream via computer games (most sci fi shooters of the last few years would include aspects i mentioned above) and the design of modern militaries. tumblrs like techspec.tumblr.com are good at highlighting the way that as cyberpunk entered the vocabulary of male coolness, it also has been harnessed by the military industrial complex as a way to appeal to those same males. See: us army digicamo which apparently doesn't function well as a camo but "looks cool"

Can we at least get a care-tags.org shoutout in the "with thanks to:" section of whatever it is you're compiling this for. We aren't in this for the exposure.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:40 pm

was there ever a good representation on screen? i can only think of the numbers scrolling down onscreen in the matrix, which actually worked well, particularly given that we always see them in the context of someone 'reading' them

edit: @ CMYK yeah i get that but bela was talking about representations by film makers etc.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby rjbman » Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:05 pm

Hackers the movie had a pretty Good bad representation of computers.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby adiabatic » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:24 pm

pirxthepilot wrote:was there ever a good representation on screen?


One of the later Matrix movies had Trinity using nmap to do some port scanning. The "In popular culture" section of the linked Wikipedia page has that and more.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby rublev » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:45 pm



you sent me to the wrong year
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby BobbyZamora » Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:01 am



not actually fashion but still relevant to this thread imo
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:00 am

if we're talking about this as a literary genre then wasn't the dirty future vision pioneered by blade runner and escape from new york (incidentally i would like to change my username to snakepliskin, somebody get on this pls). and in fact that had been bubbling under for some time, i mean the real star of 'star wars' was precisely this dirty degraded vision of cities and technology.

kind of interesting the way bela writes about the way the new exists next to the old. dunno if you know much about marc auge but he has a contrasting vision of 'supermodernity' consisting of what he labels 'non-lieux', which he defines as those places that are neither of the categories you set out. like.. airports, shopping malls, a 'tech campus' on the fringes of the city etc. it seems to me a much more relevant vision of existence tbh. my wholly uninformed vision of cyberpunk is that it creates a space of extreme stimulus, charged with adolescent eroticism and visual cues, when the reality is flat, affectless (the bela office stairwell).
(i was invited to give a ted talk a while back on the topic of the future, i wrote back saying the only premise i was prepared to work with was 'the future is boring', never heard from them again)

also when i think of endless capitalism i think of actual good writers like pynchon?? agree that gibson updates this with a particular set of reference points. but to revisit my reply to rjbman earlier, all the tropes we've mentioned seem more compelling in visual or semi-visual media
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby nope » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:56 am

Star Wars was definitely doing the degraded technology thing but it was quite explicitly all happening on "the frontier". The whole Westerns half of its reference points. As soon as they got anywhere near a city it was full gleaming modernity. Also the general idea seemed to be that all the tech strewn around these backwater places was pretty much obsolete, there was much newer, shinier stuff "elsewhere". Whereas the cyberpunk take is that the absolute heights of high-tech and epicentres of power etc would still be a bit shit and have lots of broken old stuff in them too.

Haven't watched Escape From New York in ages but think it's a similar set up to Star Wars in that sense no? There might be loads of futuristic stuff outside NY, but inside the walls it's all old broken things, they don't coexist. Blade Runner on the other hand definitely has that intermingled angle, but surely any definition of cyberpunk is going to contain Blade Runner as a prototypical example?
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:02 am

yes, definitely, but even the idea of degraded technology was groundbreaking at the time. also, there's still an intermingling, the death star isn't even finished yet and there's a giant parasite living in its bowels.

yeah trshcmpctr
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby thephfactor » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:53 pm

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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:25 pm

going back to bela's earlier point, how to portray cyber-activity is a real problem for film makers. for example crime, in whatever that stupid dragon tattoo film that david fincher made, the only way he could show the bank swindle at the end was via a very simple spatialisation, her getting on planes to switzerland, changing her hair/makeup etc.
perhaps old fashioned 'heat'-style bank jobs will just become a stylised convention we follow/accept. like seeing a duel or something now. when i see hollywood blockbusters it always seems the analogue is making a comeback, like in that superman film last year (?) there was a weird shift halfway through, at the start he's shown to be almost omnipotent flying to mars or whatever, then suddenly he's straining to pick up a car. the action shifts from a cosmic scale to straight rocky-style trading blows. clearly they realised there's nothing very visually interesting you can do when someone can do anything.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby Lorcan » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:33 pm

pirxthepilot wrote:
also when i think of endless capitalism i think of actual good writers like pynchon?? agree that gibson updates this with a particular set of reference points. but to revisit my reply to rjbman earlier, all the tropes we've mentioned seem more compelling in visual or semi-visual media


Gibson has mentioned Pynchon as an influence on his writing and cyberpunk before (though you wouldn't guess from his prose hah)

LM: Has Thomas Pynchon had an influence on your work?

William Gibson: Pynchon has been a favorite writer and a major influence all along. In many ways I see him as almost the start of a certain mutant pop culture imagery with esoteric historical and scientific information. Pynchon is a kind of mythic hero of mine, and I suspect that if you talk with a lot of recent SF writers you'll find they've all read Gravity's Rainbow (1973) several times and have been very much influenced by it. I was into Pynchon early on- I remember seeing a New York Times review of V. when it first came out- I was just a kid- and thinking, Boy, that sounds like some really weird shit!


Link: http://project.cyberpunk.ru/idb/gibson_interview.html
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby adiabatic » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:18 pm

pirxthepilot wrote:going back to bela's earlier point, how to portray cyber-activity is a real problem for film makers.


It's difficult, but I think we could do better. Theoretically we could have CGI-assisted explanations for computer shenanigans à la How the Heartbleed Bug Works just like House had CGI-assisted explanations for failing internal organs.

On the other hand, there aren't that many different kinds of attacks. One exploit per episode could exhaust most types of attacks seen in the wild in one season of TV. Plus, most shenanigans take advantage of multiple vulnerabilities…
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby bels » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:54 am

pirxthepilot wrote:
also when i think of endless capitalism i think of actual good writers like pynchon?? agree that gibson updates this with a particular set of reference points. but to revisit my reply to rjbman earlier, all the tropes we've mentioned seem more compelling in visual or semi-visual media


I agree, but unfortunately the offshoot of that is that lots of visual cyberpunk media is obsessed with aesthetic (ninja girls, rainy streets) whilst ignoring other aspects. for eg this crapass trailer:



or the previous acronym video.

That said, talking about aesthetic I read a gibson interview where he spoke about watching blade runner whilst writing neuromancer and getting depressed that they had beat him to it by months so I think blade runner and neuromancer are contemporaries rather than one pre empting the other.

If you want to look at pre empting then I'm sure I read that PKD thought that blade runner's visual design was exactly what he envisioned for his future city, so maybe pkd beat Gibson by more than months. (it comes through in his works but in a much less overt way, it's not the main idea that he's ever interested in. PKD was not interested in the future at all) Funnily enough, although it isn't explicit in most of his stories, PKDs vision of the future city was as prison, created by the adversary or the demiurge or similar:

Once, in a cheap science fiction novel, Fat had come across a perfect description of the Black Iron Prison, but set in the far future. So if you superimposed the past (ancient Rome) over the present (California in the twentieth century) and superimposed the far future world of The Android Cried Me a River over that, you got the Empire, as the supra- or trans-temporal constant. Everyone who had ever lived was literally surrounded by the iron walls of the prison; they were all inside it and none of them knew it.


(That's PKD, writing in VALIS, describing his alter ego (horselover fat) reading a book written by book world PKD, android cried me a river is flow, my tears the policeman said)

More ideas of superposition and the past existing at the same time as the future. Also a nice thinkpiece worthy concept of the internet operating as our black iron prison.

References available when you purchase the full report "Cyberpunk 101, How to convince people who went to private school that a trend from the 80s is relevant again"
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby Bobbin.Threadbare » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:17 am

MR ROBOT did hacking really well. Heist movies would often explain the plan and obstacles to the audience, often name checking some kind of super- secured technology or mechanism and how they would defeat it. In that setting the audience was educated with often useless terms and tools but the intention was laid bare and we'd watch it unfold.

Mr robot did the same wand didn't save the audience from any jargon. It was a breath of fresh air I think and although I still had no idea what tools were being used I understood enough of the mechanism. The show was narrated, so I know it's easier overall to portray but it was still great.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:41 am

huh, despite watching a whole series i have no memory of how they actually visualised any hacking/cyber stuff in mr robot. perhaps because so much else in it seemed corny/derivative and i kept falling asleep. there were occasional interesting stylistic flourishes i remember though. like early in the second series he's trying to detox from technology but in one visual sequence you see that the notebook in which he's been writing obsessively has become his new prosthesis, i think one dissolves into the other.


also on this whole question of antecedents: pynchon and dick are certainly relevant here, as you'd expect (as i keep saying, nothing comes out of nowhere blah blah). but neither of them are reducible in the same way as gibson; pynchon, although very familiar with cybernetics/systems theory is never 'just' about that: every paragraph pretty much has the ambiguity of poetry. even things that are very explicitly to do with technology/networks, like when oedipa maas looks down from the hollywood hills at the city which resembles a vast glowing circuit board (clear precursor of gibsons cityscapes im sure).
also.. the idea of a 'consensual hallucination' overlaid on 'reality' is, uh, basically plato's cave. i actually think contemporary stuff is more interesting when it makes this resonance more explicit, the wachowskis certainly seem to have read some baudrillard (really just a gloss on plato).

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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby BIGBEE » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:44 am

That's not memes
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:22 pm

ffs. happy now?
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby CMYK » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:28 pm

This is a Jarvis:

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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby thephfactor » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:27 pm

I liked the way technological interfaces were portrayed in the show Sherlock, but now that every aspect of the show irritates the shit out me I can't tell if it's good or bad anymore. (Anyway, Sherlock Holmes is probably a prototypical cyberpunk hero in general)
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby CheerUpBrokeBoy » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:29 pm

i feel like it's a little strange to try to pin down what exactly constitutes cyberpunk or its "cultural contributions" considering how we're more or less living in cyberpunk world, for better or for worse. it wouldn't surprise me if google merged with jp morgan and made a play for domination of the world's data in trump's america, so drawing these arbitrary distinctions between "real" and "fake" cyberpunk is pointless imo

even something as removed from "classic" cyberpunk as the show silicon valley could be viewed through a cyberpunk lens: a group of programmers living in relatively "low life" conditions (low life by palo alto standards, obv) as they try to defend their revolutionary tech idea from monolithic data corporations, ruthless VC firms and predatory competitors – it even as tv's most realistic depiction of hacking, when martin starr's character steals their competitor's admin password while on a tour of their office because their network admin left it on a post-it on his laptop. it even has the degraded tech element - pied piper's up against a multinational google stand-in while their homemade server farm almost burns their house down when they try to run a livestream
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby INNIT » Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:14 pm

imo, the most boring parts of cyberpunk are the genre elements: antiheroes, NEOTOKYO, ICE-BREAKING, etc. for example, case in neuromancer is a completely 2-D, flat as fuck character that undergoes virtually 0 development by the end of the novel outside of managing (?) strange/awkward "anger" outbursts. GITS manga improves on this, so does work by pat cadigan (a non-white-dude cyberpunk author from the 90s very rare)

cyberpunk's big contribution to SF moving forwards is its posthuman connotations (this also marks its confluence with pomo). rejecting stable identity via technology and landscapes rather than like, sprawling metaphor and rhetorical figures. ex: in neuromancer you have humans, augmented human "cyborgs," human constructs, omniscient AI, limited AI, etc. even case who is presumably the most biologically-human character in the text is composed of multiple organs from other humans, and basically hates "meat-space" and would prefer an entirely VR existence. the GITS manga does this even more potently imo, reducing humans to a brain and spinal cord and greatly problematizing both gender and the origins of gender (basically rejecting female/male essentialism outright).

movies like ex machina best represent the trajectory of cyberpunk's influence, despite containing none of the genre elements of early CP works
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby BobbyZamora » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:29 am

the most interesting thing about cyberpunk to me is actually the fact that it is real

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protests outside the trump tower

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begging for bitcoins in hong kong with a QR code

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parking lot patrol robot.

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beijing subway ads

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click farming

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tattoo artist's prosthetic arm

maybe not everything in your life is cyberpunk all the time, but the world you live in is undoubtedly cyberpunk now.

we are at the very least in the early stages of the sort of future that cyberpunk depicted. which is what I think separates cyberpunk from other sci-fi. the aesthetic and the attitude of it are both very heavily grounded in the actual reality we live in.

cyberpunk's core is very heavily founded in that idea. this is why I personally am not too interested in depictions of cyberpunk futures where everything is pristine and clean or everything is super flat and minimal all the time. I'm not too interested in portrayals of cyberpunk that stray from the norm of what the genre is, and what the aesthetic of cyberpunk is, because to me those things just miss the point.

Those rainy streets with neon lights are impactful because that is a future that actually exists, one that is very clearly and directly informed by the current world we live in. the "dirty future" isn't so much an artistic vision as it is just an obvious conclusion to make when thinking about what the future will actually be like. cyberpunk is a very organic thing to me, and to be honest crediting any author with it is silly because I think somebody would have drawn the conclusion no matter what, or it would have just happened on its own. it seems like the inevitable reality to me.

there's places in china right now that look more cyberpunk than anything William Gibson could have ever dreamed up
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby oucho » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:42 am

are there any cyber-luddites? As cyborgs I feel like we should find them and assimilate them
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby maj » Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:51 am

my heart only works because of a metal implant, so i guess i'm one step ahead of u other acronym dorks

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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby rublev » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:15 am

i heard a trailer for meet the cyborgs on radio 4 earlier today.

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Frank Swain can hear Wi-Fi.

Diagnosed with early deafness aged 25, Frank decided to turn his misfortune to his advantage by modifying his hearing aids to create a new sense. He documented the start of his journey three years ago on Radio 4 in 'Hack My Hearing'.

Since then, Frank has worked with sound artist Daniel Jones to detect and sonify Wi-Fi connections around him. He joins a community around the world who are extending their experience beyond human limitations.

In 'Meet the Cyborgs' Frank sets out to meet other people who are hacking their bodies. Neil Harbisson and Moon Rebus run The Cyborg Foundation in Barcelona, which welcomes like-minded body hackers from around the world. Their goal is not just to use or wear technology, but to re-engineer their bodies.

Frank meets the creators of Cyborg Nest, a company promising to make anyone a cyborg. They have recently launched their first product - The North Sense - a computer chip anchored to body piercings in the chest, which vibrates when it faces north.

"I'm a 51 year old bald guy, with no tattoos or piercings" says co-founder Scott Cohen. "This was never a place I thought I'd end up in. Everyone's talking about machine learning, but what we're trying to do is make our brains smarter."

Of course, the marriage of technology and biology is commonplace in medicine, from pacemakers to IUDs. But now 'citizen hackers' are modifying their medical equipment to add new functions. Dana Lewis from Seattle has created her own 'artificial pancreas' to help manage her Type 1 diabetes and released the code online.

But should limits be placed on self-experimentation? And will cybernetic implants eventually become as ubiquitous as smart phones?


the original episode from 3 years ago is here


when googling to find this, unfortunately came across a guardian article which made me feel a bit squeamish - Body-hackers: the people who turn themselves into cyborgs

Not content with their version 1.0 bodies, biohackers are installing USB drives in their fingertips, giving themselves night-vision eyedrops and growing third ears on their arms (that can go online). Welcome to the world of DIY cyborgs.


okay so...no
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby pirxthepilot » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:52 am

definitely agree that the most interesting conceptual aspect is the cyborg aspect (as in donna haraway etc.)
i met stelarc in 2008 (?) just after he had an ear grafted onto his arm. it looked surprisingly...normal
http://stelarc.org/?catID=20242

if we're gonna talk about dystopian visions/trump tower etc then surely the real originary point is fritz lang.
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Re: Explain cyberpunk to pirx so he can sell it to old peopl

Postby adiabatic » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:09 am

Ferromagnetic implants sound like fun toys until you need to get an MRI.
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