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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: acy01011.txt

Cyberpunk File, interesting reading

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|         THE UNOFFICIAL FAQ FOR alt.cyberpunk  (part 1/2)             |
:::::updated:  1Jan93
|      a.  Introduction/disclaimer/editors notes
|      b.  Abbreviations and TLAs
|      1.  What is Cyberpunk?  (definitions and interpretations from alt.cp)
|      2.  Cyberpunk melding with other subcultures
|      3.  Required Reading
|      4.  What is CyberPunk music?
|      5.  CyberPunk Authors on the Net (Gibson's Email Address...Not)
|      6.  More info on-line
|      7.  Agrippa:  A Book of the Dead
|      8.  Sterling's latest stuff
|      9.  Gibson's next book
|     10.  Gibson goes to the movies!  Neuromancer?? Alien^3?? More??
|  11-16.  Alt.CP.FAQ (2/2): Cyberpunk Resource Lists
|  a.  Introduction and disclaimer
        First off, welcome to the unofficial alt.cyberpunk FAQ (Frequently
Asked Questions guide).  This file should give you some broad idea of what
alt.cyberpunk is about, and hopefully some idea of what CyberPunk is about.
        By no means am I authorized to write such a file.  I am just one avid
fan of cyberpunk and the related subculture.  I am not an author, publisher, or
anything like that, so please take that into consideration when reading this
         [alt.cp.faq originator]

Comments from current editor:
        - Tim Oerting

Latest News Flash:
                 ********** FTP Site ************
        I have gotten an ftp site setup and although I only have under a
Meg available for this.. it will make it helpful for those who want the
latest FAQ and other stuffs.  There is a README file which you should get
first, as it explains what each of the files are.

                 Most importantly where is it?
        Dir:    /public/alt.cyberpunk

As usual, I am still trying to add stuff to the FAQ so if you run accross
anything good to add just send it on my way and I'll try to find a good spot
for it!

I would like to acknowledge those who have given assistance in the form of
comments, additions, or whose postings I have gleaned info from for this
edition as well as those who have given stuffs for the ftp site.
Keep the info coming!
Thanks to you all...

|  b.  Abbreviations and TLAs
(included for the sake of completion, I guess...)
:)      Smiley - usually denotes sarcasm or joking
A^3	Aliens 3
bb      bOING bOING
BB            "
BC	Burning Chrome (Gibson's collection of short stories)
BTW     By the way
BS      Bruce Sterling [or the old standard......:)]
CP      Cyberpunk
CZ	Count Zero (a Gibson novel)
DE	The Difference Engine Gibson & Sterlin novel)
FAQ     Frequently Asked Questions
FLA     FrontLine Assembly (industrial musical group)
IMHO    In my [humble / honest ] opinion
IMnsHO  In my not so [humble / honest] opion
MLO	Mona Lisa Overdrive (a Gibson novel)
MONDO   Mondo 2000 Magazine
M2000          "
M2             "
M2K            "
OAV     Original Animation Video
SRL     Survival Research Labs
T2      Terminator 2
TLA     Three-Letter Acronym
VR      Virtual Reality
WG      William Gibson
|  1.  What is Cyberpunk?
        Inevitably after reading alt.cp for awhile, you will encounter posts
where the author argues with some other party about a definition of cyberpunk.
Cyberpunk is a new movement, a new subculture, thus it has no set definition.
To get some idea of "just what is cyberpunk?"  we'll examine what the leaders
of this movement and the contributors to alt.cyberpunk would give as their
                -a page out of Mondo 2000
[lifted from FAD Magazine, #26, Spring 1992, pages 40-41 w/o permission]
[WG and BS interviewed by Marjan]
Bruce Sterling:  Bruce Bepkie, who wrote a short story called 'CYBERPUNK'
[coined the term]; he's a moderately known science fiction writer.  But the use
of Cyberpunk as a literary critical term started by a guy called Gardner
Dozois, the editor is Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction magazine now.  He's also a
well-known critic.  He wrote an article in the Washington Post about Cyberpunk
which mentioned my name and GIBSON, JOHN SHIRLEY, RUDY RUCKER, some of our
crowd;- that stuck.  This was around 1983 or so.
William Gibson:  He was aiming to do that as early as 1981, cuz that's when I
met you.
BS:  We've had lots of names.  Ever since we started people have been giving us
one kind of title or another.  I had a list of like a dozen once; Radical Hard
SF, Techno Punk, 80's Wave, Outlaw Technologists...
WG:  They've used them all up, so now people in England are starting to come up
with new names.  They have like Techno Goths, Techno Goth fiction.
FAD [magazine]:  How would you define Cyberpunk?
BS:  I always thought it was the realm where the computer Hacker and the Rocker
overlap.  High Tech having its impact on Bohemia.
FAD:  Sort of like sex, drugs and Rock and Roll with computers?
BS:  More or less.  Bohemia is an old thing, and Science Fiction is an old
thing, and every once in awhile they just overlap.  They're both products of
industrial society, it's a very natural thing it's not very far-fetched it's
very functional.  It's hard to say whether we invented these people or these
people invented us.  You want to look at what Cyberpunk has become, read 'MONDO
2000'.  It's just as demented and just as strange.  But it's very much a
happening scene, it actually gives people something they really need.
FAD:  [to Gibson] And how would you define it?
WG:  (Long pause)  I can't.  (Laughs)  Somebody once asked Jimmy Page what he
thought of Heavy Metal, and he said, I didn't call it that when I invented it.
FAD:  What did you call it?
WG:  I didn't call it anything.
[Note:  I *highly* recommend this article if you can find a copy of the
magazine.  It's called FAD and is a SF-based style-rag (like Details was before
it went glossy).  FAD, Po Box 420-656, San Francisco, CA 94142.  $3.95 / issue]


[Cyberpunk as seen through the "snake-eyes" of Tom Maddox comes from an abridged
[version of his essay:  "After the Deluge:  Cyberpunk in the '80s and '90s"

        (The essay was printed in the volume _Thinking Robots, an Aware
Internet, and Cyberpunk Librarians_, edited by R. Bruce Miller and Milton T.
Wolf, distributed at the Library and Information Technology Association meeting
in San Francisco, during the 1992 American Library Association Conference.)

        In the mid-'80s cyberpunk emerged as a new way of doing science
fiction in both literature and film.  The primary book was William Gibson's
_Neuromancer_; the most important film, _Blade Runner_.  Both featured a hard-
boiled style, were intensely sensuous in their rendering of detail, and engaged
technology in a manner unusual in science fiction:  neither technophiliac (like
so much of "Golden Age" sf) nor technophobic (like the sf "New Wave"), cyberpunk
did not so much embrace technology as go along for the ride.

        However, this was just the beginning:  during the '80s cyberpunk
_spawned_, and in a very contemporary mode.  It was cloned; it underwent
mutations; it was the subject of various experiments in recombining its
semiotic DNA.  If you were hip in the '80s, you at least heard about cyberpunk,
and if in addition you were even marginally literate, you knew about Gibson.

        [. . .]

[In the 80s] The boundaries between entertainment and politics, or between
the simulated and the real, first became more permeable and then--at least
according to some theorists of these events--collapsed entirely.  Whether we
were ready or not, the postmodern age was upon us.

        [. . .]

        Anyone who was watching the field carefully had already noticed stories
such as "Johnny Mnemonic" and "Burning Chrome," and some of us thought that
Gibson was writing the most exciting new work in the field, but no one--least of
all Gibson himself--was ready for what happened next.  _Neuromancer_ won the
Hugo, the Nebula, the Philip K. Dick Award, Australia's Ditmar; it contributed
a central concept to the emerging computer culture ("cyberspace"); it defined
an emerging literary style, cyberpunk; and it made that new literary style
famous, and [. . .] even hip.

[. . .] Along with _Neuromancer_, _Blade Runner_ together set the boundary
conditions for emerging cyberpunk:  a hard-boiled combination of high tech and
low life.  As the famous Gibson phrase puts it, "The street has its own uses for
technology."  So compelling were these two narratives that many people then and
now refuse to regard as cyberpunk anything stylistically and thematically
different from them.

        Meanwhile, down in Texas a writer named Bruce Sterling had been
publishing a fanzine (a rigorously postmodern medium) called _Cheap Truth_;
all articles were written under pseudonyms, and taken together, they amounted
to a series of guerrilla raids on sf. [. . .]

        Gibson and Sterling were already friends, and other writers were
becoming acquainted with one or both:  Lew Shiner, Sterling's right-hand on
_Cheap Truth_ under the name "Sue Denim," Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Pat
Cadigan, Richard Kadrey, others, me included.  Some became friends, and at the
very least, everyone became aware of everyone else.

        Early on in this process, Gardner Dozois committed the fateful act of
referring to this group of very loosely-affiliated folk as "cyberpunks." At the
appearance of the word, the media circus and its acolytes, the marketers, went
into gear.  Cyberpunk became talismanic:  within the sf ghetto, some applauded,
some booed, some cashed in, some even denied that the word referred to anything;
and some applauded or booed or denied that cyberpunk existed _and_ cashed in
at the same time--the quintessentially postmodern response, one might say.

        [. . .]

        Literary cyberpunk had become more than Gibson, and cyberpunk itself
had become more than literature and film.  In fact, the label has been applied
variously, promiscuously, often cheaply or stupidly.  Kids with modems and the
urge to commit computer crime became known as "cyberpunks," in _People_
magazine, for instance; however, so did urban hipsters who wore black, read
_Mondo 2000_, listened to "industrial" pop, and generally subscribed to techno-
fetishism. Cyberpunk generated articles and features in places as diverse as
_The Wall Street Journal_, _Communications of the American Society for
Computing Machinery_, _People_, _Mondo 2000_, and MTV. Also, though Gibson was
and is often regarded with deep suspicion within the sf community, this ceased
to matter:  he had become more than just another sf writer; he was a cultural
icon of sorts, invoked by figures as various as William Burroughs, Timothy
Leary, Stewart Brand, David Bowie, and Blondie, among others. In short, much of
the real action for cyberpunk was to be found outside the sf ghetto.

        Meanwhile, cyberpunk fiction--if you will allow the existence of any
such thing, and most people do--was being produced and even became influential.

        [. . .]

        Also, various postmodern academics took an interest in cyberpunk. Larry
McCaffery, who teaches in Southern California, brought many of them together in
a "casebook," of all things, _Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of
Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction_. Many of the academics haven't read
much science fiction; they're hard-nosed, hip, and often condescending; they
like cyberpunk but are deeply suspicious of anyone's claims for it.  But
whatever their particular views, their very presence at the party implies a
certain validation of cyberpunk as worthy of more serious attention than the
usual sf, even of the more celebrated sort.

[. . .] By the end of the '80s, people who never liked it much to begin with
were announcing with audible relief the death of cyberpunk: it had taken its
canonical fifteen minutes of fame and now should move over and let something
else take the stage.

[. . .] However, Cyberpunk had not died; rather, like Romanticism and
Surrealism before it (or like Tyrone Slothrop in _Gravity's Rainbow_, one of the
ur-texts of cyberpunk), it had become so culturally widespread and undergone so
many changes that it could no longer be easily located and identified.

        [. . .]

        Cyberpunk came into being just as information density and
complexity went critical:  the supersaturation of the planet with systems
capable of manipulating, transmitting, and receiving ever vaster quantities of
information has just begun, but (as Benedikt points out, though toward
different ends), _it has begun_.  Cyberpunk is the fictive voice of that
process, and so long as the process remains problematic--for instance, so long
as it threatens to redefine us--the voice will be heard.

				Tom Maddox


More on cyberpunk from:

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel"
                                        :::::opening lines of Neuromancer
Asking someone to define Cyberpunk is like asking someone to define art.  Each
person has their own ideas about what art is, what constitutes art and what
doesn't.  Yet we all still know art when we see it.  The same is true for
Cyberpunk - each cyberpunk has their own definition for it, yet common threads
remain.  In basic terms, these might be definied by an emphasis on
individualism and technology (both in the present and in the future - and in
the past as in The Difference Engine [a book by Gibson & Sterling]).
So what seperates cyberpunk from other types of sci-fi?  Generally, cyberpunk
occures in the not-so-distant-future.  It generally occurs on earth, in a time
where technology is prominent.  Characters are generally "average Johnny
Mnemonics" - not some fantastic hero with lots of virtue and a blinding smile.
Cyberpunk revels in high-tech low-lifes, so you can expect to see lots of crime
and back-stabbing and drugs and such.  These are the basic elements of
Gibsonesque CP (cyberpunk) - we've all seen it before in movies such as Blade
Runner and TV Shows like Max Headroom.

In many cases, it appears as if our world is evolving into a classic cyberpunk
setting:  the rise of post-zaibatsu Japan with it's monopoly on technology,
American cities developing into the "sprawl" (basically just large,
mega-cities), drugs and crime are predominant in some cultures, and we thrive
and survive on technology.  So, it isn't too hard to see how cyberpunk evolved
from being just a literary movement into a growing sub-culture - industrial and
post-industrial aspects of the culture, virtual reality, rave parties,
nootropics, computer hacking - they're all aspects of our culture, they all
would fit nicely into a Gibson novel, and they all exist *now*.
So, what makes a cyberpunk?  If you already knew all this stuff, and you're
laughing at my generalities and inconsistencies, then you're definitely a
cyberpunk.  If you're a techno-junkie or an info-junkie, than you'd probably
consider yourself a cyberpunk.  Basically, if you live in a world in the
not-so-distant-future, ahead of the masses (the masses being guys named Buford
who sit out in front of their trailer homes in lawn chairs sipping a Bud and
watching the Indy 500 on an old tv), then you could probably safely consider
yourself a cyberpunk.  It's a spectrum, though - I mean, it's kind of like if
Micahelangelo had an assistant, he would probably not consider the assistant an
artist.  Yet to his friends and family, that assistant may seem like a great
artist.  I consider myself a cyberpunk compared to the masses that walk the
halls of my school, yet at a virtual reality conference in the presence of the
likes of Jaron Lanier, Gibson, John Perry Barlow, Timothy Leary, RU Sirius,
etc. I would probably be more hesitant in labeling myself a true cyberpunk.
But one the beauties of cp is that it is still somewhat elitist to an extent:
members of the community realize that we who walk on the fringes of culture
need to hold each others' hand until the masses join us - the communal
atmosphere, at times, can be seen as similair to the early hippie movement of
the late 50's/early 60's.

|  2.  Cyberpunk melding with other subcultures
        In recent years, the media and fans of cyberpunk literature have taken
cyberpunk from a literary movement to a growing subculture.  Look around you:
'cyber-' is everywhere.
        The word 'cyberpunk' as an adjective often refers to one who uses a
computer to infiltrate ("hack" or "crack" if you prefer) systems they should
not be in (or at least, they don't have regular access to that system).  Some
use 'cyberpunk' in conjunction with computer hacking to mean "people who
destroy data".  Others use it to mean "people who liberate information".  It
all just depends on your particular views on the subject.  At any rate, this
use of the word 'cyberpunk' comes from the Deck Cowboys of Gibson novels.
        Basically, any growing subculture that could help to bring about a
generalized cyberpunk-esque world overlaps with the cyber-culture.  These might
include:  virtual reality (read the sci.virtual-worlds FAQ for more info),
nootropics (SmartDrugs and SmartDrinks), the rave subculture (read alt.rave),
etc., etc., ad nauseum.  For an idea of what I mean of cyberpunk relating to
other subcultures, read MONDO 2000 (info. in this article).
|  3.  Required Reading
        Definitely, the "bible" of cybperunk is William Gibson's _Neuromancer_.
The book garnered the Philip K Dick, Nebula, Hugo, and Australian Ditmar Awards.
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling are generally regarded as the founders of cp,
although people argue endlessly as to where the roots of cp lie.
        If you are new to cp, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's books are the
first things you should check out.
Books By William Gibson:

        Count Zero
        Mona Lisa Overdrive
        Bruning Chrome (short story collection)
        The Difference Engine (w/ Bruce Sterling)
        Agrippa:  A Book of the Dead (e-text poem)
        Virtual Light [forthcoming in late '93]

[other short stories have appeared in magazines like Omni, Rolling Stone, SPIN,
Books By Bruce Sterling:

        Mirrorshades (ed. - *the* collection of cp fiction by various authors)
        Islands in the Net
        The Artificial Kid
        Involution Ocean
        Crystal Express
        The Hacker Crackdown [new release from Bantam]
        Globalhead (short story collection) [through Mark V. Ziesing Books]
        Heavy Weather [what he is currently working on -- more later]

[Sterling as also a frequent contributor to many magazines such as SF Eye,
Locus, Interzone etc.]
        IMHO, Neuromancer is the first thing you should read, then Mirrorshades,
and go from there.... ALT.CP.FAQ.(2/2) contains extensive lists of cp
materials to keep you busy for a very long time - books, zines, movies and
other stuff.

        For the literary side of CP I would suggest Larry McCaffery's casebook
on postmodernism and cyberpunk, _Storming the Reality Studio_.  It will give you
a flavor of some of the different authors and also some good critical pieces.
|  4.  What is Cyberpunk Music?
        Every once in a while, inevitably, this thread shows its face on
alt.cp.  There is *NO* set definition of Cyberpunk music, though certain
categories of music are generally "preferred":  punk, industrial, techno.
        A list of *suggested* musicians from the various categories is inclucded
in part 2 of the faq (classical is not included, neither is country - sorry,
they should be).  This list will give you an idea of the groups considered to be
in some part cyberpunk related.

|   5.  Cyberpunk authors on the Net
        1 out of every 5 posts an alt.cp will read:   :)
                "What is William Gibson's e-mail address?"
        Gibson most likely *does* have an e-mail address, but he does not
prefer to use the Internet as a means of communication.  Bruce Sterling lets us
know in various articles and interviews that Gibson prefers to use his FAX
machine.  So, you can search for Gibson's address if you like, and if you find
one, mail will most likely bounce, so give it up.
        Bruce Sterling and Tom Maddox have addresses, and are actually not that
shy about making themselves known - for the sake of privacy I won't include
their addresses here, but these two are actually not too difficult to locate.
        There are others out there too... Timothy Leary, bOING bOING and MONDO
people, Neal Stephenson, D.K.Moran, Rudy Rucker, Ono Sendai ...

        Many interesting cyber-people have e-mail addresses.  If you truly want
to locate some of them, I suggest you get an account on the WELL.  The WELL is
where the cyber-crowd likes to hang....(info on the WELL is in this article)
|   6.  More info on-line
Suggested related newsgroups:
alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo  Literary virtual reality in a cyberpunk hangout.
alt.cyberpunk.movement  Cybernizing the Universe.      Cyberspace and Cyberpunk technology.
alt.cyberspace          Cyberspace and how it should work.
alt.psychoactives       Some Nootropics discussion here
alt.rave                Rave culture   Postings about the Computer Underground. (Moderated)
alt.zines               a newsgroup devoted to discussion/reviewing zines       News from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.       Discussion of EFF goals, strategies, etc.
comp.research.japan     The nature of research in Japan. (Moderated)
comp.risks              Risks to the public from computers & users. (Moderated)
comp.society            The impact of technology on society. (Moderated)
comp.society.development        Computer technology in developing countries.
comp.society.folklore   Computer folklore & culture, past & present.
comp.society.futures    Events in technology affecting future computing.
news.future             The future technology of network news systems.
rec.arts.anime          Animation discussion group
rec.arts.sf.misc        Science fiction lovers' newsgroup.
rec.arts.sf.movies      Discussing SF motion pictures.     Critiques of science fiction stories. (Moderated)     Real and speculative aspects of SF science.          Discussing general television SF.*		The MUD gaming hierarchy
sci.crypt               cryptography (protect your freedom of speech rights)
sci.virtual-worlds      Virtual worlds  - soft/hardware & theory. (Moderated)
FTP Sites:
        Computer Underground, Nanotech, Postmodern Culture, Discography,
        Fractals, Computing Ethics, and much much more
        /pub/ (takes a looooong time to look through)           
        Computer Underground, EFF, etc.
        (/pub/[EFF, SJG, journals, cspr, academic, cud])            [numbers will be changing - use name]
        Cyberpunk (/public/alt.cyberpunk)
                [I have put some interesting things along with the FAQ here]
        Virtual Reality (/public/virtual-worlds)
        Drugs (/public/alt.drugs)          
        Cultural Stuff (/pub/culture/), Computer Underground (/pub/doc/phrack)        
        lots of cool and interesting stuff

Mailing Lists (and e-zines)
Computer Undergroud Digest

Cyberspace Vanguard
        - a brand new e-zine coming from TJ Goldstein and others
        - preview issue out now.. first issue ~Dec 15.

        -nanotechnology, cryonics, anarchocapatilist politics, technological
         extension of human intelligence and perception
        -serious discussion from an informative perspective
        -available on listserv as xtropy-l <sub xtropy-l>
        -discussion of cyberpunk, vr, computer underground, raves, industrial
         culture, post po-mo, etc.
        -please specify realtime, digest, or FAQ only when subscribing

        - Science Fiction electronic 'zine edited by Daniel Appelquist
        - back issues available by anon ftp @ (
          (/pub/quanta), and ( in EUROPE (/Documents/Quanta)

        - This is a new zine that has shown up recently. A rambling 1st issue
          and and more composed second issue. It has been appearing in alt.cp
          when released stay tuned.

A few BBSes [where some cp people hang]
212.988.5030                    MindVox (telnetable:
415.332.6106                    The Well (telnet:
415.472.5527                    The Cyberden (public access unix - limited)
512.447.4449                    The Illuminati BBS (Steve Jackson Games)
Internet BBSes (not cp stuff, but thought I'd throw it in for fun)
------------------------------------------------------------------                          bbs/new                          bbs/new
sparks                                    bbs/new
kids                                      kids/new
cimmaron                                 bbs/new
greta's                                   bbs/new
eagles nest            bbs/bbs
mars hotel    

|   7.  Agrippa:  A Book of the Dead
        William Gibson's new work is a poem entitled _Agrippa: A Book of the
Dead_.  In keeping with the forward-thinking theme of cp, it has been released
not on paper, but on disk. The poem is ~5 pages in length says Tom Maddox.
[For a supposed picture of the thing see a 1 page ad/review in recent SF eye.]
        There is one interesting aspect of this new book-on-disk:  you read it
once and it disappears.  Now, there were two rumors about this:  1.  a "virus"
(the media's term) deletes the disk as you read it, or, 2.  What you have
previously read is encrypted and probably most likely un-decryptable (unless
you have a couple Cray's lying around at your house).
        Basically, the idea is that you can only read the story once. The
encryption idea is the correct one so you can read 'virus' in the following
articles as 'uninformed writer' :-).
        If you would like a copy of the "book", the price ranges between $450
and $7,500 (no, that's no typo).  Gibson worked with  Kevin Begos Jr. and
artist Dennis Ashbaugh on creating this virtual-art, thus the art prices.
Agrippa is much more than an autobiographical poem, as it includes work from the
other artist involved.

[The following on _Agrippa_ has been lifted without permission.  Thanks to the
 original poster (] :

  "_Agrippa (A Book of the Dead)_ (New York, Kevin Begos, 1992, edition of
  350, $450; deluxe edition of 95, $1500) could be a conventional livre
  d'artiste.  Inside a slick metallic box, it's evocative to a fault: there is
  a burnt-looking honeycomb board and a distressed newspaper framing a
  substantial bound volume with a singed cloth cover.  The book contains a
  half dozen etchings by Dennis Ashbaugh (reproduced offset in the large
  edition)-- abstractions in rich sepia tones with plenty of textural and
  tonal range.  But there are many twists.  The abstractions convey not formal
  but scientific information, each representing a fragment of a human genome--
  an individualized biological blueprint.  More immediately apparent, there is
  brassy prewar advertising imagery obscuring each image."
  "And then watch as the past gives way.  These overprinted images are
  executed in a slow-dissolve variety of disappearing ink.  Within a few hours
  of cracking the cover they vanish forever. Read on, and Ashbaugh's
  abstractions themselves give way to page after page of genome fragments as
  scientists know them-- the letters ACTG in varying combination, printed in
  mind-numbing four-column series.  And deeper still, within a square recess
  cut into blank pages like some long-forgotten drug stash, is a standard
  computer disk (DOS and Macintosh version both available).  This disk
  represents something of a small press coup, since it contains a new
  autobiographical novel by science fiction heavy William Gibson.  In
  _Neuromancer_ and _Count Zero_, among other titles, Gibson has created an
  ominous anthro-electronic realm he calls "cyberspace." And that's just where
  _Agrippa_ is headed, for it has a self-destructing virus.  Publisher Begos
  is confident the very great majority of readers can't prevent the text from
  fleeing forever into the electronic netherworld as soon as it scrolls by
  their screen.  Farewell conventional books-- and conventional collecting,
  and reading, and remembering.  Hello electronic communication."

   ---"Artists Book Beat,"  Nancy Princenthal,  The Print Collectors
       Newsletter Vol XXIII, NO. 2 May-June 1992
[Now here's the legitimate side of the story --  there is no "virus"
 nor does the thing delete itself. They say it uses RSA encryption.]

       "William Gibson's short story, "Agrippa," is designed to automatically
  and irrevocably encode itself after a viewer reads it on a computer screen.
  But because a sophisticated and virtually unbreakable encryption program,
  known as RSA, is used to do the code work, and because RSA, like most
  encryption devices, is closely guarded by the U.S. government, it's possible
  that "Agrippa" may not be sold overseas, said Kevin Begos, the publisher."

  [...] "On the one hand, exporting a product with RSA code built into it is
  clearly controlled by the government, which monitors use of the code with
  particular attention because it is considered one of the best codes ever
  devised. "We want to know where it went and who's got it and how it's being
  used," said Daniel Cook, a spokesman for the State Department's Office of
  Defense Trade Controls. "The intent is to keep it out of the hands of people
  who shouldn't have it."

  [...] "Cook suggested that the publisher could avoid the whole issue by
  simpling[sic] creating an export copy that automatically deletes - rather than
  encrypts - the story. But because most good hackers can easily restore deleted
  files, this would hardly be a satisfactory resolution. In any event, Cook said
  that because the program apparently doesn't contain a key to decrypt the file,
  "I don't see us getting a major heartburn over it."

   ---"Read Any Good Webs Lately? SIDEBAR: When Art Resembles National Security"
       Joshua Quittner (staff writer), Newsday, issue??

[And yet more from Newsbytes on the RSA encryption scheme and more..thanks to
 alt.cp poster]

  "Agrippa: A Book of the Dead" by William Gibson and Dennis Ashbaugh,
  illustrates the intangible nature of memory as air exposure
  cause Agrippa's chemically treated etchings to change and a
  Macintosh disk with a story on it to hopelessly encrypt, once read.
  On the subject of memory and how it mutates and changes, the focal
  point is the story on the disk is William Gibson's father, who
  died when he was six. The title of the work is not from King
  Agrippa, a figure from Roman history, but instead is the label on
  the 1919 family photo album containing photos of Gibson's father.
  Agrippa comes in a case that resembles a laptop computer, with book
  inside surrounded by copper honey comb-shaped forms and cut-outs in
  the inside pages to contain a 3.5-inch floppy disk. The disk
  contains Gibson's story which is encrypted a scheme based on an RSA
  data encryption. The story can be read by a program which unencrypts
  the text on the fly and then self-destructs after one reading,
  leaving only the encrypted text on the disk. Once the reading of the
  text on the disk is started the story cannot be stopped, copied, or
  No paper form of Agrippa will be available. However, a fiber optic
  transmission of the Gibson story is planned for September of this
  year to sites worldwide, Begos said. While an IBM and compatible
  personal computer (PC) version of Agrippa was planned, Begos said
  the preponderance of orders have been for the Macintosh version. "We
  just haven't gotten to the PC version yet," Begos added.
 (Linda Rohrbough/19920713/Press Contact: Kevin Begos, tel/fax 212-650-9324)

        However!  (there's hope!)  Gibson has reportedly said that he hopes
(encourages) the book will be spread through the net.  Supposedly it will be
released into the net (uploaded only once, apparently).  The problem is that
the encryption or virus must be defeated.
        Apparently the only people on the net to have seen a copy of Agrippa
are Tom Maddox (he quotes it in his sig) and Bruce Sterling.  However, there was
talk a while ago from Loyd Blankenship who was working to secure a copy. The
latest rumor is that it will show up on MindVox.

|   8.  Sterling's latest releases

        It is called THE HACKER CRACKDOWN, and is a non-fiction account of
Operation Sundevil (FBI's crackdown on hackers), the Steve Jackson Games case
(in which SJG was raided bacause of the involvement of Loyd Blankenship - a
contributor to the Legion of Doom, who was writing the RolePlaying Game book:
GURPS CYBERPUNK, for the GURPS RPG system). He covers all sides of the story
from the SS, to the computer security guys, to the hackers, to SJG.
        Sterling has also recently been involved with the EFF (the Electronic
Fronteir Foundation - Mitch Kapor and John Perry Barlow's group that protects
on-line rights).  Check out his article "Gurps' Labor Lost:  The Cyberpunk
Bust" in the September 1991 EFFector.  He has said that he is trying to back
away from the whole scene though, saying: "I know more about hacking now than
any sane person should have to know.

        The latest fiction release from Bruce is _Globalhead_ which is another
new collection of his short stories. This book is being release from Mark
Ziesing Books (PO Box 76, Shingletown, CA, 96088).

        The very latest news is a book called _Heavy Weather_ which he is
working on currently.  In bOING bOING #9 he says that this is "about hacking
tornadoes in the early 21st century."  No, I didn't make that up! Sounds like
an interesting new twist if he wasn't joking.

|   9.  Gibson's Next Book: did Gibson quit?
        Odds are we are not going to hear any more out of the characters from
the Neuromancer, Count Zero, or Mona Lisa Overdrive.

        Titled _Virtual Light_ (tentatively ?), this book is purported to be a
near-term story involving some elements of VR. The story is not based on the
Sprawl series. It is atleast partly based in LA. Could it be that his recent
short story "Skinner's Room" is of the same general setting? I don't know ...
it is also based in California (San Francisco).

Gibson has said:

"I think LA slipped over the Fault into the 21st century about eight years ago,
maybe even before that." [Science Fiction Studies, 1992, v19,p(4)]

"The last thing I want is to be writing Cyberspace XVIIIL in a couple of years.
The world doesn't need it and it would get really stale really quickly...The
next novel I do is going to be something different...It's called VIRTUAL LIGHT
and it's set in California in a future that is closer to now compared to my
first three novel...It's about a skip tracer, this guy that goes out and hunts
down people who default on their credit cards, debts and things...There are
thousands of them in New York..." [FAD?]

|  10.  Gibson Goes to the Movies!

[Well here is the best I have been able to assemble for you.]
[And a thanks to TM for some updates.]

Plans for a Neuromancer Movie?
        Apparently scripts for Neuromancer have made their way around
different Hollywood studios.  As of this writing, I have no information to
confirm that Neuromancer is/will be made into a film, and there is no
information to deny that it will be made.  So, keep your hopes up!

Information on this is hard to come by but here is a started timeline of
Neuromancer the movie's lineage:

November? '86:     Gibson sells the film rights for Neuro to Cabana Boys
                   Productions for $100,000.
                   Cabana Boys (supposedly) brought in some good talent:
                   - William Burroughs & Timothy Leary as creative consultants
                   - Earl MacRauch (Buckaroo Banzai) as screenwriter
                   - Douglas Trumbull (2001, Bladerunner) for FX
                   - Andy Summers to write score
                   - Peter Gabriel to play a lead (case? Armitage?)

?????????????:     A couple screenwriters missing here I guess

10 April 1991:     Amidst an emerging debate over the movie on alt.cp Tom
                   Maddox had the following to say:

        "The first one attempted was by Earl MacRauch [...] and was by report
        unspeakably bad.  There have been others, including a current one which
        I think Gibson said is by the would-be director of the film for
        Universal, but I don't remember his name"

In June 1992 a new alt.cp movie discussion ensues and a very humorous story
emerged about Cabana Boys and Neuro. It mentioned that rights reverted back to
Gibson from Cabana Boys.   Latest official word is that this is where the film
rights remain with no current attempts being made on it.

Gibson and ALIEN^3
        Gibson did in fact write *A* script for Alien^3, but it is not the one
you see on the big screen.  There are copies of it floating around.  Try a SF
convention and maybe you'll locate one.  The script I have seen is titled
"Alien III, by William Gibson, Revised first draft screenplay from a story by
David Giler and Walter Hill".  Ripley plays a very little part:  she is in a
coma in the early stages and then is jettisoned away.  Hicks is the focus of
this version along with some new people.  Its a totally different story that
Alien^3 you have seen.  Gibson had the following to say about the script:

"I didn't see there was very much that could be done with the alien - the beast,
as they call it around the shop - so I tried to open out the background of the
first two, exploring things about the human culture you wouldn't have expected
but that didn't contradict what you already knew.  You discover early on that
the universe isn't run exclusively by the Company - there's a hard-bitten,
Third World socialist power in space as well, this motley bunch of Latin Amer-
icans and East Asians, who are all out there doing their own thing in big space
stations painted inside like Mexican revolutionary murals.  I was also fascin-
ated by hints that the alien was someone's biological weapon, and I was explor-
ing that."

recent note:

"His scenario was the first commissioned for the film _Aliens 3_, but
 several scripts later, there was almost nothing of local SF writer William
 Gibson's material left in the Hollywood blockbuster. Gibson's script,
 though, did circulate among Vancouver SF fans, including NO Fun
 songwriter and vocalist David M. The result is that NO Fun's Record
 Contract Signing Party at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre on Sunday
 (August 30) will include the band's rendition of "Vancouver's Own
 Cyberpunk Sci-Fi Superstar William Gibson's Aliens III". "It's much
 better than the one they put out on film," says M., who has Gibson's
 blessing for the performance and hopes the author will drop by if he is
 in town..." [Random Notes, The Georgia Straight, Aug 14-21 --thanks to Jay_]

 It seems that WG gave permission to do this but wasn't able to attend this
 silly party (-:
       "Then Nina puts on a white body suit and takes a platic space gun and
        chase the guys alround the place. The guys have pantyhose on their heads
        to look like the Alien. And cool dracula teeth." [Jay_D]

New Rose Hotel
        Screenplay by Gibson himself.  It was supposed to shoot in Tokyo with Ed
Pressman producing and Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, The Loveless, Blue Steel)
directing.  Evidently Bigelo bowed out for "Her Own Reasons". Seems there have
been untold numbers of changes on this thing too.

Burning Chrome
        I have often heard that BC is the most likely to make it to the screen.
As of early 1990 Gibson is on the record as having been working on the screen-
play for BC to be done by Carolco Pictures. At that time he didn't mention a
director or producer.

        However [from FAD 1992], James Cameron (T2, Aliens) apparently has
agreed to direct Burning Chrome.  Yet, Gibson believes that Cameron's contract
obliges him to "go somewere else and direct a regular-budget, non-special-
effects movie and then he's supposed to come back and do Burning Chrome".
Gibson has heard second-hand, apparently, that Cameron would like to shoot the
movie in Detroit in the winter time.  It remains to be seen if he is still sold
on the film or not.

       Gibson has said, "It is easier than New Rose Hotel because its a lot less
interior.  New Rose Hotel is a doomed silent monologue that this man is cond-
ucting with himself, locked in a coffin hotel outside a Tokyo airport, while in
Burning Chrome people are crashing around, breaking into other people's comput-
ers...doing things."

Johnny Mnemonic
        This was optioned by painter Robert Longo's Pressure Pictures for pro-
duction in 1990.  Longo (director of "Arena Brains" short and music videos) and
Victoria Hamburg are writing the screenplay. Hamburg will produce. Gibson and
Longo collaborated earlier of "Dream Jumbo" for UCLA Center for the Performing
Arts [anyone seen or heard about this?].  Hamburg called JM the Rosetta Stone of
Gibson's late work [and she has also interviewed Gibson in _Interview_ but I
have yet to locate it so I don't know if more details are there or if it was
prior to her being involved in the film].

----------------------[END ALT.CP.FAQ.(1/2)]-----------------------------

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