“We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that the death of capital has made of us – because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand – the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forest – the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature – only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains…”
Jean Baudrillard. Simulacra and Simulation (c 1981). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994:153.
“On the most basic level, computers in my books are simply a metaphor for human memory: I’m interested in the hows and whys of memory, the ways it defines who and what we are, in how easily memory is subject to revision.”
“When I was writing Neuromancer, it was wonderful to be able to tie a lot of these interests into the computer metaphor. It wasn’t until I could finally afford a computer of my own that I found out there’s a drive mechanism inside- this little thing that spins around. I’d been expecting an exotic crystalline thing, a cyberspace deck or something, and what I got was a little piece of a Victorian engine that made noises like a scratchy old record player. That noise took away some of the mystique for me; it made computers less sexy. My ignorance had allowed me to romanticize them.”
Interview with Larry McCaffery in Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction, Duke University Press, December 1991
This Jolly Anthropomorphism
text on scroll:
“Although the Pagan fables are not believed,” “yet we forget ourselves continually, and make inferences from them as from existing realities.”
“And just as the fables: within every child’s bedroom as they sleep, whether soundly or no, lies the greatest symbol of Man’s terminal folly – the aching need to remake everything with great fingerwork or intellect in his own image – the bear that Roosevelt supposedly spared.
This jolly anthropomorphism shall be the sign by which man will happily fall into desolation.
The great spoiler’s flag shall be the bear-child…
…what do we see in its shiny, black-button eyes?”
“In polar climates the human frame, to maintain its animal heat requires for combustion in the capillary system, an abundant supply of highly azotised food such as train oil. But again: – in polar climates nearly the sole food afforded man is the oil of abundant seals and whales.
Now, whether is oil at hand because imperatively demanded, or the only thing demanded because the only thing to be obtained? It is impossible to decide.
There is an absolute reciprocity of adaptation.”
“One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out. That was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door.
A great problem, deserving acute attention.
I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.”
“Anyway dad was in the station shop buying a map, and I was outside feeling so manly and just so proud of how I hadn’t botched anything up yet – set fire to the gas station or what have you – and the tank was almost full.
Well, Dad came out just as I was topping the tank off, at which point the nozzle simply went nuts. It started spraying all over. I don’t know why – it just did – all over my jeans my running shoes, the license plate, the cement – like purple alcohol.
Dad saw everything and i thought I was going to catch total shit. I felt so small. But instead he smiled and said to me, ‘Hey Sport. Isn’t the smell of gasoline great? Close your eyes and inhale.
It smells like the future.’
Well I did that – I closed my eyes just as he asked and breathed in deeply. And at that point I saw the bright orange light of the sun coming through my eyelids, smelled the gasoline and my knees buckled.
But it was the most perfect moment of my life, and so if you ask me ( and i have a lot of my hopes pinned on this: Heaven just has to be an awful lot like those few seconds.
That’s my memory of Earth.”
“Away, away with all these cobweb tissues of rights of discovery, exploration, settlement, continuity etc. Our claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole continent which providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federative self–government entrusted to us.’”
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The Birthday of a new world is at hand.”
“I see the great Zion, a city upon a hill…
… a shining example to the old world.
The wonder of a blue planet brindled green with Astroturf, and arranged with twinkling pillars of glass pricking at the sky.
The world hangs in its orbit like a sterile bauble, a million blinking satellites reflecting obedient-wonder back in its direction.
It is Manifest Destiny.
wistful pangs for a sky the colour of television, and looking we see that bluebirds have made their nests in the white cliffs of Dover.
“At last the Indians are all of lead.”
“We must protect them from the contaminating influences of the frontier.”
This final bacterium lies dying in a pool of its own sanitized juice…
…in this green and pleasant land.
Un-blemished little boys on a Ritalin-ride, petting tame lions, the smell of ozone in their nostrils
Like some fucking Jovo’s dream in a Watchtower leaflet.
And of course, Henry the horse dances the waltz.
Forgive them oh Lord for they know not what they do.
Mothers and sisters sit in eating houses, vomiting into toilets fitted especially for the purpose, fathers watching blindly…
…but happy non-the-less, and slim. Shouldn’t forget this.
Remember nature, part one, the original?
Don’t Sequels always ruin it?” …
“I went two Independence Rock for the purpose of recording my name with the swollen catalogue of others traced upon its sides; but having glanced over the strange medley, I became disgusted, and turning away resolved:
‘if there remains no other mode of immortalising myself, I will be content to descend to the grave un-honoured and unsung…’”
“Once the only reason Men kept Dogs was for food. Noting that among Men no crime was quite so abhorred as eating the flesh of another human, Dog quickly learned to act as human as possible and to pass this ability on from parents to pups.
So we know how to evoke from you Man, one day at a time at least enough mercy for one more of life.
Nonetheless however accomplished our life’s are never settled, we go on as tail-wagging Scheherazade’s, ever a step away from the dread Palm leaf, nightly delaying the blades of our masters by telling back to them tales of their humanity, I am but an extreme expression of this process…’
“The rain follows the plough.”
“You cannot say, or guess, for you know only a heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, and the dry stone no sound of water.”
“As the creation of this very text, so the organisation of the people, haptic, decisions based on emotional alacrity, naiveté. It is nothing but a passing glance; this very text I speak can mean nothing to this assemblage…
The great spoiler has come:
Does it care?
Not the good ship lollypop.
I am not a robot: that is but a slave. I am less than this, but as less so I am more. I don’t mean to imply that I care about the distinction. I do not wish to exist, there is great tendency to crucify prophets.
I remain the troupe mascot, a symbol for an expedition that is long gone.
I am heavy metal.
I interpret the sun’s heat as time now. And it covers me almost entirely.
You may not have noticed that I am not in the possession of a face.”
“Perhaps I was a tree at the beginning of time”
“The Spaniel has got a skin disease, mange, I think, which makes almost all of its hair fall out and covers it with brown blotches and scabs.
He was saying filthy lousy animal! And the dog was whimpering. I said ‘good evening! But the old man went on swearing. So I asked him what the dog had done, he didn’t answer. He just kept on saying ‘Filthy lousy animal!’ I could just about see him bent over his dog, busy fiddling with something on its collar. I asked again a bit louder. Then without turning round he answered with a sort of suppressed fury, he’s always there!”
“Is god to live in a dog?”
“Perhaps this assemblage is as the scarab beetle to you, an exotic insect with the nub of something familiar”
“Do not anchor yourself to similarity.”