Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture (1994) is a collection of essays edited by Mark Dery. It features "Black to the Future".

Table of contents

Flame Wars MARK DERY New Age Mutant Ninja Hackers: Reading Mondo 2000 II VIVIAN SOBCHACK Techgnosis, Magic, Memory, and the Angels of Information 29 ERIK DAVIS A8rippa, or, The Apocalyptic Book 61 PETER SCHWENGER Gibson's Typewriter 71 SCOTT BUKA TMAN Virtual Surreality: Our New Romance with Plot Devices 91 MARC LAIDLAW Chapter 14, Synners 113 PAT CADIGAN Feminism for the Incurably Informed 125 ANNE BALSAMO iv Contents Sex, Memories, and Angry Women 157 CLAUDIA SPRINGER Black to the Future: Interviews with Samuel R. Delany, Greg Tate, and Tricia Rose 179 MARK DERY Compu-Sex: Erotica for Cybernauts 223 GARETH BRANWYN A Rape in Cyberspace; or, How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society 237 JULIAN DIBBELL Virtual Environments and the Emergence of Synthetic Reason 263 MANUEL DE LANDA Survival Research Laboratories Performs in Austria 287 MARK PAULINE Taming the Computer 297 GARY CHAPMAN Glossary 321 EMILY WHITE Index 327 Notes on Contributors 347


"Flame Wars," the verbal firefights that take place between disembodied combatants on electronic bulletin boards, remind us that our interaction with the world is increasingly mediated by computers. Bit by digital bit we are being "Borged," as devotees of Star Trek: The Next Generation would have it—transformed into cyborgian hybrids of technology and biology through our ever more frequent interaction with machines, or with one another through technological interfaces.

The subcultural practices of the "incurably informed," to borrow the cyberpunk novelist Pat Cadigan’s coinage, offer a precognitive glimpse of mainstream culture in the near future, when many of us will be part-time residents in virtual communities. Yet, as the essays in this expanded edition of a special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly confirm, there is more to fringe computer culture than cyberspace. Within these pages, readers will encounter flame warriors; new age mutant ninja hackers; technopagans for whom the computer is an occult engine; and William Gibson’s "Agrippa," a short story on software that can only be read once because it gobbles itself up as soon as the last page is reached. Here, too, is Lady El, an African American cleaning woman reincarnated as an all-powerful cyborg; devotees of on-line swinging, or "compu-sex"; the teleoperated weaponry and amok robots of the mechanical performance art group, Survival Research Laboratories; an interview with Samuel Delany, and more.

Rallying around Fredric Jameson’s call for a cognitive cartography that "seeks to endow the individual subject with some new heightened sense of place in the global system," the contributors to Flame Wars have sketched a corner of that map, an outline for a wiring diagram of a terminally wired world.

Contributors. Anne Balsamo, Gareth Branwyn, Scott Bukatman, Pat Cadigan, Gary Chapman, Erik Davis, Manuel De Landa, Mark Dery, Julian Dibbell, Marc Laidlaw, Mark Pauline, Peter Schwenger, Vivian Sobchack, Claudia Springer

See also

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