Rudy Rucker sends us, "videos by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling discussing their new anthology TRANSREAL CYBERPUNK: it's a thirty-year mind-warped ping-pong in which the authors are the characters themselves. As scholar Rob Latham puts it in his introduction, This book is unlike any other collaboration I know of in the field, ... the whole is not only greater than the sum of its parts, but wilder, and weirder, and more wondrous. Science fiction is the richer for it." Read the rest
I was ready to love Murder from the moment the game opened on a female police lieutenant waking from a rain-soaked cyberpunk nightmare about murderous robots, and walking out on her balcony to smoke a cigarette over the light-spattered skyscrapers of Future Tokyo. "Yes," I thought, "I'm in." Sadly, I spoke a little too soon.
Developed by Peter Moorhead, the creator behind the abandoned astronaut game Stranded, Murder is another brief, point-and-click adventure illustrated with beautiful pixel art. This time around, Moorehead promises players a "short story" that delves into some pretty lofty ideas: "the intersection of morality and sentience, in a future where both are commodities."
The moral crux of the story revolves around the sentient service robots of Murder's near-future world, and whether humans can ethically use them for unpaid labor. If that sounds familiar, it should. It's an idea that has been explored rather extensively by some very talented science fiction writers, and even trickled far enough into the mainstream to inspire a Will Smith movie. That doesn't meant there isn't anything left to say about it, only that the notion of robot sentience and the civil rights implications around it aren't exactly fresh ideas, and the mere mention of them is not enough to carry a story, even a short one.
Ostensibly, the game is a murder mystery; as Lieutenant Motomeru Minori, you're tasked with investigating a brutal killing, the latest in a string of mysterious deaths. But "investigate" might be a strong word—you visit one crime scene, exchange a few one-liners with some other cops, and that's about it. Read the rest
In this 12-frame animated gif, pixel artist Kirokaze imagines a small sliver of a rainy day in a world of "thought vigilance" and random ID checks, where a mysterious woman sips coffee and watches the world rush by, twirling a knife idly in her hand. Check out more of Kirokaze's work on Deviantart, or follow them on Twitter. Read the rest
When I saw my first issue of "Reality Hackers" -- at a bookstore I was working at in high-school -- I knew I wanted to keep reading this magazine, and made my boss place a big order for the next issue, which was called "Mondo 2000." Read the rest
Thousands of carp, iridescent sharks, catfish and tilapia have been netted from the flooded remains of the New World Mall in Bangkok, which has been collapsing in legal limbo since 1997, when judges ordered it demolished after finding that the 11-storey mall had been built on the basis of planning permission that only allowed for four storeys. Read the rest
Jim Munroe sez, "In our webseries set 10 years from now, teenagers have learned that shaving their hair at the haptic cable's point of contact allows them to overclock their game's tactile feedback. As well as boosting the signal and muscle memory retention, the shaved stripes become a subcultural indicator of sorts." Read the rest
(EFF co-founder) John Gilmore summed up the accomplishments of the cypherpunks in a recent email: "We did reshape the world," he wrote. "We broke encryption loose from government control in the commercial and free software world, in a big way. We built solid encryption and both circumvented and changed the corrupt US legal regime so that strong encryption could be developed by anyone worldwide and deployed by anyone worldwide," including WikiLeaks."Cypherpunk rising: WikiLeaks, encryption, and the coming surveillance dystopia" Read the rest
As the 1990s rolled forward, many cypherpunks went to work for the man, bringing strong crypto to financial services and banks (on the whole, probably better than the alternative). Still, crypto-activism continued and the cypherpunk mailing list blossomed as an exchange for both practical encryption data and spirited, sometimes-gleeful argumentation, before finally peaking in 1997. This was when cypherpunk’s mindshare seemed to recede, possibly in proportion to the utopian effervescence of the early cyberculture. But the cypherpunk meme may now be finding a sort of rebirth in one of the biggest and most important stories in the fledgeling 21st century.