Mondo 2000: An Open Source History

In the cyberdelic daze of the early 1990s, Mondo 2000 was the publication-of-record. Founded by our dear pal RU Sirius, it was not just a magazine (with an expiration date), but a "strange attractor" for freaks interested in the new edge of computers, pranks, digital art, fringe culture, psychedelics, consciousness, weird science, and hacking. In fact, Mondo was one of the main magnets that drew me to San Francisco in 1992. To chronicle the Mondo moment and its impact, RU has launched a new project to create a Web history and book, and he's created a Kickstarter page to gather funding to make it happen. From the project page for Mondo 2000: An Open Source History (cover gallery above from

 Bcp Bcpgraf Graphics Mondo2000

An Open Source History is a web project and a book. All those who touched directly upon the history of the scene/magazine (including the earlier versions, High Frontiers and Reality Hackers) will be invited to write — or, in some cases, speak on video or audio — their stories and perceptions. Additionally, small groups of people will be encouraged to get together and record conversations. These will be posted on a private page available only to other participants. Participants will have the opportunity to insert comments into the text or add fresh entries.

At the end of the process, estimated to take approximately two years, a collaboratively-edited electronic document will be released on the web. A more closely-edited print book composed of selections from this process — edited by Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius (that's me!) with Morgan Russell — will be published. Finally, the video footage might be rolled into a Mondo 2000 film documentary.

I will be a major participant in this process, essentially writing my own full and complete memoir of this time and posting most of these in fragments on the collaborative site.

Mondo 2000's history is an exhilarating and weird tale of early digital culture, drugs, sex, surrealism, gonzo anthropology, death, digital culture, media hype, conspiracy paranoia, celebrities, transhumanism, irresponsible journalism, appropriation, hackers, pranks, theft, fun and desktop publishing. This mostly true article from the SF Weekly tells only part of the story.

Many extraordinarily talented writers, artists, scientists, and outsider philosophers participated in the Mondo 2000 experience and there are marvelous tales to be told. If we can get even 20% of them to participate, we may have final proof that collaborative narratives don't have to suck.

MONDO 2000: An Open Source History