Tag Archive: cyberpunk

The Onion shows us the only news that matters – the news from THE FUTURE.

(I’m soon to run a cyberpunk-setting pen-and-paper RPG with some friends and this is just perfect setting fodder!  Marvelous slang.)

3 protein cubes on a black plate, served with two condiments in pipettes

Three protein cubes, served with pipettes of condiments

In my ongoing search for sci-fi food that’s not just Gagh or Solyent Green, my mind often returns to the sci-fi staple of protein or nutrient blocks.  I know we can buy a ‘meal in a can’ and energy bars, etc. but they’re all a little too appetizing for me!  Instead, I’ve made some miniature, individual tuna loaves, with coloring.

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I’ve been harboring a disatisfaction for a while now – a genre-specific ennui or maybe a ‘presque vu‘ for a setting I’ve not found yet.  I keep wondering where the cool has gone – where the slinky sexy brain-popping amazement at a world that makes me ache to learn more about it.  Not just one world, either – but a raft of them – a set of settings, a Venn diagram of visions, a taste of a future.

But I can’t find it.  I want the new that’s newer than new, and everything I’m seeing looks like it was hit with a mallet in the late 90’s and stands there stunned and stationary.  Take a look at the media that’s around – and you’ll find the ‘future’ is drawn with an architects care – it’s been shaded in, coloured, lit and polished and ever so dead.  It’s evil corporations and punks with mechanical hands, it’s kids hacking into their school computers and heroines on cyber-heroin.  It’s bloody well been done!

Where’s the new!  Where’s the stuff that makes me reel with the possibilities – makes me wonder how I couldn’t see it coming, and how we can possibly manage to ride that rollercoaster?  I don’t mean uploading consciousnesses into the singularity, I certainly don’t mean augmented reality in the daily life – nor clones, genetic engineering or any other dozen or so passe cyberpunk identifying marks that are in most instances – OLDER THAN I AM.

I mean really – the screenplay for Bladerunner was written when I was deciding whether to be a breech birth or a C-section – and it was based on a book from 1968!  That was 44 years ago, and our vision of ‘the future’ has barely moved on.

I’m desperately hoping that I’m just looking in the wrong places – that I only have myself to blame for using old search terms like cyberpunk (no – I have no interest in neon-coloured dreadlocks and spiked goggles, thanks), singularity and sci-fi.  That, like some equally cliched fantasy character, if I could only find the right magic word, I could unlock a wealth of brain-buzzing wealth.

At the heart of it, though, is an annoyance with myself – surely,  if I knew what I was looking for – really knew – then I’d be able to find it.  But I don’t know – much like pornography, I believe I’ll know it when I see it.  I keep getting little flashes of interest – a piece of concept art here, a collection of short stories there – but it all seems so… decadent?  On the decline?  Like the Roman Empire in its final days.  Comfortable in its skin and evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Where is it?  Where is the new?  What’s the magic searching word and where’s the raw, rough, risky vision of a mindblowing future that chews me up and spits me out?

I’ve not finished watching this yet, but from the 5 minutes I’ve seen so far, out of the 20, it’s amazing.  Richly detailed, oppressive, dark and beautiful – this cyberpunk/dystopian short from Luke Scott (and Ridley Scott) simply drips, reeks and oozes style.

A plate of fried seitan with onion

Seitan (gluten) fried with onions

Again, I’m looking into sci-fi food – space food, cyberpunk food, weird food and unusual food.  Last night’s obsession was seitan – wheat gluten from flour.  Recipe and waffle below.

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Concept art from Deus Ex: Human Revolutions, for Adam Jensen's apartment (with candelabra)

Concept art for Jensen's apartment in Deux Ex: Human Revolutions - note the candelabra

I’ve been playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and reveling in the stealth-puzzle options available to me.  It means I spend a lot of time in one area, creeping around like the Creeping Kid, and because I’ve turned off the object highlighting and mission arrows, I need to actually look at the environments.

One environment that struck me more than many others, was Jensen’s apartment – the second the artificially intelligent door opened for me, I was drinking in the strong Bladerunner vibe.  Noir-ish lighting spills through room high, slatted windows, casting long dark shadows across the jumble and accumulated debris of Adam’s life and upheaval – it feels like a refugee from Tron was put under house arrest in a long abandoned, 18th Century Parisian flat.  In short, I liked it.

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A selection of 5 printed hair clips - forest green, royal blue, sunflower yellow, black, and striped red and blue

A Selection of 3d Printed Hair Clips - Green, Black, Blue, Yellow and Striped

In 2007 I read a novella by Bruce Sterling called Kiosk.  The main character, Borislav, is a humble, limping man from a cold, Eastern European country who owns a street kiosk selling 3d printed tchotchkes.  A young girl called Jovanica is a regular customer – returning day after day with her pocket-money to buy 3d printed barrettes, hair clips and scrunchies – she’s the trend setter of the area.  She picks out the coolest hair toys and leads the next hair toy craze – with Borislav’s kiosk being the only supplier.

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I admit; I’m terrible at chess, so I find it somewhat peculiar that I have a love of, and some small amount of skill in, top-down, turn-based, strategy games like XCOM and Valkyria Chronicles.  While the royal game has me getting lost in permutations, games like Frozen Synapse have me bluffing and double-bluffing my opponents like Sun Tzu himself.

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