Category Archives: ENGH 451

House of Scorpion

Before I go into the difference in House of Scorpions, I wanted to note a couple of things. This book is fairytale-ish, yet it tackles the very thorny social issue of cloning. The names of the characters are particularly interesting because of their actual meanings compared to the meanings in the text/context: Matteo – gift of God; mi vida – my life; El Patrón – patron, someone who is charitable, philanthropic; Felicia – happy; Benito – blessed; Fani – free; Esperanza – hope; Fidelito – little loyal one; and Celia – blind (to name a few). It is ironic that Maria, the one who seeks to save every animal and person, is the same name as La Llorona. There is a LOT of play on names in this book (maybe for another blog – you can look up the names on just about any baby name website).

What is notably absent is the overt technology (which we will later see towards the end of the book) and sometimes overbearing degree of social commentary. It’s somewhat disorienting to have biomedical advances such as cloning and implants in a place where residents live like their ancestors some 100 years ago. The setting is very rural, with the eejits (slaves) tending the fields, a southern-like dysfunctional extended family creating havoc in what feels like a horrendously humid house (only the computers get constant AC and for parties). One of the first scenes I found jarring was when Matt and Tam ride the safe horse instead of some hovercraft (like they do later in the book). Another scene I found particularly striking is the “birds and the bees scene” between Matt and Tam when Matt first asks if he is a “machine” (80) then later asks where he came from (80). Tam’s responds that he is not a machine, but at the same time, he’s not real either (80). Instead of “machines” working the fields, eejits work the field but they are, in essence, machines, they have no awareness of themselves or others and are incapable of following anything more than a simple script of actions; Matt and Tam find a dead eejit in the field (77). It is here that Matt begins to really learn what an eejit is, “human” and animal (both must be told to drink). What I find rather unsettling is people, like the Alacrans look at clones as animals, yet use them like machines. At the same time there is this realization, perhaps on a more subconscious level, that the clones need to be turned into eejits by being “injected with a kind of drug. It turns them into idiots” 125). Later Mr. Alacran explains why El Viejo seems older than his grandfather, because El Viejo believes “implants were immoral” (106). As the book progresses, it seems that El Patrón has kept Opium in a pre-industrialized state to a large degree (not even pre-technology!).  I’m not sure why Farmer decides to have Opium in this time-state, except to maybe focus on the social issue of clones. But what I find different, very different, is I don’t feel like it needs to be set in some bleak (or shiny) futuristic place of flying vehicles and floating buildings to be science fiction. While there are hints throughout the book about a more advanced yet degraded (e.g., deadly Colorado River) society that appears late in the book and satisfy the reader’s need for this futuristic world, I don’t find myself missing it, or taking away from the book.


Sarasti on Blindsight (192)

There is more, a whole catalogue of finely-tuned dysfunctions that Rorschach will inflict on them. Somnambulism. Agnosias. Hemineglect. ConSensus serves up a freak show to make any mind reel at its own fragility: a woman dying of thirst within easy reach of water, not because she can’t see the faucet but because she can’t recognize it. A man for whom the left side of the universe does not exist, who can neither perceive nor conceive of the left side of his body, of a room, of a line of text. A man for whom the very concept of leftness becomes literally unthinkable. They know this, but they don’t know they know this. They are blind to what cannot, should not be considered.

     Sometimes they can conceive of things and still not see them, although they stand right before them. Skyscrapers appear out of thin air, the person talking to them changes into someone else during a momentary distraction – and they don’t notice. It isn’t magic. It’s not even misdirection. I call it intentional blindness: a tendency for the human eye to simply not notice things that evolutionary experience classifies as unlikely. Humans, particularly baselines, are incapable of seeing multiple world views. Seeing multiple world views simultaneously is simply beyond their comprehension. They feel the need to choose the right answer, that only one world view can be correct. Perhaps, that is what gives them this emotion they call hope.

I find it much like Szpindel’s blindsight, a malady not in which the sighted believe they are blind but one in which the blind insist they can see. The sighted never believe they are blind, never believe there is any other perspective than their own. The sighted deem sight as infallible, inscrutable, and, most of all shared. Humans believe, or want to believe, that everyone sees the same image, shares their world view. A baseline human being is primitive to them, incapable of seeing, perceiving. There is a prejudice to their natural state. They think enhancements make them super human; their enhancements dehumanize them. They think anything different is unacceptable, anything unlikely is unthinkable. It’s all about acceptance for humans; they want to be accepted and to be able to accept.

 Even Siri. But he too is human, more human than he cares to admit. He pretends to have no feelings, but he has more feelings than any of them. Yet, he is a lot like me; he knows there are other world views but fails to understand them, embrace them. He is incapable of juggling world views. For him, every world view only exists in its respective compartment. Competing world view cannot coexist. Humans exist within a self-imposed binary. For them, competing world views occupy this thing they call the future. For me, it’s just an inevitable consequence. For them, time is linear, hence why competing world views cannot coexist. For me, time is multidimensional, allowing for infinite combinations.

     Rorschach challenges their ability to see and comprehend. It makes the unlikely likely to the affected human, yet the other humans still see it as unlikely. They cannot comprehend the multiple world views that Rorschach throws at them. Rorschach knows this. I know Rorschach.

     They never had a chance.

(excerpted and modified from page 192)

 I chose to examine the definition of blindsight from Sarasti’s view point because prior to this, all definitions were from humans, albeit some were more baseline than others. Sarasti’s world views are unique in that he can hold them simultaneously and his perception of time is multidimensional, hence why he always talks in present tense. I would have like to have seen Sarasti’s character developed more fully, instead of being just a vampire.

     Original text is in black, new text is in red (for vampire!). Some of the changes are verb tenses, but other changes are Sarasti’s way of thinking, of explaining what blindsight is. Since he is basically the only one who can hold simultaneous world views, it’s appropriate to get his view on blindsight. Siri has the awareness but struggles with holding a world view, much less trying to comprehend simultaneous world views. I think it is legitimate to explore and examine, imagine how Sarasti comes to try to understand Siri, othewise what was the point of saving him at the end? While there is lack of feelings, I think Sarasti’s motivation is because he can hold multiple world views simultaneous and understands what needs to be done. I also think Sarasti understands humans far more than humans would care for him, or any vampire to. 


“Oh God, how I treasure it. I treasure every word.” (359)

It’s ironic that Sarasti returns Siri to a more human state, that the predator “saves” the prey in the face of his own (Sarasti’s) extinction. Siri spends his life with little to no emotional affect. Where Helen fails to humanize Siri, Chelsea begins to bring out the “human” in him, and finally Sarasti brings it out of him, albeit very traumatically. More importantly is Siri’s recognition and awareness of his human-ness. He realizes he is “as blind now as any baseline” (359) and later acknowledges Sarasti humanized him (361). Yet, the critical moment is his moment of self-awareness about his human-ness, when he says, “Oh God, how I treasure it. I treasure every word” (359). He has yet to understand as he ponders, “So much power my father must have had, to be able to broadcast and yet waste so much of it on feeling” (358).

In retrospect, Helen’s manipulations were doomed to fail because she was unable to see beyond her own world and motivations, particularly to pit Siri against his father (Why are familial relationships always strained in Sci-Fi?). Chelsea was very much like Helen in this regard, although her motivations though selfish were to be with Siri. Neither woman could truly understand Siri, his general lack of emotional affect. I did find it odd that Siri wanted to please her – was it more “propaganda” like when he went to Pag’s defense? Sarasti seems like the only plausible person to be able to shake Siri up, partly because he is capable of holding “simultaneous multiple worldview” (61), and partly because there is something remotely and truly human about Sarasti.

Sarasti also seems to be the only one not afflicted by blindsight, the inability to see the unlikely (192).  I don’t necessarily agree with the assessment that he (vampires) are sociopaths (or even apathetic) because that is perspective-bound, but instead I find his lack of emotional affect, much like Siri’s, to be a result of circumstances – Sarasti’s inherent vampire rait and Siri’s half-brain surgery. Sarasti’s human-like traits, his motivation to act as he did to Siri, seemed to be part of some collective memory, genetically embedded, deeply so, whereas Siri’s human-like traits seem to be directly hereditary, from his mother and father (who we later find out from inference is a feeling person).

I find the quote (from the title) particularly striking because for much of the book, Siri and his shipmates try to asses and analyze evolving situations with little regard for human needs; they are enhanced for specific functions, of which first person sex is not one of them. I followed Siri’s struggle with his relationship with Chelsea. I think he genuinely cared for her, loved her even but was stymied as how to express himself emotionally and, ultimately, tries to meet her expectations (which we all know ends badly, as any relationship does where one person has to give the sense of self); the Chelsea death scene is particularly wrenching as we watch Siri struggle.  I find it interesting that he said “it” and not “him” (his father) and every and not his (his father’s) words, as if to suggest there is awareness and realization but lack of understanding. The whole book revolves around the notion of human-ness and perspectives. I find it interesting the most human people are the ones that are able to understand multiple perspectives, and those who are unable to are blindsighted not only to what they don’t want to see or is unlikely, but to things they refuse to see.  I think it’s ironic that he treasures something he was blindsighted to before – feelings. It is somewhat unfortunate he is too late for Chelsea or his father.


Lilith’s Brood: A Letter to Akin

Dearest Akin,

My little adventurer, a child after my heart who will share my wanderlust. As we feel you kick inside, we can only imagine who you will look like, who you will be like, though Little Mother Ahajas, Dichaan and Nikanj say they know what you will be like. I hope you are healthy; they say you are healthy. Ahajas thinks you will be a boy;  Dichaan also thinks you will be a boy. Nikanj Ooan, too, thinks you will be a boy, but I think it secretly hopes that you will be something extraordinary, something else. It says you will be the first construct male; human males are far too dangerous (they say). Whatever you are, I wish you healthy and happiness.

Being the first construct male will be difficult. You will live straddling two worlds, never fully in either or both. You will understand most (if not all) but find great difficulty in being understood (at all) by one, much less both. For this reason, you must learn to bridge the gap between Humans and the Oankali. While you may have the genetic superiority granted by your Oankali roots, you will also have emotional superiority granted by your Human roots. Learn to make Human expressions to show your Human emotions. Make friends, Human, Oankali, Constructs, where you can – nevermind age old notions and prejudices; they serve no purpose now. Show compassion to those who do not understand. Do not commit violence out of fear; learn to listen, to see, to feel. Use your Human an Oankali senses to guide you.

You destiny is here on earth, nowhere else. Do not be tempted to leave. The Human race, as I have known it, will eventually be consumed by Oankali. Do not resist (we were dying, killing each other off anyhow). The Human essence will remain despite changes in outward appearances and modifications to our weak Human bodies. It is this essence  and improved bodies that will make Humans better than ever. You are the first male of this improved Human race. Help others see this change as a great change! I have a feeling you will accomplish great things! Too bad Joseph Father cannot see you, he would have loved you dearly, he would have been so proud of you!

Love,

Mother Lilith


Lilith’s BROOD: Who has agency? (SPOILER ALERT!!!)

*******SPOILER ALERT*******

The following entry discusses the ENTIRE book, particularly Akin and  Jodah who is in Imago (mostly … a more than good enough reason to read the entire book!).

After our class discussion, I was wondering why Lilith was even on the cover at all. It’s about her brood, specifically Akin, the first construct male, and Jodah, a construct oolio, the first of his kind (I STRONGLY URGE you to read Imago as it answers a lot of questions you might have.). In the end, we return to that question – what does it mean to be human? In the often quixotic quest to answer the question of human-ness, we revisit the same questions over and over. Who has agency? Who has free will? Who has free choice?

There is some contention that Lilith has agency, is somehow empowered, but I disagree. As the story progresses, she is less and less in control, less empowered, her free will biochemically robbed, and her free choice is really her only choice. While she retains her human-ness despite being a parent to several constructs it is with great limitations imposed by the Oankali and its societal familial structure. By Imago, the story shifts to Jodah; there is very little mention of her, and certainly nothing new – she is so un-empowered and disenfranchised, it’s like she’s almost not there …. and that’s why I think Akin and/or Jodah should be on the cover, not her … but then he’s turned into a hideous Oankali oolio!

Let’s first look at her realization that she is quite dis-empowered when she thinks, ” They probably had not lied about that. Maybe they had not lied about anything. Why should they bother to lie? They owned the Earth and all that was left of the human species. How was it that she had not been able to take what Jdahya offered?” (59). What choice does she really have? Not much: return to “sleep” or do what Jdahya wants. She has her human free will and limited free choice but lacks agency though she tries to exert it. In her interaction with Titus, he says, “Don’t do what they expect – just for once. Don’t let them play you like a puppet” (93). Yet in the end, it is Titus who behaves exactly how the Oankali expect a dangerous human male to act. After Peter dies, the survivors note, “He died human!” (196), yet Lilith replies, “So what? What’s changed? On Earth we can change things. Not here” (196). The respondent, who is purposely ambiguous, responds, “Will we want to by then? What will we be, I wonder? Not human. Not anymore” (196). While Lilith and the newly Awakened have free will and limited choice, their ability to act on their world, have agency, is severely hampered by the constraints of the Oankali and the environment. Later, Nikanj impregnates Lilith with Joseph’s seed to make a daughter companion for her (246); this revelation is shocking to Lilith as she’s had the illusion she’s had some power to act in her world, when in fact she has none, the Oankali watch and act according to their plans. Much later in the book, Akin, Lilith’s construct male child, is kidnapped to be sold to no other than Tate and Gabe! Yet at that point, instead of going immediately to search for her lost 3 year old Akin, she attends to the birth of the construct child of her Oankali female mate, Akin’s Oankali sibling that he never properly bonds to. Lo is far more evolved than any of the resister towns, yet has the least amount of free will, free choice and agency. The Lo daily routine is dictated by Oankali societal norms, which in turn is pretty much dictated by oolios (so much for them not being hierarchical). The resisters are no better off, though the have a lot of free will and, seemingly a lot of free choice, they in fact have been robbed of their most important choice, reproduction; their agency is but an illusion.  The only resister camp that remotely has any agency is Jesusa and Tomas’ village. While their village has fertile humans, it is plagued by inbreeding and neurofibromatosis, they start out with some measure of agency, but they soon realize they are dying and only the oolio intervention will prevent them from going extinct thus limiting their free will, choices, and greatly diminishing their agency because there is a price to pay to have an oolio (mated human pair). So as the story goes on, it seems that the Oankali have agency, but that too is an illusion, a form of denial, omission; they are in fact very hive minded (borg-like to me).

Lilith later contemplates, “How could she Awaken people and tell them that unless they could escape the Oankali, their children would not be human?” (117), but she awakens them nonetheless (how terrible to have to decide who to wake up in what order!). Yet later in the book, she regards all her construct offspring as her children (human endearment).  When Akin is kidnapped, Kaliq says about Akin, “He looks okay [human0, that’s what’s important” (341). Neci is severely misguided thinking by chopping off the girls tentacles, exclaiming to Tate, “Why should I? They would be better off without them [tentacles] – more Human!”  (400); she later tries to kill the oolios by fire yet fails. The sense of agency hinges upon the respective species ability to be and appear as themselves – Oankali and Human; to each, it’s black or white, a sum of the whole which Tino and Dichaan examine:

The resisters haven’t betrayed themselves or their Humanity. They haven’t helped you do what you’re doing. They may not be able to stop you, but they haven’t helped you (425). [Tino]

If all Humans were like them, our construct children would be much less Human, no matter how they looked. They would know only what we could teach them of Humans. Would that be better” (425)? [Dichaan]

I tell myself it wouldn’t, […] And to get what I wanted, I’ve betrayed everything I once was (425). [Tino]

It never occurs to them that there is some middle ground. This is further explored when Akin and Dichaan talk about Akin’s metamorphosis:

Then it will be an Oankali species. It will grow and divide as Oankali always have, and it will  call itself Oankali” (443). [Akin]

It will be Oankali (443). [Dichaan]

And Humans will be extinct, just as they believe (443). [Akin]

But we will be Oankali. They will only be … something we consumed 9443) [Dichaan]

It seems like Dichaan has agency, but he doesn’t. He is under the illusion he has agency, free will, free choice, but he really doesn’t. It’s Akin (and later Jodah) who starts to have agency. Keep in mind until his metamorphosis, Akin looked entirely human except for his tongue (easily hidden); he even enjoys a lot of sex with resister women (they find him irresistible …).  In the mean time, some of the humans believe Mars will offer humans a chance to start over, to have and exert free will and choice. Yori wonders, “Why did the Oankali cause this? Why didn’t they offer us Mars years ago” (501)? Clearly, agency is not only tied to identity but location – or is it? Or is it a self-awareness clean of denial and illusions that grants agency? Is it Jodah’s thought that, “I’m Human enough to understand what they’re trying to do” 637)? Or is it his realization of his duality when he says he wants to try to get Mars, “for the Humans and for the Human part of me. Not for the Oankali” (459)?  [Akin talking to Akjai]  Or is it Akin’s willingness as a sub-adult to advocate for Mars for the humans ? Or is when he finally succeeds in getting Akjai to speak for him to the Oankali and get Mars? Do the humans on Mars have agency? If so, how? (There is very little mention of Mars so, of course, it’s pure speculation.)

I am left wondering why I spent much of the book seeing the illusion of agency, never really being able to say any one particular character has agency, and the only character that ever truly has agency is Akin and Jodah.  Does Butler toy with, challenge our notion of agency and its multi-faceted and multi-perspective aspects? I think if you look carefully at Akin and Jodah, you will see in it, the embodiment of agency – Human and Oankali.


In Response to: Crappy romance novels and Lilith’s Brood, or Why Book Covers Matter

In defense of the cover:
Lilith is described of dark(er) skinned, and her hair is described as pictured on the cover. The white “cloth” is or seems representational of Oankali cloth made on the ship and in Lo that is impervious to fire, and presumably earthly dirt and grime.

I found Lilith anything but empowered (particularly at the end of the book).


WE3: In Response to Freud – Rabbit Run Rabbit (says Updike)

In response to Matthew’s post on WE3 and Freud, I find the argument a compelling interpretation.  I’m going to propose a different interpretation: perhaps, they are returning to their pet “selves”.  Could it be home is not a place but a state of being? Or rather returning to the state of being a pet, animal? Finding their lost selves? Remember, each one of these guys was a lost pet.

Bandit (so typical and uninspiring)

He says “gud” and “bad” a lot. Think about how we (humans) raise dogs. GOOD DOG! BAD DOG! Small wonder that Bandit lives in a black and white world of “gud” and”bad”. His ability to talk only verbalizes, adds to his behavior – he just wants to please.

Tinker (lamest name ever for a badass cat)

He just seems like a really angry cat -laid back ears and very destructive behavior. Is his aggression from his technology or natural inclinations and instincts (this seems indistinguishable to me)? Think about how cats are. They do as they please. Tinker wants to be pleased.

Pirate (my favorite character)

On a personal note, Pirate reminds me of Efrim (the rabbit my son had). Rabbits are actually quite smart and social (look at the page where Pirate is amongst real – natural – rabbits). They have some interesting qualities: they can be very eager to please but usually confined to one human person (though they are very social among themselves); they can be pretty mean and very destructive; and, they are long suffering without a sound, a way to complain (other than a high shriek). Rabbits just like to do their thing (i.e., non-stop eating), that’s what pleases them the most. For some reason, Pirate reminds me of Harry Angstrom in Updike’s Rabbit, Run – he really never stood a chance, no matter how fast he ran, or how hard he tried.

Reverting back to pets (or regained humanity)

So, as an additional layer of interpretation, is this a commentary about technology and human-ness? Can or will technology overtake our human-ness? Will we, humans, have the ability to shed our dependence on technology? No matter how much technology we pile on a human, does the essence of human-ness remain and eventually resurface?

I see this story not of finding the place called home, but finding home the return to their animal, pet, nature, state. Yes, the Freudian analysis is very interesting and compelling. It’s not all encompassing, but another lens with which to examine and explore the dynamics of the WE3 animals.

Who is Pirate telling to run? Bandit and Tinker? The rabbits in the field? Or is he talking about himself in third person?

Maybe they should have run …. (who’s telling who to run?). Why are the rabbits standing at attention even though someone is yelling “run!”? How do they or do they see Pirate (and the others?) Why are they not afraid and run right away (as they normally would)? Do they hear Pirate first and assume he is “one of them”, then only run when they see him? How does this affect the interpretation of these scenes, of Pirate, Bandit and Tinker? I think the ambiguity here is intentional and, at the same time, makes a strong statement about nature (human) versus technology and how it is viewed.


WE3 ATTACK!!!

I like how the attack is shown in little boxes set against a backdrop (pp 50-1). Each animal’s attack is depicted in the little boxes.

Eyes

The human eyes either show fear or are gouged out. The glasses that are shot out suggests man can’t hide. However, the dog’s eye is like a red mirror. What’s up with that? The cat’s eyes at the bottom of p 50 show the cat’s mood as he closes in on the kill.

Irony

The rabbit’s foot certainly didn’t bring the men any luck! It’s interesting it’s placed right next to the man’s blown off boot. The WE3 rip the humans into parts, much like the humans added artificial parts and medicine to the WE3.

Symbolism

No foot on the pedal = loss of control by man?

missing teeth = inability to speak well maybe?

Attacks

Although the rabbit isn’t depicted, it appears that he attacks based on the open mouth in the top frame of page 50. Another indicator of rabbit attack (poison) could be the dialated pupil in the bottom panel on page 51. The cat seems to be the most unpredictable and have the nastiest attack of the WE3.

Thoughts

Insofar as the story, this scene is important because it truly attributes human qualities to the animals who, ironically, just want to go home to be pets. At the same time, the animals learn an important lesson about betrayal and fight back as a team. It’s interesting that the nastiest and most unpredictable of the WE3 is named Tinker, whereas there is Pirate the bunny and Bandit the dog who are comparatively mellow. Tinker has anger issues – clearly! I’m curious as to why we see so little of Pirate. The transfiguration of the cat claw through the human hand is so biblical I’m not sure what to make of it.

Design

It’s interesting that the cat and dog are proportionally huge compared to when they are in the lab or, on these pages, attacking something presumably much larger than themselves. The same hue of green is seen on page 51 – top and bottom – suggesting perhaps teamwork? It’s also interesting that some boxes I expected to be large, are large – that is, the size of the box corresponds to the weighted importance to the story. I like that this was done in landscape over two pages. I think some of the effect would be lost if it had been done in portrait landscape. I am curious as to why the cat attacks are set against a warm to neutral background, whereas the dogs is set against cool to neutral backgrounds. The black that frames the attacks is interesting in that the human soldiers are in black, much like a shadow. Is this intentional? If so, what does it mean? Does it reflect the secretive nature of WE3, why they are trying to be covert?


Neuromancer and Amazon: The Matrix!

I was looking at Amazon’s new web browser Silk. It feels a lot like the beginnings of the matrix – there is going to be so much stuff in the “cloud” (aka matrix). Sure Opera and Skyfire did that, BUT Amazon will be a HUGE and CENTRALIZED place for all this stuff!!  Exciting and scary!

Here are some links:

http://amazonsilk.wordpress.com/

http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/28/amazon-silk-mobile-browser-spins-a-faster-mobile-web-courtesy-o/

http://www.pcworld.com/article/240805/amazons_silk_browser_may_not_be_smooth_when_it_comes_to_privacy.html

Just google away to find more stuff!


Neuromancer: Time Vertigo

I’m OK with the new words and old words used in new ways, I’m OK with the technology-machinistic nature of people, places and things.  BUT, the context of time seems to be notably missing from Neuromancer. I’m not sure why, even now, I still feel the need to have this context.    It’s pretty clear things move along pretty quick, but still Gibson teases with little tidbits but never really lets me pinpoint when this is all taking place. There is a strange juxtaposition of old and new things which I try to interpret and assign meaning to but fall short of (maybe I shouldn’t be trying to?). But what I find particularly unsettling is that time does not seem to progress singularly, in an ordered linear fashion (maybe the simstin?). For some reason, not being able to pinpoint a time that this takes place, makes it hard to for me to visualize people, places and things – arrange things in my mind. Additionally, some of the imagery presents conflicting information because when the book was written, many of the things did not exist, but came later, well after the book was published!

I think I’m getting time vertigo! The resulting cognitive dissonance is not only unsettling, but makes it difficult for me to follow what’s going on, who’s who and where they really are (meat vs matrix). I find myself re-reading passages over and over, as if doubting my understanding, interpretation. I’m pretty close to the end of the book now and have a pretty good grasp of these things, but it sure has taken a lot of reading!!!

I’m only going to discuss the instances in chapters 7-12 for the sake of brevity (or at least the attempt of).

Travel Agent Anyone?

The Mercedes, train and tug: I find it odd that they are driving a car when they have technology to enter the matrix and rebuild a man (think Bionic man, “we can rebuild him, we have the technology” Armitage reminds me of the Bionic Man, maybe the Cold War reference, military?).

He never really says how fast the trains are, though I would hope they’d beat a bullet train hands down. The most unsettling mode of transportation is the tug. The modes of transportation seem oddly juxtaposed with the current technology, perhaps as a comparative contrast to highlight the technology?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_hotel

CHEAP HOTEL!!!

CHEAP HOTEL!

Their rooms, in Chiba (ch 1) and in Beyoglu (ch7) are called coffins. Yet this type of accommodation would not come about until much later after the book was published. The coffins probably looked like these capsule hotels, albeit with a portal. Not sure two people would fit in there though! But after a day in the matrix, might be just the right thing!

http://tessier-ashpool-cyberpunk.blogspot.com/

matrix - all vegan, no meat!

 

I found this picture of the matrix, to help erase the persistent (and nagging) image I purposely didn’t post. I’m still trying to visualize the construct Flatline and Wintermute (because they seem to have more personality than the real people).

 

Allusions (and foreshadowing) to some really old stuff:

Zion: Is this the old Jerusalem or new Jerusalem? Is this a future world?

Jules Verne: Could this be a tribute to one of the greatest Sci-Fi writers? Or did he share Verne’s dislike of the French?

Marcus Garvey Tug:  “Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country…” foreshadowing Wintermute and Neuromancer?

To sum it up ….

Gibson’s shifting in and out of time:

  • meat vs matrix
  • old icons vs new icons
  • presenting new things before they were ever invented and trying to read it from the perspective of someone reading it when it was first published (quixotic quest)
makes it hard to pinpoint a time, makes it difficult to follow. Gibson presents conflicting images and imagery that make time elusive for me. I still feel like I need to understand how time is working (other than everything moves fast, really fast) within some sort of context.