Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

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Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology

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The reflection of Neo in Morpheus’ lenses is perhaps meant as a precursor to what he becomes — a virtual image of the future savior. In these scenes, the liquid metal is less about fashion and more in tune with a certain philosophical point of view.

Tokyo's Hayakawa's SF Magazine was the first publication ever to produce an "all-cyberpunk" issue, in November 1986. While I may not like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, I am not ignorant when it comes to their importance in popularizing and shaping the genre. At this point, Marie Antoinette arrives, shouting angrily at Mozart, who had promised that if she led Rice into the trap, he would obtain a Green Card for her. While the 1995 movie adaptation of Gibson’s story, Johnny Mnemonic, featured Molly renamed as Jane, and with no visual augmentations, the Wachowski Brothers brought her back to the trilogy that kept cyberpunk alive and kicking for the next century. They’re semiotic phantoms, bits of deep cultural imagery that have split off and taken on a life of their own, like the Jules Verne airships that those old Kansas farmers were always seeing.

but I thought that stretched the genre by taking it into a contemporary future rather than a 1980s future and I thought Morgan took the opposit tack, taking the genre right back to its roots in Chandler and hardboiled fiction. No wonder his hands shook—talk about the cutting edge of high technology all you want, but someone’s got to hold the knife. Mirrorshades—preferably in chrome and matte black, the Movement's totem colors — appeared in story after story, as a kind of literary badge.

Some find the results bizarre, even monstrous; for others this integration is a powerful source of hope. Curved partitions in trans-lucent foam, glowing with the soft lights placed behind them, marked a central area, then undulated away, forming a corridor that led into darkness. When I opened them, I willed myself to see the mileage meter, the pale road dust on the black plastic dashboard, the overflowing ashtray.

The cyberpunks are perhaps the first SF generation to grow up not only within the literary tradition of science fiction but in a truly science-fictional world.

To get the mirrored effect, brands started using different materials and sometimes even metals when covering the lenses. Which made a certain kind of sense, because the most successful American designers had been recruited from the ranks of Broadway theater designers.But the mind had its own ideas, and Kihn’s opinion of what I was already thinking of as my ‘sighting’ rattled endlessly through my head in a tight, lopsided orbit. The man came tumbling through the hatch, more or less helpless in free fall, but Innis could see him figuring it out, willing the muscles to quit struggling, quit trying to cope with a gravity that simply wasn’t there. Had red, glowing eyes like two cigar stubs and telescoping chrome antennas poking up behind its ears. Cyberpunk (a term said to have been coined by editor Gardner Dozois) was the most vigorous movement in the American SF of the 1980s; an attempt to combine New Wave literary virtues with punk-rock energy and a respect for high technology -- in other words, hard SF done with style and a supposedly streetwise sensibility.

The rest of the decade may well see a general plague of movements, led by an increasingly volatile and numerous Eighties generation. By playing with anachronisms, the story features a 15-year-old Mozart, who sports all the qualities of a stereotypical millennial — as if the authors managed to predict the youth of today way back in the 80s. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout the Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker underground; in the jarring street tech of hip-hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo.I wondered what time it was in London, and tried to imagine Dialta Downes having breakfast in her Hampstead flat, surrounded by streamlined chrome figurines and books on American culture. Cyberpunk is a product of the Eighties milieu—in some sense, as I hope to show later, a definitive product. It is also a coming of maturity for science fiction as the dominant form of postmodern literary expression. Aleph had observed George Jordan’s arrival, his tossing on his bunk, his interview with Charley Hughes.

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