San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series
November 1, 2012 - DeGolyer Library 6 - 8 p.m.
Reception: Texana Room, 6 p.m.
Lecture: Stanley Marcus Reading Room, 6:30 p.m.
"The Ecology of Neuromancer: Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, and High Orbit in Planetary Context."
This talk updates our historical perspective on William Gibson’s celebrated cyberpunk classic of 1983, Neuromancer. For good reason, readers have largely fixated on its vivid virtual world. Gibson famously invents both the term cyberspace and its conception as an emergent and interactive reality of globally interconnected computation. However, while taking cyberspace along with it, Neuromancer upshifts from its initial Earthbound settings to an “archipelago” of high-orbital space colonies. These orbital settings have ecological requirements that subtly inflect the latter half of the text, as well as a remarkable but unappreciated provenance that ties Neuromancer back to the cybernetic counterculture of the mid-1970s. We will rediscover the fascinating mix of ecology, space technology, and outlaw communalism Gibson would tap to keep Neuromancer’s digital feet on the ground, even while in floating in space.