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Cyberpunk Day in LA with Bruce Sterling

The Rudy Rucker Podcasts feed has my talk on my Journals from May 1, 2015. Click the icon:

Video of the USC Cyberpunk day panel is still to come.
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My April 30, 2015 blog post:

I’m giving a talk about my Journals 1990-2014 on Friday night at 7:30 above Logos Books in Santa Cruz. Details in this image below. “Santa Cruz College” is just a manner of speaking, the sponsoring group isn’t “really” a college.

Last weekend I was at the University of Southern California in LA for a day of talks, panels, and workshops about cyberpunk. My old pal Bruce Sterling was there too, also Mark Pauline of SRL, famed for his “bad robots.” The pioneering VR maven Scott Fisher—now a film school dean at USC—hosted the event, and eventually his group will be posting some video.


[Photo by Karen Marcelo]

In the afternoon they played a “Techologies of Cyberpunk” compilation video with about a hundred clips from Hollywood movies showing people’s minds being removed from their brains and/or being implanted into robots.

I like to claim that my 1982 book Software was the first SF novel to talk about this precise idea—although sometimes people argue with me about this. Somewhat in the same ballpark, the ancient movie Metropolis has a cool scene with a woman’s body-shape being copied onto a robot in a lab amid showers of Tesla coil sparks.

But I do think Software was the first novel where (a) A human’s mind is extracted and stored on a computer, and then (b) The mind is copied onto a robot body. (I once got involved in a comment thread debate on this somewhere on this blog, but I can’t find that thread today.)

I’m issuing a new second edition of my Complete Stories this week, including all my stories from 1976 right up to 2014. You can browse the whole book online, and you’ll find buy links there as well…it exists in Kindle, generic EPUB ebook, and in (two volume) paperback form.

In LA, we stayed in the downtown Standard hotel. The downtown of LA is a lot livelier than it was a few years ago. A few blocks are as bustling as Manhattan, and with all these 1950s tan-brick office buildings. The LA Library is very cool, with weird languages on the front steps.

Bruce and I took a walk one morning, and were pleased to see a movie shoot in progress. The extras and the two actors were fleeing from something up in the sky, maybe a monster, maybe a UFO. The cameraman was using, incredibly, nothing but a Canon 5D SLR camera, mounted on a rack with a good directional mic. Another few years you’ll be able to make hi-def movies of your life, just walking around with a “third-eye flat-cam” on your forehead.


[Photo by Bruce Sterling]

We came across a huge wall of conduit pipes—later someone told me the pipes are stuffed with internet fibers. Like an Aztec monument, kind of.

We also saw a cool poster advocating quake preparedness. Note that those cracks in the ground spell “QUAKE.”

Bruce and I were basically taking pictures of all the same things. Similar sensibilities. Great to see him. He gave a good talk on cyberpunk at the meeting, saying something about the style being characterized by crammed sentences and eyeball kicks…and then he somehow got into a rap about Lafcadio Hearn, an expat writer like Bruce.

Bruce has a good Tumblr blog going these days…the pictures kind of clarify his in-person word avalanche.

Dig these rails laid down for a dolly camera shoot. Stairway to the heaven of media omnipresence.

Harking back, here’s a nice water tank I saw near Occidental, California, a few weeks ago.

Another shot of me and Chairman Bruce, this one by Scott Fisher.

And here’s Bruce, USC Prof Henry Jenkins, and Scott Fisher.

3 Responses to “Cyberpunk Day in LA with Bruce Sterling”

  1. JamesPadraicR Says:

    I suspect that Quake poster is for a new movie with “The Rock” –happened to see comercials for it yesterday.

    Speaking of movies, and Lafcadio Hearn, I recommend the Japanese film “Kwaidan”, based on a few of Hearn’s ghost stories. It’s a gorgeous film with a lot of fantastic color and imagery.

  2. JamesPadraicR Says:

    Okay, apparently the first film I mentioned is called “San Andreas”, so never mind that.

  3. Steve H Says:

    The Rock was in DOOM so it makes sense he’d be in QUAKE.


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