Storming the Reality Studio

A Casebook of Cyberpunk & Postmodern Science Fiction

Storming the Reality Studio

Book Pages: 405 Illustrations: 8 illustrations Published: November 1991

Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Fiction, Literary Theory

The term “cyberpunk” entered the literary landscape in 1984 to describe William Gibson’s pathbreaking novel Neuromancer. Cyberpunks are now among the shock troops of postmodernism, Larry McCaffery argues in Storming the Reality Studio, marshalling the resources of a fragmentary culture to create a startling new form. Artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, multinational machinations, frenetic bursts of prose, collisions of style, celebrations of texture: although emerging largely from science fiction, these features of cyberpunk writing are, as this volume makes clear, integrally related to the aims and innovations of the literary avant-garde.

By bringing together original fiction by well-known contemporary writers (William Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Kathy Acker, J. G. Ballard, Samuel R. Delany), critical commentary by some of the major theorists of postmodern art and culture (Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Timothy Leary, Jean-François Lyotard), and work by major practitioners of cyberpunk (William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, John Shirley, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Sterling), Storming the Reality Studio reveals a fascinating ongoing dialog in contemporary culture.

What emerges most strikingly from the colloquy is a shared preoccupation with the force of technology in shaping modern life. It is precisely this concern, according to McCaffery, that has put science fiction, typically the province of technological art, at the forefront of creative explorations of our unique age.
A rich opporunity for reading across genres, this anthology offers a new perspective on the evolution of postmodern culture and ultimately shows how deeply technological developments have influenced our vision and our art.

Selected Fiction contributors: Kathy Acker, J. G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Pat Cadigan, Samuel R. Delany, Don DeLillo, William Gibson, Harold Jaffe, Richard Kadrey, Marc Laidlaw, Mark Leyner, Joseph McElroy, Misha, Ted Mooney, Thomas Pynchon, Rudy Rucker, Lucius Shepard, Lewis Shiner, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, William Vollman

Selected Non-Fiction contributors: Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Joan Gordon, Veronica Hollinger, Fredric Jameson, Arthur Kroker and David Cook, Timothy Leary, Jean-François Lyotard, Larry McCaffery, Brian McHale, Dave Porush, Bruce Sterling, Darko Suvin, Takayuki Tatsumi



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Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments xi

Introduction: The Desert of the Real / Larry McCaffery 1

Cyberpunk 101: A Schematic Guide to Storming the Reality Studio / Richard Kadrey and Larry McCaffery 17

Fiction and Poetry

Beyond the Extinction of Human Life (from Empire of the Senseless) / Kathy Acker 33

From Crash / J.G. Ballard 41

Mother and I Would Like to Know (from The Wild Boys) / William S. Burroughs 44

Rock On / Pat Cadigan 48

Among the Blobs / Samuel R. Delany 56

From White Noise / Don DeLillo 63

From Neuromancer / William Gibson 65

Fistic Hermaphrodites / Rob Hardin 75

Microbes / Rob Hardin 76

Penetrabit: Slime Temples / Rob Hardin 77

nerve terminals / Rob Hardin 79

Max Headroom / Harold Jaffe 80

From Straight Fiction / Thom Jurek 85

The Toilet Was Full of Nietzsche (from Metrophage) / Richard Kadrey 87

Office of the Future (from Dad's Nuke) / Marc Laidlaw 98

I Was an Infinitely Hot and Dense Dot (from My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist) / Mark leyner 102

From Plus / Joseph McElroy 109

Wire Movement #9 / Misha 112

Wire for Two Tims / Misha 114

From Easy Travel to Other Planets / Ted Mooney 116

Frame 137 / Jim O'Barr 118

From The Crying of Lot 49 / Thomas Pynchon 122

From Software / Rudy Rucker 125

From Life During Wartime / Lucius Shepard 132

Stoked / Lewis Shiner 134

Wolves of the Plateau / John Shirley 139

Twenty Evocations / Bruce Sterling 154

The Marc Tranquillitatis People's Circumlunar Zaibatsu: 2-1-'16 (from Schismatrix) / Bruce Sterling 162

The Indigo Engineers (from The Rainbow Stories) / William T. Vollmann 168


Before the Lights Came On: Observations of a Synergy / Steve Brown 173

The Automation of the Robot (from Simulations) / Jean Baudrillard 178

Cyberpunk and Neuromanticism / Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, Jr. 182

From Of Grammatology / Jacques Derrida 194

Yin and Yang Duke It Out / Joan Gordon 196

Cybernetic Deconstructions: Cyberpunk and Postmodernism / Veronica Hollinger 203

From Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism / Fredric Jameson 219

Television and the Triumph of Culture (from The Postmodern Scene) / Arthur Kroker and David Cook 229

Bet On It: Cyber/video/punk/performance / Brooks Landon 239

The Cyberpunk: The Individual as Reality Pilot / Timothy Leary 245

The Postmodern (from The Postmodern Condition) / Jean-Francois Lyotard 259

An Interview with William Gibson / Larry McCaffery 263

Cutting Up: Cyberpunk, Punk Music, and Urban Decontextualizations / Larry McCaffery 286

POSTcyberMODERNpunkISM / Brian McHale 308

The Wars of the Coin's Two Halves: Bruce Sterling's Mechanist/Shaper Narratives / Tom Maddox 324

Frothing the Synaptic Bath / David Porush 331

Literary MTV / George Slusser 334

Preface from Mirrorshades / Bruce Sterling 343

On Gibson and Cyberpunk SF / Darko Suvin 349

The Japanese Reflection of Mirrorshades / Takayuki Tatsumi 366

Bibliography 375

Contributors 385
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1168-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1158-4
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