When the first cyberpunk writers picked up their pens in the eighties and wrote about conflict acted out over computer networks, it seemed like a lifetime away. In recent years we’ve seen internet attacks on Estonia and on power infrastructure. Countless griefers, hackers and virus-creators have found a way to virtually attack others.
Now it seems there’s something akin to a war on in one corner of the internet. A number of individuals calling themselves ‘Anonymous’ have posted a series of videos on Youtube decrying the Church/Cult of Scientology and what they call its manipulation of its followers. In related moves, a number of high profile Scientology websites were attacked by hackers and taken down. The Anonymous group seems to be using many of the techniques used by Alternate Reality Games like World Without Oil or Perplex City to create a campaign against elements of the real world.
It’s very reminiscent of the blending between virtuality and reality seen in Charles Stross’ Halting State. You can find Anonymous’s original message to Scientology video here and their reply to the media interest here on Warren Ellis’ blog. A new video was released yesterday explaining some more of the group’s message, in particular making it clear they are not just a group of hackers. It also warns of protests against Scientology on the 10th February. Whoever is doing it and for what reason, it’s a fascinating example of just how different our world(s) are now compared to even a few years ago.
[via Elizabeth Bear, image via Wikipedia’s page on William Gibson’s Spook Country]
I’ve been reading the last in the trilogy of Cassandra Kresnov novels by Australian author Joel Shepherd and I’ve been very impressed. Following on from Crossover and Breakaway, Killswitch is set on the planet of Callay. In the peace after a war with the android-creating League, the more conservative Federation government has recently transferred its powers from Earth. The lead character is one of the androids, Cassandra Kresnov, a super-intelligent, super strong version of the more limited grunts used in the war. In the first book, Crossover she defects and moves to Callay, creating a huge political standoff between many different factions.
Shepherd writes a clever, multi-dimensional tale of artificial humans. It’s reminiscent of the great work done with the Cylon characters in the new Battlestar Galactica but impressively these books were first published in Australia before that TV series saw the light of day. The worldwide publication of the trilogy is richly deserved. As well as some gritty, dynamic action sequences and rich political worldbuilding, the characterization of Cassandra is spot-on. I’d recommend a lot of people pick up these books. You can read my review of Killswitch in this month’s SFCrowsnest.
[image of the books Pyr cover via SFCrowsnest]
In case you missed it, William Gibson is interviewed briefly over at Wired about his forthcoming novel, Spook Country … interviewed by grumpy comics genius Warren Ellis, no less, so a double-dose of win, as far as I’m concerned.
The latest Futurismic short story is “Eyelid Movies” from Will McIntosh. What would you do if your dreams were hacked?
by Will McIntosh
Laughter, conversation, and a mildewy smell drifted from the back of the bus. Casey stared out the window, his eyes semi-focused. The power lines rose and fell, rose and fell as they passed.
“Casey, my friend, I got some bad news for you.” Rob Blanke said, clutching at the seat backs on either side of the aisle. Rob was smirking. He sat down next to Casey. “Got a text message from Champ Rottenbucher last night.” Rob stuck his finger into a hole in the seat fabric, worked it around a little. “One of the dream-channels—” Rob busted out laughing. “One of those—” he tried to continue but couldn’t.
He flicked his finger out of the hole, making the fabric pucker. “Sorry, sorry,” he said, shaking his head and forcing the ends of his mouth to straighten. “It’s really not funny.” He cleared his throat. “Your dreams were on the net last night. One of the pirated dream-channels must have got hold of your private code.” Continue reading EYELID MOVIES by Will McIntosh
Christopher East lays out what Futurismic fiction is all about in his new column.
Continue reading Christopher East – Defining Futurismic Fiction