29 January 2013

-working through “Sciencepunk” by Bailenson et al. Some good stuff. Reference to Norman Badler’s paper, “Avatars a la Snow Crash, which was delivered at a VR conference in 1998. The paper is available here (as a .pdf).
-Also mentions the book “True Names” and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier, which is apparently edited by James Frenkel (2001). Tracking this title down is proving elusive, unfortunately, as it sounds useful. Possibly have requested it via inter-library loan, although the site doesn’t seem to be working well.
-In the end, “Sciencepunk” is somewhat disappointing. It offers little in the way of literary analysis of cyberpunk as a genre or the particular texts in question. Also, the article often makes vague references to the influence that cyberpunk has had on virtual reality research; in a few places there are specific projects or initiatives mentioned, but these are never discussed explicitly. In the end, the authors seem to draw back from the most interesting and exciting assertion that the article makes–that maybe virtual reality is less about science and more about science fiction. No, they say, that’s probably too much of a stretch; but cyberpunk sure does raise some interesting social questions.

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