April 28, 2007


Book Review By: David Gentle

Author: Pat Cadigan

Year: 1991

Category: Cyberpunk Books

Synners Cover


I’ve never been to Los Angeles but I tend to believe everything that’s written about it. It’s so easy to buy the idea that Americans would take heaven on earth (the beautiful oceans on one side, the awesome mountains on the other) and then slap their own putrid media hell right in the middle of it. Pat Cadigan’s future LA is actually a lot more pleasant than some cyberpunk futures. It’s not yet a dystopia. In fact there are plenty of worse places to live in our present reality. The worst things would seem to be terrible television (which is dominated by various subdivisions of porn and live action news reports) and appalling traffic control software (though why people don’t just ignore it I don’t know), not the terrible things you would expect to see in a grim future vision.

The plot here is this: a multinational corporation called Diversifications (also known as “The Dive”) buys a small conglomerate that have managed to invent a computer 2 brain interface but fail to foresee the consequences. It’s up to an adhoc group of hackers and video producers to put the genie back in the bottle. When I originally read the novel it didn’t occur to me to question this but where are the authorities in all of this? They’d just sit back and let the network go down the tubes? Where are the hackers from other parts of the world, or even other parts of the USA? Or even Diversifications themselves? Where are all these people when the net goes down?

In terms of technology, all information seems to be carried over an internet style network, whether it be TV or GridLid (the useless traffic monitoring system) or email or videos. Videos have, for the most part, replaced live performance and are made by the “Synners” of the title using various techniques including full body motion capture “hot suits”. There are video games (some of which use “hot suits”) but there don’t seem to be any coherent 3d game worlds or Virtual spaces in the net. Whether the network is meant to be our current Internet is unclear to me but it would certainly seem very similar. It also seems to have some unusual properties though: there’s a virus (Dr Fish) that appears to be able to mutate itself and penetrate any number of systems. This leads to the creation of some kind of AI that lives, in a distributed form, all around the net. This is one of a number of really shaky ideas in the novel. AI is not an emergent property of networks. Other ideas are pseudo technical nonsense. At one point Sam, trying to combat the metaphorical “Genie” in the net:

[…]Finding alternate routes of communication. She’d just never tried it with such a widespread virus waiting to pounce.
The virus had a sort of three-dimensional perception that required her to keep shifting her own antiviral protection in a cycle that seemed random with sudden bursts of regularity.
Within a couple of hours, she had achieved a point where she could open an access anywhere in the net and remain undetected, provided she didn’t try to do anything else except sit like an immovable bead on a string.
Some hours later she had managed a routine of virtual sympathetic vibrations, a kind pf virtual music. It wouldn’t accommodate real-time communication, only short messages in quick bursts.

I’m not sure this stuff is even meant to be believable. I won’t go into where the “virus” in this quote comes from (it’s not DR. Fish) but I will say that it’s pretty unlikely that a virus could come from there, the net and computers would have to work in a vastly more complicated way than they do in reality. This is where I suspect I will disagree with many people: sometimes a thing doesn’t have to be technically true to be poetically true. The intellectual bobbing and weaving conducted by the hackers in the book is a pretty good representation of the way hackers would like to see themselves; innovative, tireless problem solvers who can crack anything given enough caffeine.

Where Cadigan gets things right is in terms of consumer electronics. People carry “chip players” which are somewhat like MP3 players in that they are just a unit of storage with the specialised hardware to play audio files. I don’t think this idea existed at the time. No one bothers with desktop machines either, even the computers that appear to be desktop consoles are laptops. As previously mentioned TVs are just simplified computers attached to the net. People have been predicting that TVs would end up with huge flat screens since the 1950s so I can’t give too much credit for Cadigan’s use of them here but credit should be given for using (I don’t know who invented it) the term “narrowcasting” before it was anything like a buzzword.


Synners Cover


The frequent references to porn are worth discussing, if only to give credit where it’s due to Cadigan for realising that the net would be dominated (at least for a while) by it. It’s clear that mainstream TV is meant to have emulated the look and feel of pornography in it’s mainstream shows while, simultaneously, the viewing public have opened their minds to such an extent that they can be aroused by almost anything. The actual form of “food porn” or “war porn” is not discussed but, from the way it’s described, I don’t think it’s meant to be nude women covered in stuff, just long, lingering lustrous shots of gammon steaks or corpses. (Whether this could actually be described as “porn” (which seems to me to be a very specific thing) is open to debate. I don’t think it makes sense to broaden the definition of a word to the point where in means nothing). While TV already seems to be about gluttonous consumption in the real world I’m not convinced that we’ve gotten to the point where people are actually masturbating over pictures of car tires and anchovies. I guess we’ll see if we get there from here. It’s interesting that there don’t seem to be too many characters in the novel who actually watch all this porn, after all TV can’t survive without someone watching it. I guess the unwashed masses who don’t have any say in anything (including the novel, really) must be consuming it.

In spite of some unreasonable technology and the standard “loveable cyberpunks beating the corps” plot I actually really like Synners. It’s all about the characters. Gabe Ludovic, the commercials producer, is a rounded character, kind of dork. His legally emancipated ex-daughter, Sam, is a realistically know-it-all teenage hacker. His wife is a one dimensional cut glass bitch. Gabe’s co-workers have accurate office politics. There’s a great scene in the Dive’s lunch area where media-whore types are just sitting ’round shooting the shit in exactly the way that I imagine they do. The relationships are well handled, particularly that between Visual Mark (video producer and one of the first to receive the c2h sockets) and Gina Aeisi(another video producer). The protracted rituals of these character’s lives, in which they circle around each other but never quite “connect”, seem very real to me. Bosses dump on underlings before being dumped on themselves.

If you absolutely demand technology that seems real and avant-garde plotting then you best read something else. Otherwise you could do worse than read this.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Books by David Gentle.

gemanoid robot screen capture


I often watch movies that I think “might” be cyberpunk in nature that end up not really fitting for one reason or another. One movie I enjoyed that fit this was the Japanese movie, Hinokio (Akiyama, 2005). In Hinokio, a robotics scientist tries to help his very disturbed son by making him a robot double who can go to school for him and interact with other students. His son is able to control all the movements of this robot, and can talk through it, etc. In the real world, Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University is working on the same concept in creating his “Geminoid” which was designed by using a model of his body and hair from his head. Many articles discussed this, here’s one:


Ever wished you could be in two places at one time? A Japanese researcher has managed it, through a robot that looks and moves exactly like him…He can see through its eyes, which act like cameras that beam images back to a monitor. Ishiguro, who moves his neck or hands to give the robot human-like twitches, is very attached to his robotic twin…

Ishiguro controls the android’s movements with a remote control and sensors attached to his body. When you poke its face, the robot grimaces like a real human, thanks to the more than 50 sensors and motors that are implanted beneath its lifelike skin. It appears to breathe when compressed air is pumped through its body.

“I don’t find any particular difference between talking through Geminoid and talking as myself,” he said. “And curiously, when the body of Geminoid is touched by somebody, I get very similar feelings of being touched.”


This approach of creating a “communications double” is far more attainable than the creation of a sentient robot. In essence, the problem has been decomposed to focusing on creating realistic human movements via messages sent from a host. While this is still an extremely difficult problem, just looking at the robots created over the last few years, they are making incredible headway.



As the Guardian write up states:


Geminoid is a modern variant on an old idea, a humanoid robot designed in his creator’s image, down to the tiniest of details. The skin tone, the spectacles, and even the lengthy hairs on its head are the same as Hiroshi Ishiguro’s, a robotics expert at the Osaka University who built his doppelganger as a stand-in for when he is otherwise engaged…

Dr Ishiguro believes robots like Geminoid will in future allow people to be where they cannot be. Speaking through Geminoid, he says, has become natural, an extension of himself.


It’s always interesting to see how these really cool technological advances are predicted to affect the world. While its certainly possible that this technology can be used to cut travel costs, one can envision a myriad of other, perhaps more important applications. If combined with, say, a really powerful VR application, you can imagine invalids traveling to the moon, for instance. Another interesting thought is the idea that combining these robots with a sort of “proto-intelligence” might allow one person to “control” a group of them. The human can pass on broad directions or program parameters, which are then acted on by the robot team.

Incidentally, in the Meatspace Forums, there is a thread devoted to the latest in robot, cyborg and transhuman innovations. Check it out!

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living, News as Cyberpunk by SFAM.

964 Pinocchio screen capture


Every now and then, the real world gets in the way of me spending a lot of time here. The last week or so certainly fits that description. While I’ve gotten the automated spam mostly under control, unfortunately, some jackasses took this time to post lots of spam type comments to various posts, including the Matrix essay. Many of the comments were using my name. Looks like I have yet another plug-in to install, which I will get to shortly. I’ve already added the IP addresses of the posters to my “banned” list, so hopefully this will die down. I’m also still figuring out how to stop automated spam to the Wiki. Hopefully this will be under control soon as well. In the mean time,

My apologies for the fake comments,


This post has been filed under Site Development by SFAM.

April 23, 2007


Movie Review By: SFAM

Year: 2005

Directed by: Jason Tomaric

Written by: Jason Tomaric

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Medium

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: High

Key Cast Members:

  • Derek Strombourg: Jeff St. Clair
  • Orin Stalward: Bill Caco
  • Joshua Adams: Gary Skiba
  • Valerie Renee Law: Mira DelForna
Rating: 5 out of 10

Cl.One screen capture

Overview: There have been some truly interesting projects in the no-budget Sci-Fi indie movie business. One of the most impressive is Jason Tomaric’s Cl.One. Made for a budget of only 25,000, Tomaric tapped into the power of mass collaboration to solicit help from half the city of Cleveland, Ohio. While I might have a number of issues with the movie itself, nobody viewing the effects and look of Cl.One would ever think they were produced on a shoestring. In short, the Tomaric was able to pull together a far more professional looking movie based on personality alone. In a Wired article, Tomaric guestimates that he received somewhere between 1.7 to 2 million in free goods and services. The tagline for this movie is “3,000 extras. 48 locations. 650 digital effects…. Made by one kid out of his parents’ basement.” Count me as impressed!


Cl.One screen capture


The Story: Due to a horrible nuclear world war, the last vestiges of humanity can no longer procreate. The damage caused by radiation has genetically mutated the remaining inhabitants. So now, humanity exists in pockets of globed cities that are administered in a surveillance-type society mode. The cities are connected via a series of high—speed tunnel trains. The hope is that genetic research and cloning will offer a continuation of the species. Unfortunately, an anti-government resistance movement called Spectrum has also arisen.


Cl.One screen capture


Unfortunately, cloning seems to yield fully formed, but soul-less, mindless humans. In essence they are empty shells. To transform these clones into living beings, it is hypothesized that a human will be found who’s DNA has not been irradiated, and who’s genetic sequence will be an exact match needed to give life the clones. In doing so, humanity’s future will be restored.


Cl.One screen capture


Chancellor Derek Strombourg, the head New Athens who is beset by the loss of his only child who died due to radiation damage, has created a school of the best and brightest. But this is just a front for his real goal – to test all students with the hopes of finding the “one” – the one with the genetic match necessary to bring the dormant clones to life. After four years of searching, he finally has a match - Student Orin Stalward. To make this work, he has to initiate the experiment right at the moment that Stalward is planning on taking his own life. To make matters worse, Spectrum, the anti-government “terrorist” organization headed up by Joshua Adams is causing significant problems to Strombourg’s leadership, both in its attacks and in its intrusion into Orin’s life.


Cl.One screen capture


The Pacing and Story Issues: From a pacing standpoint, Cl.One starts off with an impressive “bang” and goes downhill from there. Cl.One is at best a very complicated story. I consider myself fairly astute at this point in picking up various cyberpunk themes and storylines, but still found that it took me two or three viewings just to get the jist of Cl.One’s basic plot (this is different from say, taking two or three viewings to “figure out the meaning” of movies like Oshii’s Avalon for instance). Adding to this is the relatively meandering pacing, where most of the story complications are narrated. If you aren’t awake enough to catch and assimilate a myriad of facts in seemingly innocuous dialogue moments, you’ll miss the meaning of the later scenes. In totality, the project doesn’t come together. There are a lot of interesting themes and ideas, but the execution falls short. Had they done this over, my suggestion would be to transform more story points into active story points versus narrating or orating them over a the first third of the movie. Even more problematic is the change in actor focus near the end of the movie – the “exciting mindfuck twist” finish at the end is always cool, but the change of context really muddies the overall experience.


Cl.One screen capture


The Acting: The acting in Cl.One is certainly nothing to write home about. Jeff St. Clair as Derek Strombourg is really the only one who delivers a consistent performance. That said, there are very few clunkers either. Nobody truly embarrass themselves, and you never really get the feeling you’re watching a cheesefest trainwreck. While this isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, keep in mind that this cast is almost comprised completely of amateurs. Not even the director had any experience prior to this shoot. While there were few clunkers, there was also distinct lack of emotional “umph” that really detracted from the overall experience. The stilted, uneven dialogue dialogue contributes to this in that it really doesn’t give the cast much to work with. Everyone was playing their parts but the performances as a whole came off as flat, which reflected poorly on an already slow-paced flick.


Cl.One screen capture


The FX: One of the best ways to cut corners on low-to-no budget science fiction projects is the selection of interesting locations. Cl.One excels in transforming seemingly ordinary locations into cool science-fiction settings. In all, fourty-eight Cleveland locations where used, including a nuclear power plant, a jail and Nasa locations. But perhaps the most interesting was the laboratory, which was created in a beer brewery. While one or two of the FX scenes look cheap (primarily the train sequence), the majority of the CG used in this Cl.One worked wonderfully. The FX and overall production values were generally what you would expect from a professional film, not a no-budget indie flick. Cl.One creates a look similar to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, in that the entire film has been sent through digitized color filtering. While the overall look was professional, it served to drab-down the picture, which didn’t work well when combined with flat acting and slow pacing.


Cl.One screen capture


Blank Clone Bodies? One of the “take on faith” science points that Cl.One asks the viewer to swallow is the idea that they can make cloned bodies which are “blank” – meaning they have no soul, no memories and no personalities. The big challenge involves figuring out how to make these blank bodies get magically filled by finding the right matching genetic sequence to give life to a thousand frozen embryos. . All sorts of questions that might go through your head are all bypassed – why can’t the way that cloning today works still work in the future? Also, if they have all this expertise at genetic engineering to the point that they “know” the match they need, why can’t they modify the genetic code prior to uploading? Even more problematic, if they are transferring DNA sequences, why does the state of the person whom the DNA is from matter (Orin needed to be suicidal for his thoughts to not transfer to the clones)? You can ask those questions if you buy-in to the idea that clones can be made without souls or thinking, etc. This is an extreme version of the blank-slate approach, one which is nonsensical on its face, and one which they provide absolutely no rationale for in the narrative.


Cl.One screen capture


The Bottom Line: Cl.One has some terrific things going for it, but in the end, I like the background story of its production far more than I like the movie itself. Truly, I absolutely loved the “making of” featurette. That large segments of Cleveland pitched in for free to make this movie is a crowing achievement, one which should be celebrated. In orchestrating this dynamic, Jason Tomaric shows himself to be a true film making talent. And while the lighting and production values are high quality, the movie itself just doesn’t come together. The score is way too emotional and dominating when matched with the scenes, the actor performances and dialogue. The story doesn’t hold together, and the “twist” near the end makes you seriously question the character focus choices throughout the movie. On a positive note, the lighting and visuals were consistently interesting. Because of this and the background of the production, I would recommend Cl.One to anyone interesting in indie Sci-Fi flicks.


This post has been filed under Security-Surveillance State, Memory Modification, Dystopic Future Movies, 5 Star Rated Movies, Cyberpunk movies from 2000 - 2009 by SFAM.

Book Review By: Mr. Roboto

Authors: St. Jude, R.U. Sirius, Bart Nagel

Year: 1995

Category: Cyberpunk Influenced Books

Cyberpunk Handbook:  The Real Cyberpunk Fakebook

You can tell when a particular movement, genre, or meme has reached mainstream status; They do parodies, and write books on how to make it (or fake it) in the group. It should come as no surprise that cyberpunk had its turn in 1995. With movies like Hackers, Johnny Mnemonic, Strange Days, and Virtuosity in theaters that year, there was no question that cyberpunk had arrived.

And with it, this book.

The Cyberpunk Handbook was written primarily as a spoof; A way for newbies and the clueless to become familiar with the genre without having to actually immerse themselves in the nuances. In other words, how to fake it until one makes it, assuming one wishes to risk his/her life by faking it around real cyberpunks (Some at the time were not hip to cyberpunk suddenly being mainstream).

One way the book does this is by rating media and tech like we do on Cyberpunk Review, only they use shuriken (one to four of them) instead of a scale of ten stars, plus they also use one to four beanies to indicate “nerdly interests.” The required stuff is here; Neuromancer (four shuriken), Snow Crash (also four shuriken), Blade Runner (another four), Johnny Mnemonic (only two, plus one beanie), and others. They also rate certain tech of the times a cyberpunk would need like a laptop, heads up display, and personal communicator.

The Cyberpunk Handbook also gives some overview as to how cyberpunks dress (black leather jacket, boots, mirrorshades, laser pointer.) with details for certain sub-genres like ravers and goths. It also reveals certain character traits like the subdued swashbuckling, quiet assurance, and a touch of menace. There’s some info on comics, music, and food (Ramen noodles and Jolt) that cyberpunks would be interested in. Also revealed are the real reasons why cyberpunks attend cons and the “secret” hierarchy of the cyberpunk ranks from newbie to elite. There’s even a special “Parental discretion section” featuring politics, religion, SEX, and a couple of recipes. Finally, a couple of crossword puzzles, just to see what you’ve learned.


Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The book’s information seems relevant enough… for 1995, but for 2007, it doesn’t quite hold up and it’s age does show. For one thing, the book tends to assume that cyberpunk and hacking are the same. That might have been true then (may still be today), but now there’s more to hack besides computers. Personal devices like iPods, multi-function cellphones, and Blackberries are now the cool toys, cybernetic implants are available as RFID chips, advances in nanotechnology are almost daily, and while you can’t reprogram your genes to become an X-Man, biotechnology is making strides to make better medicine… and electronics.


The Cyberpunk Handbook hasn’t withstood the test of time, but the authors could hardly be faulted for that; They could only work with the tech of the time. After all, the book was released four years before The Matrix, when nanotechnolgy was still a science-fiction concept, the technology for brain-computer interfacing was primitive at best, and the human genome was still being mapped out. If a person wants to be a cyberpunk today, they can take an English literature course in college (maybe they offer it as non-credit extended education), or save a few thousand by perusing sites like Cyberpunk Review. It would be interesting to see an updated version for post-Matrix cyberpunks. Still, The Cyberpunk Handbook is an interesting look into our 8-bit past as it offers a glimpse into our mid-90s breakout.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Influenced Books by Mr. Roboto.

April 11, 2007

Album Preview - Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2007

Artist: Nine Inch Nails

Written by: Trent Reznor

Label: Nothing/Interscope

Year Zero

Official Site: nine inch nails: year zero

Track listing:
1. “Hyperpower!” – 1:42
2. “The Beginning Of The End” – 2:47
3. “Survivalism” – 4:23
4. “The Good Soldier” – 3:23
5. “Vessel” – 4:53
6. “Me, I’m Not” – 4:52
7. “Capital G” – 3:50
8. “My Violent Heart” – 4:19
9. “The Warning” – 3:38
10. “God Given” – 3:50
11. “Meet Your Master” – 4:08
12. “The Greater Good” – 4:52
13. “The Great Destroyer” – 3:17
14. “Another Version Of The Truth” – 4:09
15. “In This Twilight” – 3:33
16. “Zero-Sum” – 6:14

Credit should go to Vesper who posted this thread about Trent Reznor’s upcoming album. As the anticipated release date of April 17 draws closer, there have been numerous sites along with the leaked tracks that have been generating a lot of buzz. So much so that the terminally clueless RIAA has been ordering the sites to stop the viral campaign.



It started in February with a simple phrase, whose individual letters were highlighted on the backs of concert t-shirts. For those who were able to figure out that it was a website and logged into it, they are suddenly thrust into a Parepin-induced frenzy where an anti-bioterrorism drug is suspected of causing people to see “The Presence.” Since then, USB thumbdrives were found in bathroom stalls at NIN concerts, containing unreleased songs. The titles of the songs lead to more websites, and those who did spectrographic analysis of the songs found other clues and signs like a phone number for the “U.S. Wiretap” and “The Presence.” Now, all the pieces fit as the album can be heard in it’s entirety at the official site, along with a trailer and a video for “Survivalism.”


“Survivalsim” video from YouTube. Uncensored for your enjoyment. U.N. Bureau of Cyberpunk.


With all this hype surrounding Year Zero, is there really any reason why it should appear here @ Cyberpunk Review? There’s plenty to take away from the websites, and from the song lyrics.


Overview: “Year Zero” is 2022 after the US Government establishes a new calendar system to be used worldwide. A ricin-based “dirty bomb” is set off at the Academy Awards in 2009, and the US retaliates by nuking Iran and North Korea. When the remaining Muslim nations declare a jihad, the government adds a Cedocore-made drug called “Parepin” into the water supplies, claiming it would negate biological and chemical agents terrorists use. The government also begins stripping constitutional rights by passing the “Emergency Measures Act.”

To escape the religious insanity, people start using another Cedocore-made drug known as “Opal,” which replaces cocaine as the drug of choice. Somewhere between the Parepin and the Opal, people begin seeing “The Presence,” a god-like hand that reaches down from the skies and appears to be grabbing the ground or trying to claw it.

Accoring to the NINWiki, Trent Reznor describes how the album began to take shape:

“This record began as an experiment with noise on a laptop in a bus on tour somewhere. That sound led to a daydream about the end of the world. That daydream stuck with me and over time revealed itself to be much more. I believe sometimes you have a choice in what inspiration you choose to follow and other times you really don’t. This record is the latter. Once I tuned into it, everything fell into place… as if it were meant to be. With a framework established, the songs were very easy to write. Things started happening in my “real” life that blurred the lines of what was fiction and what wasn’t. The record turned out to be more than a just a record in scale, as you will see over time.

Part one is year zero. Concept record. Sixteen tracks. All written and performed by me, produced / programmed by me and Atticus Ross, mixed by Alan Moulder, mastered by Brian “Big Bass” Gardner. Release date: April 17, 2007.

What’s it about? Well, it takes place about fifteen years in the future. Things are not good. If you imagine a world where greed and power continue to run their likely course, you’ll have an idea of the backdrop. The world has reached the breaking point - politically, spiritually and ecologically. Written from various perspectives of people in this world, “year zero” examines various viewpoints set against an impending moment of truth. How does it sound? You will hear for yourself soon enough, but given the point of this document is to provide information…

This record is much more of a “sound collage” than recent efforts from me.

A lot of it was improvised.

It is very tedious describing your own music.

It’s not just music.

It’s probably too long, but it felt like the right thing to do to paint the complete picture.

It will sound different after a few listens.

You can think about it and it will reveal more than you were expecting.

You can dance to a lot of it.

You can fuck to a lot of it (maybe all of it depending on what you’re into).


OK, So what about the music? Let’s start at track #1: Hyperpower! A term used to describe a nation like the United States, who dominate the world’s economics and politics. This track gets things off on the right foot with its crunchy drum-and-guitar march, ending with a sonic riot.

The Beginning of the End gives a good rock track, and a bit of a warning of Big Brother’s eavesdropping abilities: Watch what you think, they can read your mind.

Survivalism presents mostly drums and electronics while Trent’s voice marches through lyrics like Hypnotic sound of sirens\Echoing through the street\The cocking of the rifles\The marching of the feet\You see your world on fire\Don’t try to act surprised\We did just what you told us\Lost our faith along the way and found ourselves believing your lies.

The Good Soldier is a bit more relaxed, while a soldier has second thoughts about what he feels about his nation and the direction it’s heading (I am trying to believe).

Vessel gives more electronic distortion as Trent describes being a vessel: I can leave all of this flesh behind\I can see right through this whole façade\I am becoming something else\I am turning into God. That should take care of the transhuman element.

Me, I’m Not has Trent fearing the changes: And I’m losing control\I’m not used to this\What you want from me?

Capital G. As in George Bush, Jr. who decides to screw the constitution in 2008 and go for a third term to continue his dirty work. Sounds like a D’uh’bya supporter rapping: Don’t try to tell how some power can corrupt a person\You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like\You’re only angry cause you wish you were in my position\Now nod your head because you know that I’m right—all right!

My Violent Heart is mostly soft, but gets power during the choruses. Trent tells the powers that be that he does not intend to go quietly, and if he does, there will others: On hands and knees\We crawl\You can not stop us all.

The Warning has a visit from “The Presence,” in verse form: Some say it was a warning\Some say it was a sign\I was standing right there\When it came down from the sky. The last few lyrics are a warning to the powers that be: We’ve come to intervene\You will change your ways and you will make amends\Or we will wipe this place clean

God Given plays up the “We’re right, they’re wrong” mentality of religion (Put your faith in me\I sure wouldn’t want to be\Praying to the wrong piece of wood\You should Get where you belong\Everything you know is wrong) while inviting you to “Come on, sing along everybody now!”

Meet Your Master holds someone hostage: You’ll put on this blindfold\You’ll do what we tell you\You’ll do as your told.

The Greater Good sound like a Zen exercise put to electronic noise: Breathe us in\Slowly\Slowly… Persuasion\Coercion\Submission\Assimilation.

The Great Destroyer has Trent being interrogated, but holding a deadly secret: I hope they cannot see\ The limitless potential\Living inside of me\To murder everything\I hope they cannot see\I am the Great Destroyer.

Another Version of the Truth is another instrumental track; An eerily quiet piano piece.

In This Twilight has Trent feeling the end approaching, and wonders what he could have done to make things better: As your time is running out\Let me take away your doubt\You can find a better place.

Zero-Sum brings the CD… and the World of Year Zero… to a bitter end. But something about the chorus leaves me thinking that this “reality” was only a simulation: For all we have done\And all we ever were\Just zeros and ones.


Conclusion: This latest offering from Trent certainly has the potential to be a classic concept album like Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime. All the work to create the future world dystopia definitely gives an intensity to the the tracks. Give Year Zero a listen at the official site and see if you agree.

If you want to see all the sites connected to Year Zero, just head for the NINWiki as your start point, and prepare to lose yourself in Opal, Parepin, and “The Presence.”

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Terminator vs Robocop: EPISODE 1


I can’t believe these have been out for over 6 months and I’m just now discovering them. I now have, thanks to Fargo posting them in Cadet SF’s Meatspace Forums thread, Robocop Vs. Terminator.


Terminator vs Robocop: EPISODE 2

AMDS Films did a terrific mashup job here, especially on the first film. Definitely fun watching! Also, feel free to participate in the poll listed in the Meatspace thread. Personally, I think The Terminator wins it going away!

This post has been filed under Internet Short by SFAM.

April 5, 2007

Media Immersion Pod Spotlight: B@gus Cyber Cafe

B@gus Cyber Cafe


Overview: CPR previously did a write-up on Japanese Media Immersion Pods. Here’s an in-depth look at one of them:

B@gus Cyber Cafe
12F Roi Building, Roppongi Japan

A short walk down Gaien-Higasi Dori in Roppongi will reveal to you a world of Discount shops, trendy night clubs and sushi bars. But at the Roi Building on the 12th floor there’s two things and two things only that will greet you - Media and Information.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Sporting shower rooms, Internet, free drinks (food was extra), 100+ seating (including dual/quad and ladies only seating) and a vast collection of any kind of media you could think of. One could theoretically live here for ever. The only thing standing in the way of maintaining your cyber-addiction is the fee and the money required to pay for said fee.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


When I went in they were offering a day package, 980 Yen would net me a cube and all the coffee I would need for 3 hours. The clerk right off the bat asked “Smoking? Or non?” “Smoking” I replied, Ultra smoking. So I got my receipt and was shown my cube on the map. F-12 Dual seating. I quick made a pit stop at the coffee bar, grabbed a ashtray and I was on my way. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, A library size collection of Manga (Every Akira, But no GITS), Magazines (TIME, Sass) and Porn (Playboy etc, etc.) greeted me as soon as I walked away from the counter. Deciding on the good ole’ fashion tubes of the Internet, me, my ashtray and coffee set off for my cube.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Cubes. Lots of cubes: Tucked away in a corner of the floor in a dark, quiet maze of cubes I found F-12. Kicking off my shoes at the door, I opened it up. Like a mini-living room, it has a TV, DVD player, PC (Running WinXP Home), Headphones and a PS2. Also each cube had a phone so you could order whatever you needed. Each cube had black leather cushioning and had seat formed cushions on top of that for back support. The only thing these cubes were missing were IVs and catheters. I turned on a lamp and began my session.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Internet? PC Gripes and tubes: I surfed some of my usual spots; cyberpunk review and googled some random stuff. My session was pretty fast, pages were would pop up fairly quickly. I wouldn’t expect it not to, seeing some people spend all night here and fast tubes is a must. I must of came in before basic maintenance because the pc was running sluggish when having to load anything (Didn’t really hinder my experience, plus I feel for their IT). My biggest whine is that they don’t offer OS’s other than Windows, and it would be a nice change if places would start to offer Linux and/or Mac, instead of just WinXP. I would gladly pay 100 extra Yen an hour for a little OS change. But like I said it’s personal not necessary.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Dark room: This place is quieter then any library I’ve ever been in. In the background you can hear clicking of keyboards, people shifting in their seats and the occasional clearing of the throat. but otherwise it was dead silent. I had a window cube so I could pop open the curtain and see the street below bustling with life. Not that the silence bothered me but it was a nice reminder that the world was still there. I can see why, staying the night you wouldn’t want to be bothered with the real world or be reminded of one while you were going on a media/coffee binge.The only light source was from lamps and the sunlight creeping in from the curtains.


B@gus Cyber Cafe


Overall? As I exited the elevator and was greeted by the raining Roppongi afternoon I met up with my girlfriend. As the cool rain beat down on me, I pulled the hood up on my black hoody and walked across the street to meet up with her, clubs and bars starting to open up exclaiming that happy hour was now indeed in effect. “How did your thing go?” How did it go? What was my experience? On that twelfth floor there was a soft lonely feeling, a nagging at, you might not forget. No matter how lonely and cold it can be, soft LCD glow can carry you home. I smiled, pulled the hoody tighter. And thought of a quote. “Well….There’s no there, there.

The photos that I took were a little blurry so I apologize.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living by -design.

April 2, 2007

The Dose #2 - Get It While It’s Still Free!

The Dose #2 Cover


Damage and company have put out another awesome edition of The Dose. This is the premiere source for detailing the cyberpunk movement and culture as it exists today.


In Case You’re Interested…The Dose #2 has a few fun nuggets for you cyberpunk movie aficionados. Yours truly has written a “Hidden Gems in Cyberpunk Film” article that starts on page 76. Also Indie Director Laszlo Kovacs, a regular contributor here for comments and in the meatspace forums, has his movie, UCF: Toronto Cybercide highlighted on page 102. But truly, if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading an issue of The Dose yet, you’re in for a treat. The entire issue is top notch, and you’ll be guaranteed to find MANY cool things you hadn’t even imagined existed. Based on the last issue, I’ve already gotten into Aural Vampire and a host of other music groups highlighted there. I’m sure this issue will be no different.


Where to Get it…The Dose is still free and is available for download (as are the previous issues) at: http://www.thedose.info/

I say “still free” because The Dose is quality enough that I wouldn’t be surprised to find this in print form in the near future. Also, you’ll find that The Dose website has recently been blog-enabled, which means we can all comment on their most cool articles now!

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Zines by SFAM.

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