Sunday, November 20, 2011

Movement to Posthuman

In the interview, Gibson states that he predicted cyberspace would become banal and commonplace. However, in his novel he depicts cyberspace as exciting. Bearing this in mind, in what ways do you think literature affects reality and reality affects literature?

The literature/reality dynamic is complex. In the 1950' era up to the point of personal computer/internet emerging this interaction used to have an external relationship insomuch that sci-fi predicted much of our technological advancements: rockets to the moon, cybernetics, etc. However, as technology today seems to advance not as quickly on the physical plane (although it does advance, just not at the same ratio prior) on the virtual/data reality there seems to be no boundaries. There has been a shift from physical advancement to the virtual. Strictly speak about sci-fi for the moment, the previous external focus that was seen, hasn't shift along with the technological 'shift'. The previous focus and flare for the external machine has not yet been fully realized for the virtual. This is not to say that there aren't authors writing about the virtual, there are quite a few, the point here is that there seems to be a reluctance that wasn't there for physical technology. Much of the sci-fi writing about 0's and 1's tends to be a current depiction with less of a "F"uture look.

Gibson talks about his reticent desire to move forward with the emergent technology so as not to lose his objectivity as well as the point that the banality of this technology comes not from the technology itself but comes from what we 'do' with it. These two issues subtext a possibly greater concern. As Gibson mentions that technology changes the user, the subtext concern could in fact be a concern for the literature/reality interaction. As new technology emerges, how we interact and how literature interacts with reality changes. All around us book stores are closing; more and more we see 'literature' moving from a physical state of being to a digital state. Despite how the words and content effect reality, just the fact that there is a shift of literature itself would demarcate an external change. This shift goes back to Gibson's statement of how the distinction between the real and cyberspace is eroding. We physically react to 0's and 1's much like Gibson mentions when he first viewed children playing video games and how what they were "yearning for was on the other side of the glass... [to] be in there with the color whirling data". With literature moving to a 0/1 existence there almost seems to be a loop forming. We interact with literature and literature interacts with reality but then with a move to virtual space and our 'physicality' with this data that was previously solid would then indicated a reality shift to virtual. This seems obvious but the change that this will bring isn't as clear. It's almost a posthuman move from human consciousness to a computer consciousness. With the medium changing so to will the data be affected.


  1. I love it when people put post in front of something