Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Johnny Mnemonic

For this week I read the short story “Johnny Mnemonic” by William Gibson which, luckily for me, ended up being the short story that was discussed in class that same week. Looking back, I can see that this is the point where I started to get very excited and inspired by class discussions, or at the very least when I started writing down notes of things that were mentioned in these classes.

First of all, I was extremely satisfied to finally learn what cyberpunk actually was: I'd heard the sub-genre's name before, but never actually knew what kind of story it referred to. After that, I was very quick to learn that I like this sub-genre a lot. Over the course of this year, and particularly through this class, I've learned that I am kind of obsessive over fictional worlds. I feel like the cyberpunk stories that I was introduced to did exactly this kind of world-building that I love. The stories take place in a not-so-distant future, and the many similarities they have to our real world make the things that are different seem so much more foreign and strange than if they were in an entirely different, fantastical world.

The mixture of technology with life and society are what really make these exotic worlds. Nearly every character in these stories is some form of genetically altered creature or cyborg. Biology itself is replaced by machinery. The loss of the importance of resources to that of technology is an extension of this. Wars are fought over information. Information is carried in humans with hard drives implanted in their brains. It is a fascinating and completely realistic idea of our future: in fact, I would say that it seems unlikely that humans won't be implanting computers into their bodies in the coming years.

I'll close by mentioning again how happy I am that we spent a week discussing this sub-genre of science fiction, because now I know exactly what kind of stories to look into when I am in need of a huge amount of inspiration.

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