Bruce Sterling

Don't become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. If you want to woo the muse of the odd, don't read Shakespeare. Read Webster's revenge plays. Don't read Homer and Aristotle. Read Herodotus where he's off talking about Egyptian women having public sex with goats. If you want to read about myth don't read Joseph Campbell, read about convulsive religion, read about voodoo and the Millerites and the Munster Anabaptists. There are hundreds of years of extremities, there are vast legacies of mutants. There have always been geeks. There will always be geeks. Become the apotheosis of geek. Learn who your spiritual ancestors were. You didn't come here from nowhere. There are reasons why you're here. Learn those reasons. Learn about the stuff that was buried because it was too experimental or embarrassing or inexplicable.
---``The Wonderful Power of Storytelling''
The self-described Chairman Mao of the cyberpunk movement --- for whatever that's worth. I used to like his essays and reportage much better than his fiction, but a summer spent reading Heavy Weather and Islands in the Net changed my mind. Though the Shaper-Mechanist stories still do nothing for me except squick me out, I now expect to be a character from one of his more recent books when I grow up.

For the last few years, Mr. Sterling and I have been corresponding very sporadically, I'm a dedicated follower of his ``Viridian Movement,'' and I even helped arrange for him to come give a public lecture sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute. (Unfortunately I had to be in Washington, lying to the Air Force about the military potential of my research, when that happened, so we've never met in the flesh.)

Sterling's Own Writing On-Line

Sterling is making most if not all of his non-fiction available over the net. This is now being taken care of by another fan, Chris Waltrip, in the Bruce Sterling Online Index.

Years ago, when we moved data over the net by tying packets to the backs of gophers, I took three of my favorite essays by Sterling and put them into HTML, so they looked nice: ``Free as Air, Free as Water, Free as Knowledge'', ``My Rihla.'' and ``Science or Fiction''.

Local Related Links

I have reviews of a couple of Sterling's books. J. D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh and the Devil: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul, 1929. Sterling has certainly read this, and I'm mortally certain it was one of his sources for the Shaper-Mechanist stories, including Schismatrix. [Let the record show that that was written years before Sterling said as much, in the preface to the augmented reprint edition, Schismatrix Plus.]

Off-Site Related Links

Viridian Design is a Green design movement heavily into really climate change, greenhouse disasters, and the most advanced possible Green technology (hence ``viridian,'' a shade of green not found in nature). Sterling presides over the movement (in which I am a proud, chevron-bearing member) as a benign ``Mad Pope-Emperor'' (i.e., an editor).

Schism Matrix is Sterling's blog.

MIRRORSHADES is a conference on the WELL hosted by (among others) Sterling. ``MIRRORSHADES, it'll be science fiction in a year. In two years it will be in WIRED magazine. In three years teenage girls will be wearing it. In four years it'll be mentioned on CNN. In five years it'll be `discovered.' ''

Dead Media Museum; the initial speech by Sterling about dead media.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Storm Chaser Homepage.

CRS (Wed Nov 21 20:46:45 2001)