4d. How do literature and literacy appear in utopian or dystopian cultures? Include computer literacy: What is a “virtual utopia” in science fiction and technology? How has utopian speculation, communication, and organization adapted to the Web? Does the Web itself assume utopian or millennial attributes? Can virtual reality appear utopian while actual reality becomes dystopian?
+ virtual reality = Platonic ideal, actual reality = material forms
Discussion question(s): What other virtual or cyber-utopias? Print-texts or elsewhere? Games?
If cyber-utopias appearing in print-texts is inherently ironical, what implications for future of literature on paper or new digital medium / media? Are games like novels?
Application to Oryx and Crake?
Crake & Jimmy as teens appear not to be inhabiting or visiting cyberspace but using computers to play chess or watch video
avatars less familiar in 2004?
porn, snuff sites as dystopia?
188 curricular emphasis > Webgame Dynamics + Problematics
243 library job earmarking books for destruction or digital form
276 sunset _ videocam screens
315 digital TV: erotic wallpaper
Platonic passages in Oryx & Crake
26 furniture called reproduction--an original somewhere
all belonged to the OrganInc compound
77 computer chess: this is a real set . . . neither is a plastic set
The real set is in your head.
83 "What is reality?"
144 All sex is real.
302 What is really?
virtual utopias: Snow Crash & Circuit of Heaven
virtual utopias: "virtual" refers to "virtual reality" or "virtual worlds"; technology allowing viewer to interact with simulated environment, + related literary style of cyberpunk
Popular culture: The Matrix (1999, 2003);
Strange Days (1995, d. Kathryn Bigelow)
Tron (1982), Tron: Legacy (2010)
Except for these limited victories, film versions of cyberpunk literature have been disappointing critically and commercially.
video games, e.g. World of Warcraft; Tank
Virtual reality--many terms for same development, or different aspects of it;
e.g. cybernetics, IT (instructional / information technology); computer-simulated environment; artificial reality; computer graphics; cyberspace; computer-simulated world; wired / wireless world; online
separation of participant from actual reality: cocooning, infosphere, metaverse (cf. separation of utopia from normal world)
reality becomes code, data, information
maybe not that different from reading a book
compare Platonism, platonic ideals, simplified geometrical forms
escapes rough edges & messiness of material forms, biological existence
Wikipedia on Second Life
Users / avatars as “residents”
Linden Lab stated goal of creating world like Metaverse in Snow Crash
Snow Crash (1992)
Neal Stephenson (b. 1959), Snow Crash NY: Bantam, 1992
The Diamond Age 1995
The Baroque Cycle 2003-4; eight novels published in 3 volumes
Complexity and detail, pop-culture hip + slapstick comedy and satire
Characters: Hiro Protagonist, pizza delivery man + samurai warrior in Metaverse
Y.T., skateboarder who helps Hiro in dramatic on-time delivery
Rat Thing, bionic dog-like guard on whom Y.T. takes pity
The Raven, Byronic bad guy
6 dystopia > Burbclave = city-state; privatization of state and security
23-5, esp. 24 Hero at computer > Metaverse
26 freed from constraints of physics and finance (cf. genetics and conditions)
contrast with earth dystopia
32 apartheid Burbclaves
36 gorilla, dragon
Metaverse as metaphor
37 off-the-shelf avatars—Brandy and Clint (satire; cf. Pleeblands Street of Dreams)
38 a new ethnic group
57 Juanita and faces
58 ethnic group: military
63 Adam & Eve
Circuit of Heaven
Dennis Danvers (b. 1947), Circuit of Heaven 1998 + End of Days 1999
Characters: Nemo, living outside "the Bin" (virtual reality)
Justine, composite construct whom he loves, must join in virtual reality
13-14 cf. Genesis
16-17 Justine > bookshop
36-37 reality only better + maintain illusion of Metaverse
50-51 virtual birth, x-labor
55 escalator + 60, x-labor
72-3 rapture & fire, apoc.
104 beautiful / same
183 garden city
190-1 Paradise Lost