Last night I stumbled upon this - a sort of online Cyberpunk themed scavenger hunt for the boy band One Direction. Yes, you read that correctly. Looking through this site all I can think about is Hiro’s reaction of horror in Snow Crash when he’s given a pizza that’s already 22 minutes into it’s delivery, “Oh, God oh, God!” Our future world dystopia has taken a turn for the worse!
I jest though. Honestly, as I browse 1D CyberPunk it doesn’t feel too far off from something that might play out in Harajuku Fun Madness - an alternate reality game and scavenger hunt featured in Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother. Shit, the site even reads and feels like something that Chia, a die hard Lo/Rez fan in William Gibson’s Idoru, could have created; just replace 1D with Lo/Rez.
It’s an odd combination for sure, a pretty English-Irish boy band and the dark-dystopian world of Cyberpunk; and I’m not even necessarily saying it’s bad thing. Some of you might cringe at the idea of sharing the world of Cyberpunk with the likes of One Direction and their fans, but I say let the kids have fun. I wish when I was a young teen someone had introduced me to Cyberpunk as a culture and a literary genre. I discovered it on my own when I was twenty after randomly picking up Gibson’s Virtual Light - and I only picked it up because I liked the cover art. As a teenager I probably would have had a lot of fun with an MxPx Cyberpunk scavenger hunt game (Shhh, it was the late 90’s and I was young and my musical choices were lacking).
Who knows, a One Direction Cyberpunk game could act as a springboard for the next Gibsons, Sterlings, Doctorows, Stephensons, and Ruckers of the world. And I’m one who’s always open to more people being a part whatever fandom I’m into. I realize that Cyberpunk is more than just a fandom though. For some, it’s a way of life. Some of you are probably actual hackers - hoping one day to top the feats of the Dixie Flatline. Some you use the net as way of social activism - to bring to our attention the fault of our governments and nations spying programs. Some of you immerse yourselves completely into the culture, following in the footsteps of the console jockey, hoping one day to come across and free some AI’s who call themselves Wintermute and Neuromancer.
Me, I just got into it because of the reading material and the awesome boots. I don’t know the next thing about hacking, heck, I still can’t even figure out how to install a program on Linux; and my social activism as a so called cyberpunk is just based on the fact that I’m a human who wants privacy.
Sure, I might want to hang out and talk about net neutrality, or the NSA, or how Google is going to one day scroogle everyone; but more often than not I just want to talk about how badass Hiro Protagonist is - and One Direction fans might want to also… so I say welcome to club.
William Gibson recently visited the New York Public Library and read the first chapter from his new Science Fiction novel The Peripheral. The Peripheral is written from the point of view of two separate characters, one who’s "…world is maybe thirty years from now and is relatively familiar, and the other one is way the hell down the time line and consequently really hard to write."
Directly downloads of the video, audio, and transcripts are below, if you read the transcript, he begins reading from the book on page 34: