© Copyright William Gibson
Из сборника CyberSpace - First Steps
"Ride music beams back to base."
He phases out on a vector of train whistles and the one
particular steel-engraved slant of winter sun these
manifestations favor, leaving the faintest tang of Players
Navy Cut and opening piano bars of East St. Louis, this
dangerous old literary gentleman who sent so many of us out,
under sealed orders, years ago . . .
Inspector Lee taught a new angle--
Frequencies of silence; blank walls at street level. In the
flat field. We became field operators. Decoding the lattices.
Patrolling the deep faults. Under the lights. Machine Dreams.
The crowds, swept with con . . . Shibuya Times Square
Picadilly. A parked car, an arena of grass, a fountain filled
with earth. In the hour of the halogen wolves . . . The hour
remembered. In radio silence . . .
Just a chance operator in the gasoline crack of history,
officer . . .
Assembled word cyberspace from small and readily available
components of language. Neologic spasm: the primal act of pop
poetics. Preceded any concept whatever. Slick and
hollow--awaiting received meaning.
All I did: folded words as taught. Now other words accrete
in the interstices.
"Gentlemen, that is not now nor will it ever be my concern .
. . "
Not what I do.
I work the angle of transit. Vectors of neon plaza, licensed
consumers, acts primal and undreamed of . . .
The architecture of virtual reality imagined as an accretion
of dreams: tattoo parlors, shooting galleries, pinball
arcades, dimly lit stalls stacked with damp-stained years of
men's magazines, chili joints, premises of unlicensed
denturists, of fireworks and cut bait, betting shops, sushi
bars, purveyors of sexual appliances, pawnbrokers, wonton
counters, love hotels, hotdog stands, tortilla factories,
Chinese greengrocers, liquor stores, herbalists,
chiropractors, barbers, bars.
These are dreams of commerce. Above them rise intricate
barrios, zones of more private fantasy . . .
Angle of transit sets us down in front of this dusty
cardtable in an underground mall in the Darwin Free Trade
Zone, muzak-buzz of seroanalysis averages for California-
Oregon, factoids on EBV mutation rates and specific
translocations at the breakpoint near the c-myc oncogene...
Kelsey's second week in Australia and her brother is keeping
stubbornly in-condo, doing television, looping Gladiator
Skull and a new Japanese game called Torture Garden. She
walks miles of mall that could as easily be Santa Barbara
again or Singapore, buying British fashion magazines,
shoplifting Italian eye-shadow; only the stars at night are
different, Southern Cross, and the Chinese boys skim the
plazas on carbon-fiber skateboards trimmed with neon.
She pauses in front of the unlicensed vendor, his face
notched with pale scars of sun-cancer. He has a dozen
cassettes laid out for sale, their plastic cases scratched
and dusty. "Whole city in there," he says, "Kyoto, yours for
a twenty." She sees the security man, tall and broad, Keviar-
vested, blue-eyed, homing in to throw the old man out, as she
tosses the coin on impulse and snatches the thing up,
whatever it is, and turns, smiling blankly, to swan past the
guard. She's a licensed consumer, untouchable, and looking
back she sees the vendor squinting, grinning his defiance, no
sign of the $20 coin . . .
No sign of her brother when she returns to the condo. She
puts on the glasses and the gloves and slots virtual Kyoto .
Once perfected, communication technologies rarely die out
entirely; rather, they shrink to fit particular niches in
the global info-structure. Crystal radios have been proposed
as a means of conveying optimal seed-planting times to
isolated agrarian tribes. The mimeograph, one of many recent
dinosaurs of the urban office-place, still shines with
undiminished samisdat potential in the century's backwaters,
the Late Victorian answer to desktop publishing. Banks in
uncounted Third World villages still crank the day's totals
on black Burroughs adding machines, spooling out yards of
faint indigo figures on long, oddly festive curls of paper,
while the Soviet Union, not yet sold on throw-away new-tech
fun, has become the last reliable source of vacuum tubes.
The eight-track tape format survives in the truckstops of
the Deep South, as a medium for country music and spoken-
The Street finds its own uses for things--uses the
manufacturers never imagined. The micro-tape recorder,
originally intended for on-the-jump executive dictation,
becomes the revolutionary medium of magnetisdat, allowing the
covert spread of banned political speeches in Poland and
China. The beeper and the cellular phone become economic
tools in an increasingly competitive market in illicit drugs.
Other technological artifacts unexpectedly become means of
communication . . . The aerosol can gives birth to the urban
graffitti-matrix. Soviet rockers press homemade flexidisks
out of used chest x-rays . . .
Fifteen stones against white sand.
The sandals of a giant who was defeated by a dwarf.
A pavilion of gold, another of silver.
A waterfall where people pray . . .
Her mother removes the glasses. Her mother looks at the
hours. "But you don't like games, Kelsey . . . "
"It's not a game," tears in her eyes. "It's a city." Her
mother puts on the glasses, moves her head from side to side,
removes the glasses.
"I want to go there," Kelsey says.
"It's different now. Everything changes."
"I want to go there," Kelsey insists. She puts the glasses
back on because the look in her mother's eyes frightens her.
The stones, the white sand: cloud-shrouded peaks, islands in
She wants to go there . . .
"The targeted numerals of the ACADEMY LEADER were hypnogogic
sigils preceding the dreamstate of film."
William Gibson. Academy Leader
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