cyberpunk and cyberculture by Dani Cavallaro (book review)

Happy Monday!

 

I was at the library a few weeks ago and I found this book and was sold from the colourful cover and funky title “cyberpunk and cyberculture”(picture of book).  As per the back cover, “Dani Cavallaro is a researcher at the University of Westminster and a freelance writer specalising in contemporary Literature, aesthetics and critical theory.”  


cyberpunk and cyberculture is a literary analysis on science fiction and the first six cyberpunk and culturebooks of William Gibson including, Neromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988), The Difference Engine (1990), Virtual Light (1993), and Idoru (1996).  

 

Synopsis:

Davallaro explores the motifs of SF lit and the subgenre cyberpunk in a variety of different respects rooting the genres in mythology, explores how the cyberbody is presented in the works and how it relates to contemporary issues pertaining to the body, gender and sexuality.  Most interesting and surprising to me is the convincing arguments Davallaro makes linking the genres SF lit and cyberpunk to the gothic, modifying my understanding of the gothic from a genre in itself to more of a meta-tag genre that can be used to better understand the place of SF lit in cannon.  

 

Conclusion:

FULL DISCLOSURE: I haven’t read any William Gibson.  Sorry, please don’t shoot me! Neromancer has been on my list for almost 10 years and I didn’t realise this book was about those works when I got it and now it’s been moved up near the top of my “to read list”.

 

However, that being said, if you have an interest in Gibson’s books or an interest in lit crit I cannot recommend it enough. As a reader it has given me an additional lens not only to dissect my favourite genre but also a framework to approach troubling questions that are becoming increasingly hard to not consider in our changing society.   

 

**SPOILERS BELOW**

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Summer 2017 (Comic and Announcements)

Happy Friday!

Got a comic and some announcements today.

Comic:

summer 2017

Announcements:

Growing Staff, New Columns, and Fan Art:

I have brought on board a co-editor/writer and he will be writing here a few times a week.  We’re still discussing column ideas but we are going to have a dedicated book column on Tuesdays, I will still be doing book reviews on Mondays whenever I don’t have another mystery lined up.  We are talking about doing a Saturday column for poetry and short stories and such.

I am still looking for writers, content editors, etc.  If you’re interested feel free to contact us and let us know why you feel like you’d be a good addition to the obop team.

Speaking of contacting us, if you follow my instagram (@fin.louie) you’ll have seen I got my first pieces of fan art!

Business Card 1Business Card 2

This has inspired me to start a fan art page.  If you would like to send me any fan art, feel free! We love getting stuff like this over here! I got these pieces a solid three weeks ago and I’m STILL buzzin’!

Coming Back to St Louis:

I’ve had my old job offered back to me and a place to stay in St Louis which, being a hobo, I had to follow the work.  I was originally planning to fly to San Francisco for the summer, but not this year.

Speaking of work, I have always had plenty of ideas for the blog, not only how to entertain you in a variety of unique ways, but also help expand my audience base.  I’m going to be making stickers and business cards this summer and leaving them around town.  If you find one, take a picture and tag me on instagram (@fin.louie), twitter (@offbeatonpoint), or facebook (offbeat on-point page) and who knows? I might send you stickers or other swag.

Branching Out into Podcasts/Youtube

I’m planning to make a podcast radio show either in tandem with Rewind Wednesday or in addition to it, either way I won’t entirely drop Wednesday.  Also I’d like to get some interviews on skype or something to upload for youtube, like for a band, or a local artist, or what have you.  Speaking of youtube, I’ve been thinking about trying to make a Fin & Louie animated short.  I have never done animation before but then again I haven’t done a lot of the things I’m doing before.

Tune in Monday for even more future speculation!

 

Talon’s Treehouse (youtube, animation)

 

Happy Thursday!

I’ve mentioned before my love for adult cartoons, specifically lately Rick and Morty, and I’m looking forward to catching up on Bojack Horseman season 3 hopefully this summer, and last night I was looking at a cartoonist I’m following on instagram called Talon’s Treehouse and learned he has a youtube channel.

a son
This might be one of my top favourite comics by Talon.

Talon’s humour in his youtube shorts range from the hyper obscure, to the strangely brilliant.

What’s a “musaphile”?
the big speech
The ending is 100% perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, what I found most interesting on his channel was his “Digital Chapbook,”

The first chapbooks appeared in 16th century Europe and were notable for 2 main reasons: they were cheap to produce, thus they were cheap to buy. Originally, chapbooks were constructed out of low-grade paper and often illustrated with wood-cuts that had nothing at all to do with the text. They were marketed by traveling chapmen (merchants of trinkets & odds ‘n ends), sold to the working class and spread little ballads and short tales of comedy, tragedy, romance and adventure far and wide. They were, quite literally, the first pulp fictions.

Chapbooks mostly faded away once newspapers arrived and only retain a sparkle of life thanks to poets, who sometimes test their work in small amounts before reproducing them for wider audiences. Occasionally those who explore bookmaking as a hobby create their own chapbooks. Overall, however, chapbooks are by and large a relic of the past. Maybe…

My name is Talon and I write and illustrate the little stories that fall out of my head. As a kid, I fell in love with old radio shows, comics and Read-Along Books. This Dapper Rook Digital Chapbook is my way of blending all those elements together and creating something that really has just one purpose–the same purpose the original chapbooks had way back when–nothing, but to amuse.

So sit for a minute. I’ve drawn you some pictures to look at as I tell you a story that you’ve never heard before…

-In description for “A Dapper Rook Chapbook” series (link to playlist here)

The stories Talon tells in his chapbook are all very short (1 or less minute each) and so very strange.  Sometimes they’re violent, like Old Lady Head, some are nostalgic, like Smolders of the Masquerade, but they’re all surprising and strange leaving one satisfied, despite his style borrowing the convention of unsettling endings from dirty realism more often than not.  The effect that is left on me is a certain wanting for more, not just more because it’s strange (nor because you can easily binge watch all his videos in under half

I think the Old Lady Head kinda looks like Carrie Nation.  It would be suiting, I think.

hour) but also because I’m particularly interested to see the evolution of Talon as an animator. His growth in skill and scope is apparent but I’m also interested to see where the Digital Chapbook idea goes and how it will effect the future of digital story telling.

 

 

This idea of the Digital Chapbook reminds me of an app I have been looking into called “Hooked” which is an experimental medium for fictional storytelling in the form of text messages.  I downloaded the app and will be writing about it on an upcoming Mystery Monday.

Anyway I love experimental fiction in all its different forms.  If you have an experimental fiction story to recommend, feel free to leave a comment below.

The Anti-bodies Release New Single, “The Mist” (Punk Rock)

Happy Wednesday!

anti-bodies
Album art is one of my big attractions to punk-rock and this is tops.

A few months ago Izzy from The Anti-bodies facebook added me, and he has a STRIKING resemblance to a friend I had lost contact with ages ago. (1)  So naturally I accepted the invitation immediately and started messaging, so embarrassingly, this Izzy guy things like “MATT FOX! How did you find me?! You fucking legend, where the hell have you been all these years? Last I heard from you, you were in the Amazon collecting rare spiders and planning a trip to Madagascar.” (2)

Dude doesn’t message back for a while.  Like days.  Maybe a week. However, I am not deterred because that would be pretty typical of Matt Fox.  Dude has never been…reliably reachable.  I send more messages about what I’ve been up to for the last 10 years or so (hoboing, traveling, loving and breaking my own heart, getting back into school, studying in England, etc.)  Still no reply.  Few more days pass.

Finally, Izzy is like, “I’m not sure if you’re who I think am…”.  If it wasn’t for Izzy being in a kick-ass punk band, I would very likely have unfriended him out of embarrassment. However we kept talking and I communicated the reasons for my confusion and then I got around to listening to their music and it’s fucking great.

The Anti-bodies describe themselves as follows:

We play punk rock songs about life, love, the undead, beings from outerspace and secret laboratory experiments gone wrong.

-The Anti-bodies bandcamp bio

 

They’re basically everything I love about punk rock: weird/slightly gross cartoon-style album art, songs named after classic horror films, songs themed around cosmic and

the mist
Have you listened to “The Mist” yet?

existential horrors, and a female lead singer (as I’ve mentioned in one of my articles about my favourite band, The Creepshow “Women singer voices tend to fit better in my ear than men’s, though that is not to say I don’t like male singers, it’s just my preference.”).

 

 

 

 

They just released a new single, “The Mist,” which is excellent and is downloadable for $1 USD.

You can find more of their music at their bandcamp page.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Matt Fox is one of those types who no matter what he is doing with his life, no matter how wild or crazy, would not entirely surprise me.  “New York? In a punk rock band? Never seen you play an instrument but I can buy it.”
  2. “Fin Louie” is a nom de plume and the same one I use for my facebook.  However Matt Fox is one of those wild cards who would find you if he wanted to and he wouldn’t tell you how just insisting it was magic or something.
  3. These are all things Matt Fox has done/did.  Dude was wild.  I have stories about the guy involving things like “The Secret Pie Pact” and “Anarchy Dodge ball”.  He was…something else.  Matt Fox: if you’re reading this, for fuck’s sake get in touch.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac (Spoiler Free)

Happy Monday!

 

On the Road and Jack Kerouac were for me, growing up, one of the quintessential travel stories written by the archetype of the traveler. Or so I believed, because I hadn’t read it for the first time until this year.  I’ve spent a lot of the last eight or so years traveling, and in doing so I would read through peoples’ libraries, hoping someone would have copies of books I wanted to read.  However I never did find On the Road until I got a library card again(1) here at Lancaster.  Taking advantage of my library privileges I’ve gotten my hands on three books I’ve been wanting to read for ages but never gotten around to until now: Slaughterhouse Five, The Fault in Our Stars, and On the Road.  The other two books lived up to my expectations.  Did On the Road? Let’s find out.  

Image result for on the road movie
Apparently it’s a movie now, but it only got 6.1 stars on IMDB. I plan to view it at some time.  Review pending.

On the Road is a semi-autobiographical work about a character named Sal Paradise and loose cast of characters all of whom were influential beat authors, including the St Louis native William S. Burrows as Old Bull Lee(2)  The book is split up into five distinct parts which tell a story of Sal Paradise working, loving, running with friends, getting his heart broken, but in the end Kerouac gives Sal an optimistic ending and Dean gets a semi-romanticised ending.

On the Road, like a long-term trip, has some unforgettably beautiful passages that will stick with you long after moving on. But, also like a long-term trip, it gets tough to slog through in parts (and I have faith enough in Kerouac’s style to believe it was structured that way for pacing purposes).  Overall, I’d say the book is worth the read, but it’s likely to be a slow read, because also like a long term holiday, no matter how you try, some things can’t be rushed. And those things tell you when it ends and begins.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Most of the places I’ve lived require “proof of address” to get a library card and because I moved around so much, I’ve had a hard time getting one.    
  2. Allen Ginsberg as Carlo Marx and Neal Cassidy as Dean Moriarty are the other notables. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Road)

 

SPOILERS BELOW

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