Mirrorshades Postmodern Archive



  • Beyond Cyberpunk
  • John Shirley
  • Cyberpunk
  • EFF's Cyberpunk Archive
  • Yahoo Cyberpunk Index
  • Mondo 2000
  • SF Eye
  • Jon Lebkowsky
  • 2600
  • National Security Agency
  • Survival Research Labs
  • The Hacker Crackdown by Bruce Sterling
  • Jon Lebkowsky interviews Sterling about Hacker Crackdown
  • William Gibson and Gibson references
  • Street Tech
  • One definition of Cyberpunk
  • Cyberpunk

    The Mirrorshades anthology, edited by our cohost Bruce Sterling, surveyed a literary subgenre that was called cyberpunk not because the term had any precise meaning (it didn't), but because it worked as a catchy marketing bite, a buzzword representing ideas and memes that had resonance more through attitude than content. The vague term cyberpunk became a conceptual mirror, reflecting rather than conveying meaning.

    Over time `cyberpunk' referred less to a sci-fi subgenre, and more to a movement that was the beatnik underside of the evolving digital culture, encompassing the countercultural fascinations of the 90s -- the computer underground, rave/house culture, zine culture, designer psychedelics, goth morbidity, etc.

    These cultural eruptions were blasting signals from virtual communities on the Matrix of systems connected to and including the Internet, in communities of correspondence emerging from the borders of the virtual with the real. These fringe scenes were imbued with a science fiction kind of surreality, which was evolving organically and anarchically from the proliferating Temporary Autonomous Zones.

    We created the Mirrorshades Conference on the WELL from ashes of the old cyberpunk conference, recognizing that the term cyberpunk and the fringe technophiliac trends it had come to represent were products of a cultural adolescence that would quickly cycle out. But just as the child is the father to the man, the nascent proclivities of an emerging culture are never lost, but are inherent in its memetic structure. Cyberpunk will always be relevant as one root from which a mainstream digital culture has grown. //Jon L.


    About the WELL To WELL homepage To WELL Conferences

    This page is maintained by bruces at well.com and jonl at well.com.
    Send comments and critiques about this page to jonl at well.com
    Updated on 2/16/2003.