2008/05/23

Taking Notes: 'Preface' of Mirrorshades (1986) by Bruce Sterling

這篇是 cyberpunk 文類總括性的宣言,欲瞭解該類型必先閱讀本文。同樣性質的文章在之前則出現在 New Wave 運動。之後新繼起的文類(哪位說現在還是 cyberpunk 時代嘎?),特別是主題式 anthology 必定附上此類文字,一來開宗明義做介紹,二來也企圖在文類發展中取得詮釋權。之前做過筆記的 New Weird 就是一例。廢話不多說,直接看重點:

閱讀出處:
Bruce Sterling, "Preface" in Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by Bruce Sterling (London: Grafton Books, 1990), pp. vii-xiv.

p. vii
首先闡明 cyberpunk 是一種科幻的新運動。
  This book showcases writers who have come to prominence within this decade. Their allegiance to Eighties culture has marked them as a group -- as a new movement in science fiction.
  This movement was quickly recognized and given many labels:〔cyberpunk 的其他名稱〕Radical Hard SF, the Outlaw Technologists, the Eighties Wave, the Neuromantics, the Mirrorshades Group.
  ......, one has stuck: cyberpunk.
  ......, It follows, then, that the "typical cyberpunk writer" does not exist; this person is only a Platonic fiction. For the rest of us, our label is an uneasy bed of Procrustes, where fiendish critics wait to lop and stretch us to fit.
p. viii
cyberpunk 的源起和影響 cyberpunk 的科幻元素:
  Cyberpunk is a product of the Eighties milieu -- in some sense, as I hope to show later, a definitive product. But its roots are deeply sunk in the sixty-year tradition of modern popular SF.
  ......
  From the New Wave: the streetwise edginess of Harlan Ellison. The visionary shimmer of Samuel Delany. The free-wheeling zaniness of Norman Spinrad and the rock esthetic of Michael Moorcock; the intellectual daring of Brian Aldiss; and, always, J. G. Ballard.
  And the cyberpunks treasure a special fondness for SF's native visionaries: the bubbling inventiveness of Philip Jose Farmer; the brio of John Varley, the reality games of Philip K. Dick; the soaring, skipping beatnik tech of Alfred Bester. With a special admiration for a writer whose integration of technology and literature stands unsurpassed: Thomas Pynchon.

  〔以下說明 cyberpunk 的特點以及和傳統科幻的關係〕...... Many of the cyberpunks write a quite accomplished and graceful prose; they are in love with style, and are (some say) fashion-conscious to a fault. But, like the punks of '77, they prize their garage-band esthetic. They love to grapple with the raw core of SF: its ideas. ......
  Like punk music, cyberpunk is in some sense a return to
p. ix
roots. The cyberpunks are perhaps the first generation to grow up not only within the literary tradition of science fiction but in a truly science-fictional world. For them, the techniques of classical "hard SF" -- extrapolation, technological literacy -- are not just literary tools but an aid to daily life. They are a means of understanding, and highly valued.

從運動到文類標籤的建立:
  〔Mirrorshades 符號的由來〕In pop culture, practice comes first; theory follows limping in its tracks. Before the era of labels, cyberpunk was simply "the Movement" -- a loose generational nexus of ambitious young writers, who swapped letters, manuscripts, ideas, glowing praise, and blistering criticism. These writers -- Gibson, Rucker, Shiner, Shirley, Sterling -- found a friendly unity in their common outlook, common themes, even in certain oddly common symbols, which seemed to crop up in their work with a life of their own. Mirrorshades, for instance.
  Mirrored sunglasses have been a Movement totem since the early days of '82. The reasons for this are not hard to grasp. By hiding the eyes, mirrorshades prevent the forces of normalcy from realizing that one is crazed and possibly dangerous. They are the symbol of the sun-staring visionary, the biker, the rocker, the policeman, and similar outlaws. Mirrorshades -- preferably in chrome and matte black, the Movement's totem colors -- appeared in story after story, as a kind of literary badge.

  〔cyberpunk 一詞的意涵〕Thus, "cyberpunk" -- a label none of them chose. But the term now seems a fait accompli, and there is a certain justice in it. The term captures something crucial to the work of these writers, something crucial to the decade as a whole: a new kind of integration. The overlapping of worlds that were formerly separate: the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground.
  This integration has become our decade's crucial source of cultural energy. The work of the cyberpunks is paralleled throughout Eighties pop culture: in rock video; in the hacker
p. x
underground; in the jarring street tech of hip-hop and scratch music; in the synthesizer rock of London and Tokyo. This phenomenon, this dynamic, has a global range; cyberpunk is its literary incarnation.

60s 到 80s 反文化的轉變(從一把電吉他開始反叛→翻轉→上位影響)與 cyberpunk:
  The couterculture of the 1960s was rural, romanticized, anti-science, anti-tech. But there was always a lurking contradiction at its heart, symbolized by the electric guitar. Rock technology was the thin edge of the wedge. As the years have passed, rock tech has grown ever more accomplished, ...... Slowly it is turning rebel pop culture inside out, until the artists at pop's cutting edge are now, quite often, cutting edge technicians in the bargain. ...... The contradiction〔反科技〕has become an integration〔與科技結合〕.
  And now that technology has reached a fever pitch, its influence has slipped control and reached street level. As Alvin Toffler pointed out in The Third Wave -- a bible to many cyberpunks -- the technical revolution reshaping our society is based not in hierarchy but in decentralization, not in rigidity but in fluidity.
p. xi
  The hacker and the rocker are this decade's pop-culture idols, and cyberpunk is very much a pop phenomenon: spontaneous, energetic, close to its roots. Cyberpunk comes from the realm where the computer hacker and the rocker overlap, a cultural Petri dish where writhing gene lines splice. Some find the results bizarre, even monstrous; for others this integration is a powerful source of hope.

因此,cyberpunk 對傳統科幻科技觀的衝擊與改變:
  Science fiction -- at least according to its official dogma -- has always been about the impact of technology. But times have changed since the comfortable era of Hugo Gernsback, when Science was safely enshrined -- and confined -- in an ivory tower. The careless technophilia of those days belongs to a vanished, sluggish era, when authority still had a comfortable margin of control.
  For the cyberpunks, by stark contrast, technology is visceral. It is not the bottled genie of remote Big Science boffins; it is pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, inside our minds.

由此導出 cyberpunk 不時探討的兩大主題:
  Certain central themes spring up repeatedly in cyberpunk. The theme of body invasion: prosthetic limbs, implanted circuitry, cosmetic surgery, genetic alteration. The even more powerful theme of mind invasion: brain-computer interfaces, artificial intelligence, neurochemistry -- techniques radically redefining the nature of humanity, the nature of the self.
p. xii
80s 與 cyberpunk 作品所追求的全球化趨勢:
  The Eighties are an era of reassessment, of integration, of hybridized influences, of old notions shaken loose and reinterpreted with a new sophistication, a broader perspective. The cyberpunks aim for a wide-ranging, global point of view.
  ......
  The tools of global integration -- the satellite media net, the multinational corporation -- fascinate the cyberpunks and figure constantly in their work. Cyberpunk has little patience with borders. ...... Global awareness is more than an article of faith with cyberpunks; it is a deliberate pursuit.

探討 cyberpunk 的風格特色及對科幻文類的影響:
  Cyberpunk work is marked by its visionary intensity. Its writers prize the bizarre, the surreal, the formerly unthinkable. They are willing -- eager, even -- to take an idea and unflinchingly push it past the limits. Like J. G. Ballard -- an idolized role model to many cyberpunks -- they often use an unblinking, almost clinical objectivity. It is a coldly objective analysis, a technique borrowed from science, then put to literary use for classically punk shock value.
  With this intensity of vision comes strong imaginative concentration. Cyberpunk is widely known for its telling use of detail, its carefully constructed intricacy, its willingness to carry extrapolation into the fabric of daily life. It favors "crammed"
p. xiii
prose: rapid, dizzying bursts of novel information, sensory overload that submerges the reader in the literary equivalent of the hard-rock "wall of sound."
  Cyberpunk is a natural extension of elements already present in science fiction, elements sometimes buried but always seething with potential. Cyberpunk has risen from within the SF genre; it is not an invasion but a modern reform. Because of this, its effect within the genre has been rapid and powerful.

以下是更多的宣言和誌謝,就不多筆記了。

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