Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cyber Warlords

I am still writing at the moment. The demands of work, Dragon Con, my failing health ... many things have conspired to delay my progress with Deconform.

But I promise, my dear comrades, The Ghostmap Radar is still in operation. Reports indicate that ideological terrain continues to shift at a global level, culturo-tectonic readings are disturbing at best, and television microwaves are still causing cerebral power outage on a massive scale.

The Guardian reported this week that a cell of Chinese hackers, possibly affiliated with the People's Liberation Army, have been strategically attacking key information networks controlled by both the United States and British federal governments. There is evidence that this cell of hackers, currently referred to in the West as "Titan Rain," have been in operation for more than four or five years. Their tactics have been called a form of "Pressure Point Warfare." In that sort of scary, real life sort of way, it's a little too much like science fiction

In the opening chapters of the 1984 novel, Neuromancer, a man named Henry Case runs for his life through the streets of Chiba, Japan (the current real world location of Narita Airport). The novel may seem naive at first: Henry Case teams up with a female "street samurai," does massive amounts of synthetic drugs, and has long conversations with holographic entities. The book, however, was one of the main influences of the movie, Blade Runner, and it coined the word "cyberspace" in 1984 - before the internet even existed. The novel depicts a future completely overrun by the capitalist market, inter-continental levels of urban development (a theme borrowed in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan), and a hyper-industrialized vision of modern Asia.

The climax of the novel involves Case jacking his brain directly into the internet and hacking into the secret stronghold of a clandestine mega-corporation. He does so with the help of Molly Millions, a technologically enhanced mercenary, and McCoy Pauley, a.k.a. "The Dixie Flatline." Pauley McCoy is an older hacker who, after returning from the threshold of death several times during his most daring espionage adventures, had his personality uploaded into cyberspace posthumously. Case and McCoy are able to enter the network undetected via an experimental military virus of mysterious, Chinese origin.

Despite its dated status, the novel continues to be significant. Stranger than fiction, huh?

Ghostmap out.


1 comment:

Fifth said...

I need to figure out the next book that you GOTTA READ. Maybe "The Big Sleep"? Or something by Herman Hesse?