Snow Crash

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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Summary

One of Time’s 100 best English-language novels • A mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous, you’ll recognize it immediately Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Praise for Snow Crash “[Snow Crash is] a cross between Neuromancer and Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland. This is no mere hyperbole.”—The San Francisco Bay Guardian “Fast-forward free-style mall mythology for the twenty-first century.”—William Gibson “Brilliantly realized . . . Stephenson turns out to be an engaging guide to an onrushing tomorrow.”—The New York Times Book Review

Le Samouraï virtuel

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Le Samouraï virtuel by Neal Stephenson Summary

« Il faudrait te décider. Ce Snow Crash, au juste, c’est un virus, une drogue ou une religion ? Elle hausse les épaules. — Quelle différence ? demande-t-elle. » Magnat d’une vaste entreprise de médias, L. Bob Rife a développé, à partir de découvertes dans des fouilles sumériennes, le Snow Crash, une drogue qui attaque le cerveau humain, désorganise le système nerveux et rend fou. Mais la particularité de celle-ci est d’agir également comme un virus dans le Métavers, la réalité virtuelle. Hackeur réputé et champion de sabre dans le Métavers, Hiro Protagoniste, livreur pour Pizza CosaNostra dans le monde réel, et Y. T., une jeune kourière qui se déplace avec sa planche à roulettes Intelliroues, se retrouvent sous l’œil protecteur du parrain tonton Enzo pour lutter contre le métavirus. Deux mondes vont s’affronter jusqu’à la victoire du bien sur le mal. Roman culte du genre SF cyberpunk, lauréat du Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire et du prix Ozone en 1997, Le Samouraï virtuel est en cours d’adaptation au cinéma par le réalisateur Joe Cornish.

The Shape of the Signifier

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The Shape of the Signifier by Walter Benn Michaels Summary

The Shape of the Signifier is a critique of recent theory--primarily literary but also cultural and political. Bringing together previously unconnected strands of Michaels's thought--from "Against Theory" to Our America--it anatomizes what's fundamentally at stake when we think of literature in terms of the experience of the reader rather than the intention of the author, and when we substitute the question of who people are for the question of what they believe. With signature virtuosity, Michaels shows how the replacement of ideological difference (we believe different things) with identitarian difference (we speak different languages, we have different bodies and different histories) organizes the thinking of writers from Richard Rorty to Octavia Butler to Samuel Huntington to Kathy Acker. He then examines how this shift produces the narrative logic of texts ranging from Toni Morrison's Beloved to Michael Hardt and Toni Negri's Empire. As with everything Michaels writes, The Shape of the Signifier is sure to leave controversy and debate in its wake.

The Future of Identity in the Information Society

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The Future of Identity in the Information Society by Simone Fischer-Hübner,Penny Duquenoy,Albin Zuccato,Leonardo Martucci Summary

The increasing diversity of Infonnation Communication Technologies and their equally diverse range of uses in personal, professional and official capacities raise challenging questions of identity in a variety of contexts. Each communication exchange contains an identifier which may, or may not, be intended by the parties involved. What constitutes an identity, how do new technologies affect identity, how do we manage identities in a globally networked infonnation society? th th From the 6 to the 10 August 2007, IFIP (International Federation for Infonnation Processing) working groups 9. 2 (Social Accountability), 9. 6/11. 7 (IT rd Misuse and the Law) and 11. 6 (Identity Management) hold their 3 Intemational Summer School on "The Future of Identity in the Infonnation Society" in cooperation with the EU Network of Excellence FIDIS at Karlstad University. The Summer School addressed the theme of Identity Management in relation to current and future technologies in a variety of contexts. The aim of the IFIP summer schools has been to introduce participants to the social implications of Infonnation Technology through the process of infonned discussion. Following the holistic approach advocated by the involved IFIP working groups, a diverse group of participants ranging from young doctoral students to leading researchers in the field were encouraged to engage in discussion, dialogue and debate in an infonnal and supportive setting. The interdisciplinary, and intemational, emphasis of the Summer School allowed for a broader understanding of the issues in the technical and social spheres.

Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction

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Cyberculture, Cyborgs and Science Fiction by William S. Haney Summary

Addressing a key issue related to human nature, this book argues that the first-person experience of pure consciousness may soon be under threat from posthuman biotechnology. In exploiting the mind's capacity for instrumental behavior, posthumanists seek to extend human experience by physically projecting the mind outward through the continuity of thought and the material world, as through telepresence and other forms of prosthetic enhancements. Posthumanism envisions a biology/machine symbiosis that will promote this extension, arguably at the expense of the natural tendency of the mind to move toward pure consciousness. As each chapter of this book contends, by forcibly overextending and thus jeopardizing the neurophysiology of consciousness, the posthuman condition could in the long term undermine human nature, defined as the effortless capacity for transcending the mind's conceptual content.Presented here for the first time, the essential argument of this book is more than a warning; it gives a direction: far better to practice patience and develop pure consciousness and evolve into a higher human being than to fall prey to the Faustian temptations of biotechnological power. As argued throughout the book, each person must choose for him or herself between the technological extension of physical experience through mind, body and world on the one hand, and the natural powers of human consciousness on the other as a means to realize their ultimate vision.

Babel 17

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Babel 17 by Samuel R. Delany Summary

Au cours d’un conflit interstellaire, l’Alliance terrienne se voit menacée par une série d’attentats visant ses installations stratégiques les plus sensibles. Ces attaques coïncident avec des émissions dans une langue impénétrable : Babel 17. Les autorités militaires font appel à Rydra Wong, cryptographe extraordinaire et poétesse renommée, pour résoudre l’énigme. Aux commandes du vaisseau spatial, le Rimbaud, et de son équipage hétéroclite, Rydra part vers les étoiles, sur la piste des concepteurs. Mais plus elle en apprend sur Babel 17, plus ses schémas de pensée seront altérés... Lauréat du Prix Nebula Le space opera revu par un auteur-phare de la Nouvelle Vague en SF.

Tomorrow through the Past

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Tomorrow through the Past by Jon Lewis Summary

Tomorrow Through the Past: Neal Stephenson and the Project of Global Modernization is the first collection of scholarly essays dedicated exclusively to this important voice in contemporary American fiction. The collection grew from five essays originally presented at the 2006 XXth Century Literature Conference at the University of Louisville, and the contributors are made up of graduate students, independent scholars, and university professors who hope the collection will aid general readers as well as instructors teaching Stephenson and professionals building the critical response to his work. Reading through the lenses of history and linguistic, cultural, and science fiction studies, the essays in the collection examine each of Stephenson’s novels from The Big U to The Baroque Cycle as well as his long non-fiction work on computer operating systems, In the Beginning … Was the Command Line. Included in this collection is a new interview conducted with Stephenson during the summer of 2006.

Space Time Play

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Space Time Play by Friedrich von Borries,Steffen P. Walz,Matthias Böttger Summary

Computer and video games are leaving the PC and conquering the arena of everyday life in the form of mobile applications—the result is new types of cities and architecture. How do these games alter our perception of real and virtual space? What can the designers of physical and digital worlds learn from one another?

Demain, les mondes virtuels

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Demain, les mondes virtuels by Rémi Sussan Summary

Née dans les années 80, la réalité virtuelle a envahi le monde des jeux vidéo, avant de s'implanter dans le Net. Technologie de l'imaginaire, faite de la substance même des rêves, elle suscite bien des fantasmes... Aujourd'hui, des univers tels que Second Life ou World of Warcraft marquent la renaissance du domaine. S'agit-il d'une technologie en devenir qui va transformer notre quotidien, ou d'un effet de mode ? De quoi dépend l'avenir de ces mondes virtuels ? Cet ouvrage propose un inventaire des innovations nécessaires au développement des mondes virtuels, et en explore toutes les dimensions actuelles et futures. Rémi Sussan décrypte les problématiques humaines et sociales de ces univers : Comment se développent les sociétés virtuelles ? Comment notre cerveau réagit-il à l'interaction avec des avatars ? Ces mondes ont-ils une influence sur la façon de communiquer ? Cela va-t-il changer notre façon de travailler, de nous déplacer ? Comment vont se transformer ces mondes parallèles ? Demain, les mondes virtuels est la carte d'embarquement indispensable pour s'immerger dans ces univers.

Mindstar

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Mindstar by Peter F. Hamilton Summary

Bienvenue au XXIe siècle. Le réchauffement climatique est irréversible. Après diverses catastrophes, un libéralisme effréné règne sur notre planète et les grandes compagnies détiennent désormais le pouvoir. Dans un tel environnement, un homme averti peut très bien tirer son épingle du jeu. Un homme comme Greg Mandel, ancien soldat d'élite de la brigade Mindstar et doté d'un implant biotechnologique qui fait de son intuition une arme redoutable. Pendant que les cartels se disputent sans merci une nouvelle source d'énergie révolutionnaire, la tension atteint son paroxysme... et Greg Mandel va affronter l'épreuve ultime.

La controverse de Zara XXIII

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La controverse de Zara XXIII by John Scalzi Summary

Prospecteur indépendant sur une des planètes minières de la toute-puissante compagnie Zarathoustra, Jack Holloway découvre un filon d’innombrables pierres précieuses dont une seule suffira à le mettre quelque temps à l’abri du besoin... si les avocats de son client ne trouvent pas le moyen de l’en déposséder. Le même jour l’alarme de son domicile se déclenche. On s’est introduit chez lui. S’agit-il d’un cambrioleur ? Non ! L’intrus se révèle être une adorable boule de poils d’une espièglerie confondante. Mais sans doute ne vit-elle pas seule sur cette planète... Bientôt, les cadres de la compagnie s’avisent du problème : si le petit peuple à fourrure de Zara XXIII est doué de raison, c’en sera fini de l’exploitation de son sous-sol par une entreprise étrangère. À leurs yeux, la solution est simple : tout faire pour que ne soit pas reconnue cette intelligence. Ainsi débute La controverse de Zara XXIII. Avec son humour coutumier, John Scalzi laisse cette fois encore libre cours à ses idées humanistes dans cette histoire pleine de rebondissements où il dénonce l’âpreté au gain des puissants, l’individualisme de tous et la vulnérabilité des plus faibles.

Cyberarts 2000

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Cyberarts 2000 by Hannes Leopoldseder,Christine Schöpf Summary

Compendium of Computer Arts from the Competition Prix Ars Electronica.

Netymology

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Netymology by Tom Chatfield Summary

Composed of 100 bite-sized entries of 400 to 600 words each, Netymology weaves together stories, etymologies and analyses around digital culture's transformation, and creation, of words. Tom Chatfield presents a kaleidoscopic, thought-provoking tour through the buried roots of some of the digital age's most common terms: from the @ and Apple symbols, to HTML and Trojan horses, to the twisted histories of new forms of slang, memes, text messages and gaming terms. There's also discussion of the trends behind digital words, and of the ways language itself is being shaped by new forces - and revelations about how these forces are, in turn, reshaping us.

Le droit dans les mondes virtuels

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Le droit dans les mondes virtuels by Gérald Delabre Summary

Univers virtuels, mondes en 3D, métavers, avatar, voilà autant de termes qui, tout en étant bien intégrés dans notre environnement moderne, ne sont pas sans interroger l’utilisateur moyen d’Internet. Les relations et interactions au sein d’environnements virtuels, grâce à des personnages qui nous représentent (ou pas) sous forme d’avatar interrogent également le juriste et le philosophe : Dans quelle mesure l’individu se projette-t-il dans son avatar? L’avatar dispose-t-il des droits que l’on accorde à toute personne qui interagit dans le monde réel ? L’avatar a-t-il un droit à l’image, à une liberté d’expression indépendante de celle accordée à celui qui en a la direction ? Peut-on confondre la personne qui crée l’avatar et l’avatar lui-même, à tel point que l’on pourrait sanctionner les atteintes apportées à cet avatar comme une atteinte apportée à l’individu qui se trouve derrière ? Le monde économique s’intéresse aussi à ces univers, au sein desquels les concepteurs, dont les objectifs ne sont pas désintéressés, ont pris soin de créer des monnaies virtuelles. Ce sont ainsi toutes les activités économiques qui deviennent possibles. Des échanges économiques, et donc monétaires se déroulent au sein des mondes virtuels, mais aussi entre le monde virtuel et le monde réel. C’est à cette réflexion juridique pluridisciplinaire, et largement prospective, que le Centre Droit et Nouvelles Technologies convie des philosophes, des économistes et des juristes.

La Septieme Dimension

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La Septieme Dimension by Guy Millière Summary

Nous sommes au coeur d'une mutation profonde et irréversible. Le monde dans lequel nous entrons est d'ores et déjà très différent de celui que nous sommes en train de quitter. Le monde de demain sera bien plus différent encore. Ce ne sont pas seulement l'économie et la finance qui sont concernées, mais la politique et la géopolitique, les cultures, le travail, l'organisation entrepreneuriale, la sécurité et la défense, la vie même et le rapport des êtres humains à leur propre existence. Nous vivons un changement de paradigme, aussi radical en ses effets et ses conséquences que celui qui a vu s'opérer la révolution industrielle au XIXe siècle. L'objet de ce livre est d'expliquer et de donner à comprendre ce changement. " Aux trois dimensions dans lesquelles nous vivons depuis longtemps, à la quatrième dimension qui est la dimension temps dans le continuum espace-temps, à la cinquième qui désigne les déplacements dans l'espace-temps, s'ajoute la sixième, la dimension virtuelle, celle de l'immatérialité, du haut et du très haut débit où tout se déplace à une vitesse proche de celle de la lumière et où nous vivons de plus en plus une part cruciale de nos vies. La septième dimension, c'est ce qui transite et emporte tout cela. "

Virtually Sacred

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Virtually Sacred by Robert M. Geraci Summary

Millions of users have taken up residence in virtual worlds, and in those worlds they find opportunities to revisit and rewrite their religious lives. Robert M. Geraci argues that virtual worlds and video games have become a locus for the satisfaction of religious needs, providing many users with devoted communities, opportunities for ethical reflection, a meaningful experience of history and human activity, and a sense of transcendence. Using interviews, surveys, and his own first-hand experience within the virtual worlds, Geraci shows how World of Warcraft and Second Life provide participants with the opportunity to rethink what it means to be religious in the contemporary world. Not all participants use virtual worlds for religious purposes, but many online residents use them to rearrange or replace religious practice as designers and users collaborate in the production of a new spiritual marketplace. Using World of Warcraft and Second Life as case studies, this book shows that many residents now use virtual worlds to re-imagine their traditions and work to restore them to "authentic" sanctity, or else replace religious institutions with virtual communities that provide meaning and purpose to human life. For some online residents, virtual worlds are even keys to a post-human future where technology can help us transcend mortal life. Geraci argues that World of Warcraft and Second Life are "virtually sacred" because they do religious work. They often do such work without regard for-and frequently in conflict with-traditional religious institutions and practices; ultimately they participate in our sacred landscape as outsiders, competitors, and collaborators.

Interface

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Interface by Neal Stephenson,J. Frederick George Summary

From his triumphant debut with Snow Crash to the stunning success of his latest novel, Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson has quickly become the voice of a generation. In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise. There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage—an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip implanted in his head hardwires him to a computerized polling system. The mood of the electorate is channeled directly into his brain. Forget issues. Forget policy. Cozzano is more than the perfect candidate. He's a special effect. “Complex, entertaining, frequently funny."—Publishers Weekly “Qualifies as the sleeper of the year, the rare kind of science-fiction thriller that evokes genuine laughter while simultaneously keeping the level of suspense cranked to the max."— San Diego Union-Tribune “A Manchurian Candidate for the computer age.” —Seattle Weekly

Critical Digital Studies

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Critical Digital Studies by Arthur Kroker,Marilouise Kroker Summary

Since its initial publication, Critical Digital Studies has proven an indispensable guide to understanding digitally mediated culture. Bringing together the leading scholars in this growing field, internationally renowned scholars Arthur and Marilouise Kroker present an innovative and interdisciplinary survey of the relationship between humanity and technology. The reader offers a study of our digital future, a means of understanding the world with new analytic tools and means of communication that are defining the twenty-first century. The second edition includes new essays on the impact of social networking technologies and new media. A new section – “New Digital Media” – presents important, new articles on topics including hacktivism in the age of digital power and the relationship between gaming and capitalism. The extraordinary range and depth of the first edition has been maintained in this new edition. Critical Digital Studies will continue to provide the leading edge to readers wanting to understand the complex intersection of digital culture and human knowledge.

Virtual Geographies

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Virtual Geographies by Sabine Heuser Summary

Virtual Geographies is the first detailed study to offer a working definition of cyberpunk within the postmodern force field. Cyberpunk emerges as a new generic cluster within science fiction, one that has spawned many offspring in such domains as film, music, and feminism. Its central features are its adherence to a version of virtual space and a deconstructivist, punk attitude towards (high) culture, modernity, the human body and technology, from computers to prosthetics. The main proponents of cyberpunk are analyzed in depth along with the virtual landscapes they have created - William Gibson's Cyberspace, Pat Cadigan's Mindscapes and Neal Stephenson's Metaverse. Virtual reality is examined closely in all its aspects, from the characteristic narrative constructions employed to the esthetic implications of the 'virtual sublime' and its postmodern potential as a discursive mode. With its interdisciplinary approach Virtual Geographies opens up fresh perspectives for scholars interested in the interaction between popular culture and mainstream literature. At the same time, the science fiction fan will be taken beyond the conventional boundaries of the genre into such revitalizing domains as postmodern architecture and literature, and into cutting-edge aspects of science and social thought.