Society X

the Great Universe

Tag: William Gibson

Neuromancer, Zion, The Matrix and Google Earth

by 5ocietyx

neuromancer

In his 1984 cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, William Gibson coined the phrase ‘cyberspace’. Gibson is a novelist not a technologist and he says this was an advantage when it came to visualising what cyberspace would be like.

In one passage he states

Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation. Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta. . .

Although technically speaking it’s somewhat inaccurate, he seems to be describing the sensation of using Google Earth and how as you zoom in or fly around the scene fades into view as the screen refreshes.

Neuromancer greatly influenced the The Matrix trilogy providing the framework for the ‘consensual hallucination’ as well as the use of the term ‘Zion’ which is a space station in Gibson’s near future, a future that is already here…just not evenly distributed…yet.

You can read the entire book  online here: http://www.voidspace.org.uk/cyberpunk/neuromancer.shtml

Heathrow Airport’s ancient temple

by 5ocietyx

Heathrow map

Heathrow map

When Heathrow Airport was built the north runway covered an ancient temple thought to be the oldest ever discovered in Britain.

The temple has been likened to a classic Greek temple only made of wood rather than stone.

William Camden references it in Britannica.

“On the north edge of Hounslow Heath towards King’s Arbour is a Roman Camp, a simple work and not large.” 

Heathrow was the scene of the largest ever archaeological dig in Britain between 1998 – 2006.

Heathrow, 8,500-4,000 BC Deep Forest and a River

Ba

Ba

The Ba is the spirit. It is often translated as “the soul”. The ba is shown as a human headed bird. “The ba could move outside of the tomb, and return back to earth” (Defrates 44). “There was probably only a phonetic relationship between the bird and the concept”

BA Boeing 787

BA Boeing 787

In his post cyber-punk novel Pattern Recognition William Gibson mentions ‘soul delay’ experienced after long flights:

“Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.”

Whether this has any truth in it or is a use of fictional artistic license depends on your own experience of jet-lag.

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