In the News

Cory’s notes of Bruce Sterling’s SXSW Rant-a-Thon

I really should take much greater pains to make sure I’m at South By

Southwest Interactive Festival next year. Once again, I missed Bruce Sterling’s usual

excellent keynote, followed by his equally excellent party. Cory took

notes, and here are some snippets:

My next book is a technothriller called Zenith Angle,

near future — it’s an sf novel, but not set in the future. Gibson’s

doing this too. It’s a trend among aging cyberpunks. It’s not cyberpunk, it’s not steampunk, it’s NOWpunk.

You’ve gotta be tired, weary and grey to set your sf in the present day.

This is a genius administration for inspiring angry rhetoric. It’s got

a nice, interesting consistency. I like Rumsfeld, I dig his poetry. Job

one in the Bush Admin is to get it spun: they’re an

info-war-centric outfit. If you get it spun, you don’t need to get it


Controlling the message is more important to them than controlling the

underlying reality. It’s a blatant part of their ideology. Their global

climate change policy is in defiance of the laws of physics, it’s Lysenkoism. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a page documenting the Bushies’ Lysenkoism from climate change to on.

It’s popular to freak out over Indian offshoring, but that’s shortsighted. If you really want 1BB people to remain ignorant and

backward forever, why not embrace it at home? Were we more prosperous

during the century when the American South was backwards and ignorant?

Indians are opposed to this, too! There’s a spinning wheel on the

Indian flag — Ghandi’s wheel, with which he made his own clothes to

frustrate multinational English clothes corporations. Not only was he

relentlessly against offshoring, but in order to effect change, he spun

his own fibres. Always! He was always making his own clothes with his

own hands all the damn time: he made that simple cruddy loincloth with

his own hands.

The Spanish PM lost his job for bullshitting, for spinning the train attack as Basques when it was obviously Al Quaeda. In Spain

they’re tired of bullshit. They followed the PM to the poll and booed

him: Put down that ballot, you lying son of a bitch. They were sick of

the deceit. It wasn’t the war, it was the policy of spin and feeding

lies. It’s the dismal business.

Coming up: Martin Rees, a UK scientist thinks that the chances of our

civilization surviving the 21st century are 50-50. I’ve met him, he’s

got his facts straight.

I’m cheered up by that! 50-50! Those are great damned odds. This year

was the 50th anniversary of the Bikini Atoll test, since the

crust-busting bomb was invented, and we haven’t blown ourselves up.

We’re up to 50-50!

I watch sustainability — the 20th Century isn’t do-able. We need to

work on this. Austin’s a good city to watch people try to solve things.

Austin’s a happy place, and imperiled, but doing the right thing. I

take comfort in Havel’s statement about hope: “This isn’t a facile

expectation that things will turn out well, but the conviction that

what you’re doing makes sense no matter how things turn out.” And

that’s what Austin is up to.

Once again, Cory’s full notes are here.

One reply on “Cory’s notes of Bruce Sterling’s SXSW Rant-a-Thon”

Leave a Reply