Chien Ting Chin (chinc@sten.sunnybrook.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 12 Mar 2000 16:11:26 -0500 (EST)


Sean O'Mara wrote:
> All of those mecha aren't very new. The Hardsuits from Bubblegum

Well then you can say I haven't seen a modern mecha that I like yet.
Wait, I like Garasaki's Tactical Armour, but those are pretty much fancy
SF3D, which was 80s again.

I guess my point is that in the 70s you have 40-200m tall robots, Gundam
shrunk it down to 20m, Macross shrunk it down to 15m, Shirow shrunk it
down to 3-4m, BGC down to 2m. Along the line, the emphasis shifted from
power to speed. Sure you have EVA and Vitual On to cause some ripple, but
the tide is set. Bottomline is giant robots (arbituarily defined by me as
anything >12m*) have gone the way of Godzilla, which is so passe it's
almost hip to bring back.

* I choose 12m because that's about the size of a robot I can "park" in
front of the house without cutting down the tree.

> I think the time of cyberpunk has come and gone. Gibson's Neuromancer,
> Scott's Blade Runner, Bubblegum Crisis, Ghost in the Shell, all were
> made in the 80's. Well, GiTS was 1990, but still close. Cyberpunk in

Well if you dig into books, you can say Cyberpunk went all the way back to
the 60s.

> general outlines a very different, much darker future than the one we
> will probably have. While many elements of cyberpunk have made their
> way into our society, I think true cyberpunk is over. Gibson's current
> works are much more post-cyberpunk if anything, the new Bubblegum
> Crisis from what I've seen doesn't appear to share much of the same
> mood with the original, I think our idea of what the future will be
> like is different.

I wouldn't limit Cyberpunks to the groomy paranoid moods of Gibson, Dick
and friends. I don't follow hard scifi closely enough to distinguish
between cyperpunk and post-cyberpunk. Whatever you want to call it, the
world outlined in Appleseed and BGC is a very accurate description of
today's world and the immediate future.

> cyberpunk is a cool genre, the fact that most of it has come true
> (huge corporations, the net, etc) tends to make it less open to
> innovation and it turns into "modern sci-fi."

Perhaps to you and the small followings of hard scifi. There are always 2
waves of scifi trends, one is the hardcore trend which often successfully
predict what happens to the real world, and then the general public will
get the second wave of mass consumption scifi, in the form of movies, TV
series, cartoons and anime. One example: space advanture novels of
40s-50s -> real life space race and moon shot in the 60s -> Star Trek and
Star Wars in 70s.

Likewise, the real life Cold War dicated what we saw in 80s anime, i.e.
big mean war machines fighting the evil empire.

The Net, the legions of virtual millionaires, have only entered public
consciousness in the last year or 2. For most of the general public, The
Matrix is the first cyberpunk they have seen. Remember the film Total
Recall? No one understood Total Recall back in 1990, because the concept
were too hardcore. If the Matrix were put out in the early 90s it would
have suffer the same fate. Another component for my faith in cyberpunk is
the general collapse of the concept of "work" and the meaning of life (uh
oh). Tell me what's common between: the Matrix, Dilbert, Office Space,
American Beauty and we will see more of that in the next few years.

I think we will see some pretty kick ass cyberpunk / virtuality films and
TV soon.

[BTW, Japan seems to be ahead of the game again, they had BGC and Ghost in
the Shell back in the 80-90s. What have N. America had so far? Only
Reboot?]

CHIN, Chien Ting
Dept of Medical Biophysics, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre
... o O *
Man is a bubble

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