Friday, October 25, 2019

The rain’s moved in and it’s been coming down all day. Perfectly suited for extreme napping. However, Tropical Storm Olga has kicked up in the Gulf and is heading our way with more rain this weekend. Fine by me.

I’ve gotten further into When Gravity Fails and things are finally starting to get moving. I don’t mean to criticize, but it is a bit slow to get going. It’s labeled “Book One of The Budayeen Cycle”, so I imagine some world building was in order. I’m not complaining, mind. It’s a pretty good world, actually. Cyberpunk tropes shot through an Arabic-Muslim lens, that is something new. Or new to me, anyway. There’s a whole lot of body modification, transsexualism and brain implants that alter personalities, plus some touching on the religious and spiritual implications thereof. So, cool.

I like cyberpunk but I’ve never felt comfortable in it. For one, it’s the music. It’s always some sort of electronic dance stuff, and that’s just not my bag. Like with Star Trek always having jazz, it’s as if all the other 20th century forms of music haven’t continued and nothing worth listening to has developed since then. Wing Commander III, I think it was, did something with this by having one of your wingmen explain different planet’s approaches to music.

Furthermore, cyberpunk rarely, if ever, really explores what life in that world is like for people who aren’t in the mega-cities. There’s always some slum where society’s downtrodden live, oppressed by the rich, multi-national corporations or a combination of both. Governments, if they still exist, are oppressive and faceless, usually under the heel of the aforementioned corporations. The environment’s wrecked, the law is crooked, and Japanese culture has a larger-than-average influence on society.

Does anyone listen to country music or classic jump blues? If we accept that the mega-cities have swallowed the suburbs, what about rural areas and small towns? Do people still live in these areas? How do things like cyberspace interfacing or body/brain mods or mega-corporations affect someone who lives in that universe’s version of places like Red Bay or Mantachie, or for that matter, Nashville or Auburn? Not every city is L.A. or New York City, so one wonders how those places develop while the big cities turn into wastelands.

I understand that the “Judge Dredd” series has huge mega-cities, such as the one he operates in that takes up the whole East Coast as one city. In Demolition Man, if I recall correctly, L.A. and San Francisco have joined, assuming everything in between as well. What about Memphis? Or New Orleans, how does that city change when every decker can jack into the system or changing sexes is not only piss easy but not near as controversial as it is now? Atlanta has the second largest airport in the world, is that still so and how has society changed it?

When Gravity Fails makes mention of the various political shake-ups that have gone on. The U.S. has broken up into different federal districts, as has Russia. There’s a Fourth Reich and a return of the tsars and feudal states. You also see this in the Shadowrun series, with free states like Hong Kong and Berlin. What about Canada? How does that country change with the future? Something that I think has been ignored in the genre so far and could be explored, I think.

Well, honestly, this isn’t all coming together that well. Like I said, today was perfect for napping, so I’ve done a lot of that along with having a little fun listening to old acoustic blues. It’s not so much the Sleep did a number on me, but I will admit I’m not stirring and sparking as well as I’d like. The last couple of days have been busy and exhausting, so maybe I’m just tired.

And the News is just more of Trump being a douchebag and looking guilty as hell, so I think we’ll let that slide for today. I might come back to this if my brain kicks into gear, but I’m kind of tired and it’s a grey rainy day. Stay dry, stay warm, and if I don’t see you before Monday, stay safe. Adios.

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