Monthly Archives: February 2009

Diaspar Cannot Hold

In structuralism a structure is conceived as possessing a centre, a fundamental ground, which supposedly explains everything about that structure, that totality, that phenomenon; the centre might be an arche, a claimed origin that everywhere unfolds, or a telos a presumed destination that the structure, the phenomenon, is heading towards. This centre is usually itself left unexplained as if it is beyond the structure it’s in, so that the centre is both in the structure yet not in it. The centre is not a centre. The centre governs the structure, but is itself beyond the play of meanings of ‘repetitions, substitutions, transformations, and permutations’ involved in a fuller history of meaning. The centre maintains the structure as enclosed totality, as if it contains or exhausts all the meanings we can attribute to that structure.   Docker 132


Diaspar is a fallacy. The concept of having an overriding purpose, goal or aim to a society is a large part of The City and the Stars, given the sizable similarities between Diaspar and a machine, but what is the machine producing?  Diaspar is a complex system interweaving human and machine functions, what is that ultimate prize that Diaspar is heading towards?  Structuralism speaks of bringing out a process, a simulacra in an object that is previously invisible.  In this way, the function precedes the substance. 

“Diaspar and its inhabitants had been designed as part of one master plan” (Ch 5), a central structure to the society, the preservation of the pinnacle of genius and intellect of all of humanity.  The atomized singular units of Diaspar hold no larger ideas of life in Diaspar, but singularly carry out their task of intimately and infinitely exploring the insulated and continuous algorithm of Diaspar.  The people of Diaspar are cogs to a phantasmatic production.

The citizens of Diaspar are ignorant toward the purpose of their existence, but their blind faith in the continual function speaks to the importance of function over substance. Details are inconsequential as long as life remains contained and perpetual, “Diaspar is a frozen culture, which cannot change outside of narrow limits…they store the image of the city itself, holding its every atom rigid against all the changes that time can bring” (Ch 5).  Alvin’s great curiosity and quest is the search for this purpose of survival, the central goal of Diaspar that has supposedly written into the computer’s programming by the creators.

 Alvin crushes the totalizing and central perception of the people of Diaspar by the discovery of Lys, the exploration of old civilizations and of Vanamonde.  The unacknowledged function of their society has no substance.  Their claimed origin of the elite genius of mankind has been devastated along with the trust in a presumed destination.  Diaspar has no explainable purpose or structure. They are not the great intrepid pioneers, the centre and prize of humanity they thought they were, but rather the enfeebled diaspora of a society destroyed by its own hubris. 

             The initial world of Diaspar of infinite exploration of intimate knowledge was fixed and comfortably simple, but once the bubble was burst the universe is seen as “without end, unconfirmed, unreduced, unfinalised, untotalised, not continuous, not linear, where truth in never arrived at, is always involved in a play of differences that keep deferring its arrival, its full presence” (Docker 133), chaotic.

            The comfortable, wrapped with a memory bank stored bow perception of structuralism dissolves, the centre cannot hold, instead a universe without overarching goals and fundamental grounding purposes remains, seen in the last words of the novel:


In this universe the night was falling; the shadows were lengthening toward an east that would not know another dawn. But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning lingered; and along the path he once had followed, Man would one day go again. Ch 25


John Docker. Postmodernism and popular culture: a cultural history. London: Cambridge University Press, 1994. 132-3.


Critical Response 1 – Perspective in The Atrocity Exhibition

From the film, Empire by Andy Warhol

Image from the film Empire by Andy Warhol

It was suggested, that in Clarke’s City and the Stars we were allowed clear insight into the nature of the city only after moving outside that space and looking down on it. This is most certainly true and from that perspective we all (characters and readers) could see the lines and curves, the barriers and openings, the actual and once imagined of the world in which many lived. Diaspora was not what it had once seemed and we were able to explore its nature with new clarity.

Perhaps the perspective that Ballard gives is essentially the opposite (but with just as illuminating results). It seems that in The Atrocity Exhibition what we are given is a view of our world not from the outside in, but from the inside out. It is as though the author has dragged us deep inside the body of humanity and has forced us to push our senses out through the filters of the flesh. This is not a warm and soft place to be. “The inner world of the psyche…images are born, some kind of valid reality begins to assert itself” (Ballard 38).

Everything changes when we are held tight inside the body and forced to perceive. This is not a static brace that holds the revelations of discovery, it is a razor wire that drags us terrified and exhilarated from one experience to the next – and then back again. Repeat.

Big Bang Vroom by Kristin Baker

Big Bang Vroom by Kristin Baker

From within the twisting body Ballard makes us witnesses to his unfortunate truths: “the larger ambiguities to which the modern world was so eager to give birth, and its finish line was that death of affect, the lack of feeling, which seemed inseparable from the communications landscape” (Ballard 60).

Looking at our world through the defining filters of psychosis is a powerful and specific technique for examining the tangents of reality and fantasy. This is one very forceful approach demanding that: “the inner world of the psyche now has to be applied to the outer world of reality” (Ballard 75).

Is it effective? Do the pulses of cruelty and passion allow glimpses into the heart of the world in which we live?

I believe that this push of the novel works to lighten up the shadows in the corners. With it we can move to the darker, hard-to-get-to places of human nature/society and feel our way around the areas of intention, sexuality and place.

From the film, Elephant

Image from the film Elephant

Works Cited:

Ballard, J. G. The Atrocity Exhibition. Flamingo Press: Great Britain, 1993.

Photo Sources:

playing urbanism

Further to issues raised today about physical place and the validity of its media/fictional cartographies, I thought it would be interesting to explore a city, say New York, through its video game landscapes. We’ll play pac-man in alphabet city, fight off aliens in the Chrysler Building and drag-race down the Bowery – wandering through the figment Manhattan in its all its endless and imagined mutations.

Cities of Memory, Cities of Glass

Cities of Memory, Cities of Glass: A Response to Three Fictive Cities

“Cities of Memory, Cities of Glass, I have thought these thoughts and read these works in a sequence of spaces mediated by constructed structures, interpolating their envisioned environments through my own spatially situated self (see contemporary theories of situated cognition). The glass window of the city bus, the sunset’s reflection off West End apartments and office towers.”

Zamyatin’s seminal dystopian novel We is simultaneously the story of a man and a city, and pivotally it is the mediating material between these two which defines their dynamic interrelation. The city is composed almost entirely of glass, glass which exposes all, revealing and uniting spectrally as it divides and delimits. The predilection of progress is that the better we become at holing ourselves in, the more we engineer these structures to reveal or display its interiors and ourselves. Zamyatin’s vision is fixed in the near enough future he so presciently presaged, it is universal and sociological in scope, and it is reminiscent of nothing more than Foucault’s analysis of the Panopticon. In an environment where one’s every action may be monitored, enforcement becomes unnecessary as paranoia becomes dominant. This is precisely the world Zamyatin evokes, as his OneState allows only the briefest moments of privacy for controlled sexual relations, as well as two unscheduled hours per day, which D-503, the protagonist, hopes will one day be phased out. Through the contrivances of architecture and materials, the subject becomes the dictator.

“Coast Mountains whose carpet of canopy stretches the eyes enviously to the horizon, and glimpses across the water of leering towers whose dense lights glow in the distance and resonate through my many years’ recollections of this place. On the hills of North Vancouver, where these two views compete and meet, I’ve thought long of what it means to live in a place and transform the earth into inhabited space. “

On the other hand, the dystopia which Clarke presents in City and the Stars is not so much a nightmare of the state or city, but of the human soul when granted infinite capacity. Clarke describes the city with palpable infatuation, marveling at its virtuality, its imaginative mutability, and a projectability of self into electronic avatars which clearly prefigures the Internet of today. The dystopian edge becomes evident not in the city itself, but in its uses. Diaspar is built on terrified falsehood, it is the refuge of a people who have turned their back on outer space and buried themselves in an endless cycle of static, and perhaps stagnant, lives. Though they appear to enjoy a sort of immortality, and it is said that the city cycles its citizens such that the possible permutations of experience are infinite, the inhabitants of Diaspar may also edit their memories before returning to the memory banks of the city, which themselves are held in triplicate, so that while the design and contents of the city may appear limitless and eternal, in fact the structure of the city fosters a permanent ignorance and incuriosity of the broader world. Architecture, the engineering of space, is supposed to be a constructive act, a positive creation working towards a goal of comfort and betterment. But in setting his city one billion years in the future as he does, Clarke highlights the pitfall of civilization, that our technological freedoms might in fact tether our minds, and that total control over memory might prove the greatest means of forgetting.

“And in this place, where my grandfather built his home out of river rock and cedar, I have watched the wave of history peak and break, as the future subsumed the present just as it danced nimbly away, an impossible dream of another time. Peak oil has replaced the jet car, and the Jetsons has faded to childhood folly, as LCD screens and tiny white earbuds quietly supersede tangible constructions in favour of virtual spaces we can’t yet fully imagine. The faces of a thousand strangers whip by mine as I transit this urban environment, billboards and giant televisions heralding the victory march of lust and loneliness and a thousand expensive new tomorrows. There is comfort in the prescience of speculative writers of the past, but their penchant for the dystopic is a warning that progress, if it can be said to occur, is perhaps more a negative process of eliminating undesirable potentialities rather than a fostering of particular outcomes or intentions.”

J. G. Ballard’s later works, beginning with the notable eruption that is Atrocity Exhibition, are an exemplary pinnacle of the urban and architectural themes heretofore encountered in this survey, where the controlling and unifying transparency of materials embodied in glass architecture becomes the total erosion of any delineation between inner and outer space, and the immutable collective memory which Diaspar embodies becomes a horrifying diorama of the indigestible traumas of the past. The novel represents the collapse of all traditional dichotomies and distinctions, it is the unification of Freud’s erotic and thanatotic drives, our twin fascinations with life and death, creation and destruction, fused in an impossible hybrid which effects Baudrillard’s philosophy of the hyperreal. Baudrillard says “we are witnessing the reduction and absorption of this distance [between the real and the imaginary], of this separation which permits a space for ideal or critical projection.” (“Simulacra and Science Fiction“) Ballard’s protagonist, the mutable T, is held captive by this erasure of distance, he is powerless to shield his ravaged emotional core from the grotesque imagery which dominates the landscape and imagination of his world. Denied the space for critical thought, T is held helpless, unemancipated of imaginative agency. Ballard was responding to the emergence of mass media as the ultimate arbiter of reality in the mid 20th Century, and in the fashion of the well-meaning doomsayer, he accurately extrapolates the technological trends of his day to exaggeratedly explode into a nightmare of the inevitable. Although the limited scope of recycled traumas (JFK, Marilyn Monroe, classic automobiles and Ronald Reagan) might seem quaint today, the Atrocity Exhibition and the hyppereality it entails is the future which is already here, and the only optimism of Ballard’s prophesy is that we can recognize this future which stares us in the face, that we might accept our present in the act of imagining a new future city.

The cyborg city and the indeterminancy of the human subject

In Ballard’s novel High-Rise, he writes, “She referred to the high-rise as if it were some kind of huge animate presence, brooding over them and keeping a magisterial eye on the events taking place. There was something in this feeling — the elevators pumping up and down the long shafts resembled pistons in the chamber of a heart. The residents moving along the corridors were the cells in a network of arteries, the lights in their apartments the neurons of a brain” (1975, 40). 

          Ballard’s imagery dissolves the distinction between the interior/exterior and organic/inorganic. Mental and bodily inner-workings become superimposed upon the (built)landscape and vice-versa. This way of thinking about the contemporary human experience leads one directly to the concept of the cyborg. According to Donna Haraway, the cyborg is a hybrid creature “compounded of special kinds of machines and special kinds of organisms appropriate to the late twentieth century” (Gandy 27). In an age of “dematerialization … driven by the spread of informatics, increased capital mobility and the fracturing of place-bound identities”, the human experience has increasingly extended itself into new spaces of digital/virtual realms (Gandy 35).

       The rapid co-evolution between social and technological systems produces new relationships with the built environment described as “cognitive scaffolding” and “distributed cognition”. Cognitive scaffolding refers to the short-cuts minds use when relying on the external environment to subsidize the processing of information; paper and pencil as external calculators, cellphones as memory, landmarks as distance signifiers, and subway color schemes as orientation devices. The concept of “distributed cognition” builds on these subsidizing mechanisms and represents a more radical environment where the boundaries between sentience and non-sentience is broken down as human agency becomes obscured by the myriad networks of information being processed by teams of organic/inorganic systems. On an individual level, such distributed cognition happens with the increasing prevalence of wearable computers, sensory augmentation, wireless devices, and thought-controlled prosthetics. At the urban scale, distributed cognition is exemplified in an early stage by characteristics of post-industrial global cities, where a traditional utilization of material exchange has become supplanted by the information exchange. The driving processes in cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo is the knowledge sector, composed of highly specialized services such as finance, insurance, real-estate, and law firms. Such cities are command points for the organization of the global economy and their very success depends on their extensive and autonomous integration with global markets in the form of digitized financial information.

Whats interesting to me is the uneven and patchwork nature of the trajectories of the urban/mind/tech hybrids. The wider landscape of material neglect and social polarization which characterize post-industrial urban spaces reveals the intrinsic social forces of unequal power relations, marginal spaces, violence, and social exclusion which shape the way urban and technological progress unfolds. This unevenness is important to note when exploring the suggestive tomorrows painted by techno-futurists, as the undifferentiated “we” of futurist urban literature overlooks the infrastructural crisis of a billion plus people living in slums. The cyborg concept produces useful insights into cities as components in a global-hierarchical information system and urban dwellers as technologically-enhanced urban citizens, and these insights should be seen as grounded in the geographical particularities of places. In this light, the cyborg concept helps illustrate “the hybridized socio-ecological relations that underpin the production of space” (Gandy 37). These hybridized relationships are producing vastly disparate spaces across the world, fostering unique trajectories in the evolution of the human psyche which may fracture across familiar socio-economic divides. The notion of a breakthrough in the body-technology nexus propelling humanity into a post-human realm becomes more of a question for who and where?

Works Cited: 

Ballard, J.G. (1975) High-rise. Cape, London. 

Gandy, Matthew (2005) “Cyborg Urbanization: Complexity and the Monstrosity in the Contemporary City”. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Vol 29.1 (26-49)

Zamyatin’s We and The Power of Words

The formatting is wonky- it seems to me as if WordPress is conspiring with the digital gods to selectively copy+paste my elegant formatting from Microsoft Word. In any case, consider the long block quotes as extraneous material intended to refresh the reader’s memories regarding R-13’s relationship to D-503. I’ve abbreviated their names where appropriate for brevity. Page number citations are from my edition of We except where otherwise noted by author name.


“If they fail to understand that we bring them mathematically infallible happiness, it will be our duty to compel them to be happy. But before resorting to arms, we shall try the power of words.” (1)

                        For Zamyatin who would be exiled for his writings, the power of words in his own life was reflected most profoundly in his writing. It permeates the structure of We, giving it frantic momentum and a locus in which to pour energy in the form of the Integral. The mathematical inclination of D-503, who decides to comply with a state directive to compose poetry/propaganda for the Integral by keeping a diary, is important when considered alongside the poetical inclinations of his friend R-13.  D’s lament that “the music of assonances and rhymes” (2) are unfamiliar appears to set him firmly apart from the world of poesis. From D’s perspective, his reasoning is sound. If the One State is truly what it claims to embody: “mathematically infallible happiness” (1), then a record of life in such a perfect state should only serve to reflect its Utopian characteristics. That D’s intent should diverge so wildly from the final product is indicative of the true nature of the State. This avenue of inquiry regarding the format of D’s writing begs a further question. What is the function of the state-poet, R-13, in We?

Consider some conversation that passes between D and R:

“Fortunately, the antediluvian ages of all those Shakespeares and Dostoyevskys, or whatever you call them, are gone,” – D-503 (43)

“When R-13 entered, I was perfectly calm and normal. I spoke with sincere admiration of how splendidly he had succeeded in versifying the sentence, and told him that his trochees had been the most effective instrument of all in crushing and destroying that madman.” (60)

“It was again the old R: thick, sputtering lips, spraying saliva, and a fountain of words. ‘You see’ (‘s’-a spray) ‘… that ancient legend about paradise… Why, it’s about us, about today. Yes! Just think. Those two, in paradise, were given a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness. There was no third alternative. Those idiots chose freedom, and what came of it? Of course, for ages afterward they longed for the chains. The chains-you understand? That’s what world sorrow was about. For ages! And only we have found the way of restoring happiness… No, wait, listen further! The ancient God and we-side by side, at the same table. Yes! We have helped God ultimately to conquer the devil- for it was he who had tempted men to break the ban and get a taste of ruinous freedom, he, the evil serpent. And we, we’ve brought down our boot over his little head, and-cr-runch! Now everything is fine-we have paradise again. Again we are as innocent and simple-hearted as Adam and Eve. No more of that confusion about good and evil. Everything is simple- heavenly, childishly simple. The Benefactor, the Machine, the Cube, the Gas Bell, the Guardians- all this is good, all this is sublime, magnificent, noble elevated, crystally pure. Because it protects our unfreedom-that is, our happiness. The ancients would begin to talk and think and break their heads-ethical, unethical.. Well, then. In short, what about such a paradisiac poem, eh? And, of course, in the most serious tone… You understand? Quite something eh?’” (62)

The nod to Dostoyevsky made by Zamyatin is not a careless one. Zamyatin is, here, consciously juxtaposing “Dostoyevsky’s eternal opposition of freedom and happiness” (Parrinder) to that of his own union of freedom and happiness- a fundamentally anti-socialist one. That D dismisses the author Dostoyevsky as an anachronism in their time while R speaks joyously of the composition of an epic poem that will espouse Dostoyevsky’s opposition is significant. In this, I find R’s role within We: to function as the ‘truth-creating’ mouthpiece of the One State when reality fails. Where necessary, R will divert his talents from the collective self-aggrandizing the One State demands in order to denounce fellow poets and ‘versify’ their death sentences. For the One State whose stability so fundamentally rests on a bed of lies (that no humans live beyond the walls of the city, the true function of the Integral as a reflexive propaganda tool, that unfreedom is the true state of happiness, etc.), it is vital that the collapse between fiction and reality be complete. In other words, poetry has become law.

            When we look at the attitude of D at the beginning of the novel towards R’s suggestion that he change his career from being a mathematician to a poet, the irony of D’s development over the course of the novel becomes clear:

“Certainly, certainly! By rights, my good friend, you should not be a mathematician; you ought to be a poet! Yes! Really, why not transfer to us poets, eh? How would you like that? I can arrange it in a moment, eh?” –R-13

“I have served and will continue to serve knowledge,” I frowned –D-503

“Oh, knowledge! This knowledge of yours is only cowardice. Don’t argue, it’s true. You’re simply trying to enclose infinity behind a wall, and you are terrified to glance outside the wall. Yes! Just try and take a look, and you will shut your eyes. Yes!” –R-13

“Walls are the foundation of all human…” –D-503 (41)

It is R at the start who labels the mathematics and precise rationality of D as cowardice, but it is D at the end who unflinchingly reveals the true nature of the state through his writing. Indeed, just as R accuses D of trying to enclose infinity behind a wall with his knowledge, R himself participates in the enclosing of his fellow citizens behind walls through the use of ‘state poetry’. Zamyatin, in his juxtaposition of R-13 and D-503, is taking, at once, a cautionary and optimistic stance towards the force of writing. It is when the power of words is harnessed and domesticated solely for the state that societies such as the One State are allowed to arise. Only those who set out to write to uphold the fundamental opposition between fiction and truth can reverse the damage done. In this way, one can conceive of Zamyatin’s We as a metanovel. D, in uncovering the true nature of the One State through his writing, is embedded within and references Zamyatin’s own literary struggles against the new socialist state of his own time.

            Consider what Zamyatin is doing by weaving this dialogue regarding the utility of poetry in the interest of the state into his own epic We. In this gesture of defiance towards the Communist government and their demands of their writers/propagandists, he refuses to submit his craft to the will of others. In doing so, he is exiled permanently. Just as D must inevitably and logically resist the One State by following the seemingly innocuous order he receives to glorify it if he writes literally and not figuratively about it, so too must Zamyatin inevitably resist by writing figuratively and not literally in the mode of propaganda. As Lev Lunts, one of the Serapion Brethren and writer friend of Zamyatin put it, “We reject Utilitarianism. We do not write for the sake of propaganda. Art is as real as life itself, and, as life itself, it has no goal or meaning, it exists because it must exist… Our one demand is that the writer’s voice must never be false.” (Ginsburg ix) For both D and Zamyatin, truth and fiction remain in flux relative to the societies in which they operate. What, however, remains a constant is the validity of their voices as writers. They are never false.

Works Cited

Ginsburg, Mirra. “Introduction.” Yevgeny, Zamyatin. We. New York: Avon Books, 1987. v-xx.

Parrinder, Patrick. “Patrick Parrinder-Imagining the Future: Zamyatin and Wells.” Science Fiction Studies. 22nd February 2009 <>.

Zamyatin, Yevgeny. We. Trans. Mirra Ginsburg. New York: Avon Books, 1987.

Critical Response#1: The Garden of WE-den

Hello cyberspace. I decided to take a traditional route with this assignment, and formulated a close reading of I-330 from Zamyatin’s WE. Since I’m currently reading Milton’s Paradise Lost in another class, I was inspired by the tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Here goes!

Disclaimer 1: The Zilboorg translation of We that I will be quoting from is quite different from other versions of the text; for example, my book uses “fancy” where others use “imagination”.

Disclaimer 2: I will be referring to the Adam and Eve story as common knowledge; hopefully you are all familiar with its basic characters and events.

“They, fools that they were, chose freedom” (59): I-330 as the Satanic Eve

It is difficult to read Eugene Zamyatin’s We without being reminded of the biblical story of Adam and Eve. The forest “beyond the Green Wall” (149) can be likened to Paradise itself, and the Well-Doer’s “surgical removal of fancy” (77) is reminiscent of God’s desire to keep human nature separate from the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”. In addition, the subversive Mephi who “tempt” susceptible Numbers away from the doctrine of the United State play a Satanic role; of course, the name “Mephi” refers to Mephistopheles, Faust’s version of the devil. Overall, We presents readers with an inverted Adam and Eve tale, since we have characters being tempted into Eden, and not away from it.

Given that a paper much longer than this one could be written on this subject, I’m choosing to focus solely on the way that the character of I-330 complicates the “Adam and Eve” metaphor. Although she is undoubtedly a reincarnation of Eve, I-330 also embodies aspects of Satan; what does this do to a proposed reading of We as a topsy-turvy version of humankind’s fall from Paradise? First, I-330 represents Eve in that she is D-503’s true counterpart (despite his “relationship” with O-90). The first moment we meet her is when D-503 notes, “A laugh, as if an echo of mine, reached my ear” (7; emphasis added); just as Eve is to Adam, I-330 is D-503’s equal and he quickly falls in love with her. Here, the key word is falls; it could be argued that D-503’s infatuation with I-330, which made him realize that “love and jealousy do exist, and not only in the idiotic books of the ancients” (61), is the impetus for his “fall” from the faux-paradise of the One State into the Eden-like world beyond the Green Wall. Just as Eve gives Adam the forbidden fruit, I-330 gives D-503 a taste of forbidden alcohol (54); a few pages later, D-503 admits, “For the first time in my life I see clearly” (57).

Although she embodies an Eve-like role within the text, I-330 similarly represents Satan. Aside from the obvious example of her role in the Mephi, she also expresses the desire to make “all that was certain come to an end” (137), just as Satan desired to undermine God’s “project” on Earth by tempting Adam and Eve to sin. In addition, we can possibly view I-330’s connection to the color yellow as allying her with the devil. In the excellent essay “Zamjatin’s Modernist Palette: Colors and Their Function in We”, Sona S. Hoisington and Lynn Imbery survey and consolidate the various studies that have analyzed Zamyatin’s use of color; as they see it, yellow “symbolizes vitality, the presence of the life force associated with the sun in the heroine I-330, in the world of the past, and in the world beyond the Wall” (163). Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, “During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil”; just as the “ancients” of our present culture associated yellow with the devil, D-503 associates I-330 with yellow objects in the “Ancient House”, as well as with the yellow pollen that drifts over the Green Wall.

Therefore, it is possible to read We as an Adam and Eve story where I-330/Satan distributes the “Knowledge” that disrupts the One State/Paradise, while I-330/Eve also tempts D-503/Adam to follow her into a new life. Although the garden is re-entered in We and not abandoned, the fact that I-330 embodies aspects of both Satan and Eve leads to the death of D-503’s chance at living in the “real” Utopia: when D-503 discovers that he was recruited by I-330 for reasons other than love, he gives up his humanity to be a Number forever. Unable to reconcile the Satan within his Eve, D-503 chooses the false Paradise over true Eden.

Works Cited

Hoisington, Sona S. and Lynn Imbery. “Zamjatin’s Modernist Palette: Colors and Their Function in We.” The Slavic and East European Journal, 36.2 (1992): pp. 159-171.

 Zamyatin, Eugene. We. Trans. Gregory Zilboorg. Toronto: Clarke Irwin, 1959. 

Critical Response #1: A multi-media, html and css infused response!

hey sci fi comrades,

upon figuring out how to do the first critical response for this class, and knowing that the format was pretty free form and up to us, i decided to create my presentation on an external site instead of as a blog post. sorry if this is a nuisance, but i knew i could do more as far as how i visualized it all if i created my own website to display everything.

alright… so here’s my fractured and disjointed HTML/hypertext-esque take on The Atrocity Exhibition:



enjoy! please let me know if anything is unclear as far as navigation, or if any links/videos don’t work for you…

Gibson’s Cyberspace Visualized in JM

YouTube Preview Image

If you guys are having some trouble visualizing Case navigating cyberspace in Neuromancer, have a look at this clip from an old movie based on Gibson’s short story ‘Johnny Mnemonic’. There’s actually continuity between the two novels, (they’re all set within his Sprawl universe) Johnny is Molly’s old love interest.