Oh so sick, just mark the middle of our door with a red cross a foot long. I’m writing this with an extremely light head.
Jay Springett, uno de los principales paladines del solarpunk como movimiento, el objetivo es responder a la gran pregunta: “¿qué aspecto tiene una civilización sostenible y cómo podemos llegar a ella?”
– ‘Solarpunk’: así es la ciencia ficción optimista que contrasta con ‘Black Mirror’
I said last week that I wanted to re-read Altered Carbon by Richard K Morgan before the beginning of February and I have. The title of this blog post is a quip from one the main characters. In my mind Altered Carbon is probably the best cyberpunk novel ever written – I really do love it. The dramatic rights to the book were optioned pretty much from day one and I’ve always been optimistic about an adaption – until said adaption is upon me.
The plot (in short) is about Takeshi Kovacs, an off world super soldier ‘Envoy’ who by the technology of cortical stacks – the digitisation of personality, memories and consciousness – is ‘re-sleeved’ in a new body back on earth 250 years since he was last animate: “Pull on the new flesh like borrowed gloves and burn your fingers once again”.
With the technology to transport consciousness from body to body, death has become less existential as part of the the day to day of human culture but real death the destruction of the stack/chip that sits in ones spine is feared beyond all measure. The main plot is driven by an impossibly rich and essentially immortal ‘Meth’ who’s backed up consciousness (in his replacement cloned body) can’t remember the last 48 hours of his life and refuses to believe the police ruling of death by suicide – Kovacs is sent to investigate.
The novel is somewhat of a meditation on samsara which brings me to my concerns about the Netflix series:
The noir element of the novel is its central conceit. I’d estimate that 3/4 of the novel takes place inside the main characters head – as monologue. The novel is tight with tensions around ‘otherness’. The character you are spending time with is culturally Japanese. An Envoy super soldier who before doing his duty in the human space empire grew up amongst Yakuza on a planet built by Eastern European labour, and politically leans towards neo-maoism (Quelleism). His character is completely defined by his conciseness. It’s all he has.
He is not a the middle aged white man’s body he is currently ‘sleeved’ into – who it’s clear from the trailer you will be seeing on screen for the majority of the show with the exception of flashback(?) scenes. I hope all this addressed in a creative way in the series. Because if not, then it results in another Hollywood white washing. Plus what the fuck is with all the explosions? I can’t say I have high hopes.
I must admit as a 32 cis white male who has a tattered copy of the first edition paperback, the books complicated relationship with race (and it’s treatment of women) is something that I have become more and more aware of as I have grown as a person, and as the novel has come along with me during that time. In 2003 whilst at university (I must be honest) I’m not sure I would have any concerns around a white guy playing the main character. However all these years years on (despite the major outrageous storyline changes evident even from the trailer – which are also terrible) the main character being played by a good looking white guy seems really wrong. I’m not even going to ‘wait and see on this’ and gonna call it now: I think its going to be a fantastic tv series but a terrible adaption from the source material. Seriously just read the book.
[UPDATE] Go read Nerds of Color – Netflix’s Altered Carbon and Asian Consciousness in White Bodies from 2016
Dipping the stacks
- There seems to be a lot less back slapping at Davos this year.
- The death of Le Guin resonated across my feed far more deeply but with far less pubic mourning than other celebrity deaths.
- My belief that ‘Media’ is a huge distraction machine continues to solidify.
- Screw London snark.
- #TheAssistance continues to go unchallenged I see.
I had an excellent call Sunday evening exposing exciting medium to long term possibilities.
The week started off well, with news reaching me that an organisation I have been coaching – their top candidate accepted the post. Tuesday, I had an excellent cocktail fuelled late lunch, followed by a beer filled evening with an old friend who now has a good job at a major tech company in Berlin – opportunities opening. Also I was also quoted in a major Spanish media outlets article on Solarpunk.
I also received a three pass editorial manuscript back from an editor who took a long look at a short piece of fiction I wrote last year. It was extremely helpful – it seems having an editor is just as important as having a good idea in the first place. I think working with them is going to make me a much better writer.
I was looking forward to attending DAOWO – Doing Good on the Blockchain at the Goethe Institut in London. …. But was struck down by dizzyness, headaches and wooziness. Mysteriously I have not developed the sore throat and full blown cold my partner Eve has – she is about two days a head of me – and I have literally done nothing this week except read Altered Carbon, Sleep and put about 15 more hours in to Zelda on the switch. Such is life.
See top of this blog post. No other reading. I am Dead.
Yuri from The K-Pop band girls generation released this future bass genre banger this week:
I listened to a few times around the time I was having an intense lucid dream about being a Private Investigator who had “Cyber Professional” on my business card. I think maybe my life is a little bit too cyberpunk rn.
RIP Mark E Smith