It is impossible to study technophilia without changing the way you look at Cyberpunk sience fiction novels. When people used to question me on how cyberpunk differed from so-called normal science fiction I would respond, "I don't know... it's got more computers and stuff." Now I understand that the worlds of these authors are attempts, perhaps conscious ones, to extrapolate the future of our world based on our growing obsession with computers. Whereas traditional science fiction worlds generally involve a humanity which has molded technology to fit its own needs, the cyberpunk world represents one of technology run amok, out of control. These authors see that perhaps our technophilia is perhaps just a little bit unhealthy, and their worlds reflect some of the consequences - often quite vividly.

The perfect example of this is, of course, William Gibson, the inventor of the entire Cyberpunk genre. In his Sprawl trilogy Gibson protrays a world where the corporation has become more powerful than the nation, which has proven unable to adapt to the Information Age economy. Case, the hero of the first book Neuromancer, is presented as a programmer to the nth power, a man so in love with computers that he is repulsed by the constraints of his own body: "In the bars he'd frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh," (Neuromancer, 6). Gibson obviously this concept of the flesh being contemptable, of the electronic becoming so important that it surpasses your own body, as the logical extension of the technophiliac attitudes of hackers today.

For instance, in Gibson's future cybernetic implants are widely accepted, perhaps even a necessity. Also, virtual reality, or "simstim," has become more important to many people, such as Bobby's mother in Count Zero, than their actual existence. After all, if we can deliver people's lives to them electronically, what need do they have for anything else? Ironically, Bobby gives up any pretense at a real world existence in Mona Lisa Overdrive, spending months hooked into a computer lving in a virtual reality while other people take care of his body. Ultimately, Bobby and Angie find a happiness in this reality that they could not in the real world, a signal that the author approves of their action. Yet I fail to see how this is so very different from Bobby's simstim-addicted mother. Certainly the environment is interactive, and has a freedom that the linear simstim does not, but they are allowing their entire world, indeed their entire existance, to be mediated by a machine. Ultimately, I think Gibson validates them because they have commited the ultimate act of technophilia: a joining with the computer in an intimate way that is currently impossible. To the technophile, Bobby and Angie are the acme of evolution, the ultimate reality towards which everything is ultimately progressing. (But I am overgeneralizing. I subtitled this site "Technophilia in the Real World" in part to emphasize that it does not always manifest themselves in such extreme viewpoints. Some technophiles simply love computers without giving such views any serious considerations.)

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