The information culture has become one of the most innovative and important sectors
of the multinational media culture. Satellite Uplink analyzes three turning-points
in the trajectory of the information culture. William Burroughs’ Nova Express
trilogy (1960-64) maps out the birth of the information culture; William Gibson’s mind-blowing
Neuromancer (1984) documents the invention of cyberspace; while the astonishing cluster of
3D videogames in the 1998-2001 period (Valve's Half Life, Neil Manke's Half Life maps, Croteam's Serious
Sam and Remedy's Max Payne) open the door to the information culture of the 21st century.
Chapter 1: On
Information Culture Concept and categories of the
information culture, how it relates to the global media and consumer culture,
neoliberalism, and multinational capitalism, and what the stakes are in its
Chapter 2: Dawn of
the Information Age Maps out the prehistory of
the information culture, showcasing William Burroughs' The
Soft Machine (1960) and The Ticket That Exploded (1962) as
prototypical cybernetic fictions. Themes include the transition from late
modernism to early postmodernism, the Cold War media culture, and early
narratives of globalization.
Chapter 3: Nova Express Tracks the emergence of genuinely multinational
content in Burroughs' 1964 Nova Express, the transition from
cybernetic fictions to cyborg narratives, and the structural affinities between
1960s-era micropolitics and postcolonial aesthetics.
Chapter 4: Neuromancer Analyzes William Gibson's cyberpunk
classic as the breakthrough text of information culture in the 1980s. Fleshes out
the cultural space of freeware, Net activism, and the electronic commons, and
what all this has to do with the restructuring of local, national and international
identities in the multinational era.
Chapter 5: Half Life Drawing on the rich traditions of Hong Kong
action films, Japanese anime, Anglo-American speculative fantasy and blockbuster
science fiction, the 3D videogames carried out the aesthetic revolution
which virtual reality promised, but could never quite deliver. Analyzes the specific achievements of Valve Software's Half Life, the
breakthrough 3D classic, and outlines the basic narrative categories of the 3D game, such as
game-play, game scripting and texture design.
Chapter 6: The Black Widow's Lair
Examines Neil Manke's extraordinary freeware mods for Half Life (particularly They Hunger) and the
design innovations of Croteam's Serious Sam.
Chapter 7: Stargate Helsinki
Analyzes Remedy's 3D action game Max Payne as one of the first great anti-neoliberal narratives, and
documents the emergence of the EU as a powerhouse media producer in its own right.
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