Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 08:47:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bruce Sterling <[email protected]>
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
What's on your mind, Zana? Ask your questions.
With a polite introduction about me and my work, asking him would
you like to do some kind of interview, he said only this: what
on your mind Zana, ask your questions? I was astonished. Finally.
I have a theory about sending some kind of energy through cyberspace
all along with your e-mail, I mean people on the other side could
feel (if they are good recipients) what you had in mind just typing
all these word. And this time I had some flashes of delight from
the other side. We just made The Connection.
Subject: ask and receive
ZP: you've spend some time in Budapest, Hungary few weeks ago,
was that your
first time in that part of Europe or what?!
BS: Actually I had to cancel my trip to Budapest at the last minute.
The closest I've ever gotten to your part of the world is Prague
ZP: Did you find Eastern Europe inspiring?
BS: Sure. Postrevolutionary societies are always interesting.
East Europe a
fun place to study because there are a lot of different societies
subjected to the same ordeal by high technology.
ZP:What about people?
BS: What about people? There are millions of people. People are
all over the
ZP: What is your mission according to others and according to
you truly and
BS: Boy, that's a good question. I'd like to write some science
would do things that science fiction has never been able to do
I like to show people aspects of reality that they themselves
are unable to
see. We call this "making the invisible visible."
I used to be very interested in making other writers change the
wrote, but I don't lecture them very much any more. Now I'm mostly
interested in writing things that I know that only I can write.
ZP: What are your projects, writing, lecturing or something else
in this moment
BS: Well, I'm working on a new novel, and also doing a lot of
research on media.
I especially like forms of media that are dead and no longer in
See my Dead Media Project: http://www.islandnet.com/~ianc/dm/dm.html
ZP: what is your supreme inspiration?
BS: I like to play with ideas and concepts.
BS: I have a wife and two daughters, so I am very used to women.
I am less
romantic about women now that I understand women better. I think
suffer greatly from men romanticizing them. Women aren't divine
madonnas, or whores, or witches, or temptresses; women really
have to be
understood as people. Most people are women. Women are the majority.
ZP: what is "the future of alternative society"?!
BS: It's also a good question, isn't it? I don't know the answer
yet. But the
best way to predict the future is to invent it yourself.
Subject: more kitchen chatter
ZP: it's me again,
what kind of pressure did you have when you wrote your first novel
kind of pressure do you have now?
BS: Well, it was kind of hard to get my first book finished. I
had no idea how
long a novel was supposed to be. My original manuscript was ten
words too short. So I just jumped back in and stuffed in ten thousand
words. People can do that when they are 20 years old. Twenty year
Nowadays my worst pressure in writing books is keeping my children
the office so I can concentrate for a while.
ZP: does every sci-fi writer has a "conspiracy theory base" in
all his works ( I
mean, you, of course, but whenever someone is looking further
there is a big
revelation of conspiracy, quite interesting for me, since I enjoy
BS: Conspiracy theories are for people who feel lost and helpless.
fiction writers are cranks of some sort, but paranoia is really
counterproductive. If you want a good, fertile, creative mental
for bipolar disorder.
ZP: on some sushi party in Vienna I saw a movie by Lynn Sherman
Ada", you were in it, and Ada was your heroine too, do you like
your heroes with others or just to keep them with yourself, I
mean, are you
community man or individualist, sharing with others or just shining?!
BS: Mostly I was just trying to help Lynn Sherman with this odd
project of hers.
I don't really think of myself as a "community man" or an "individualist;"
I think of myself as a journalist and writer. Moving words and
around, that is my profession. Sometimes it involves money and
involves no money and sometimes (like now) I have to pay money
to do it, but
I do it anyway.
ZP: your lecture at the cyberconf in Budapest was supposed to
be "the future of
alternative society" and I was curious what that would be, that's
asked you that...
BS: I think we will have a good excuse to re-think a lot
bad habits in
the year 2000. Mostly I was just looking for an excuse to introduce
from Milano to Andrey Khlobystin from Saint Petersburg, I like
the idea of international exchanges among strange hippie zealots.
ZP: what you think about feminists, honestly?
BS: I think feminists come in a great many varieties. There isn't
ideology called "feminism." Women have political and social beliefs
are all over the map. I have noticed that "feminists" hate their
traitors and apostates much, much worse than they hate their actual
It's painful to watch feminist cliques fight each other over language
theory when right wing patriarchs organize successfully and take
I've noticed as a kind of principle that every time some group
I can't stand
takes power, the first think they do is dictate to women how they
dress. When women are being told how to dress by the government,
this is a
sign of extreme cultural sickness. I despise governments and revolutionary
movements that specialize in harassing women.
ZP: people think that we are sending certain energy through cyberspace,
along with our simple e-mails, is that your opinion or you believe
(consumer's ) receiver's perception only?
BS: I tend to shy violently away from mystical New Age thinking
like "auras" and
ZP: is Internet still Anarchy, and what kind of future do you
predict in that
BS: No it isn't anarchy. It never was anarchy. It was adhocracy
for a while.
I feel optimistic about the future of Internet. I think in the
years people will talk about Internet much less, but it will actually
much more important and effective as a technology.
ZP: do you find it scary when your predictions, meaning imaginative
about future become true?! or you are enjoying..?!!
BS: Some of my predictions are scarier than others. I don't like
but it's pleasant to see something happen when you thought that
happen. I'm wrong a lot of the time. I feel happy when things
much better than I expected them to.
ZP: what is the stupidest thing that you've heard/read about yourself?
BS: It's the US Congress trying to cut off funding for scientific
the Greenhouse Effect. This is really so stupid that it's blatantly
criminal -- it's like putting your own eyes out because you might
your house is on fire.
ZP: do you still see connection between music and contemporary
culture, politics, radical ideologies?
BS: Sure, a little bit. Rave music is interesting, I think. But
in general pop
music is very much part of the culture industry now; music is
selling platform shoes and big cars.
Zp: what is a new novel about, or you don't like to talk about
BS: It is about politics and science in America in the 2040s,
it is a book
Subject: back to the kitchen
ZP: what kind of father are you?
BS: I'm a father of two girls. I work in the house. I spend a
lot of my time
with the children.
ZP: define ambition?
BS: I don't know how to define that. It comes in too many
ZP: define success?
BS: I tend to go with the "self-actualization" idea -- success
allows you to become most like yourself. The point of the game
is to become
as much like yourself as you can before you die.
ZP: what do you think about Umberto Ecco's words that "libraries
are the houses
of God", and since you are doing that Dead Media project - I kinda
connected you two in my head..?
BS: I don't believe in God. I read Umberto Eco, though.
ZP: this is a stupid question but I would like to hear an answer:
what do you
BS: Mostly magazines. I subscribe to about fifty of them. Also
email. I get a lot of that.
ZP: what do you think that third world countries need more: books
or something else?
BS: Food, shelter and sanitation would be a good start.
ZP: war in Bosnia, serbians and Muslims, do you have some thought
conflict in the middle of Europe, at the end of XX century?!
BS: Oh, I have a lot of thoughts about that. I
follow the subject
quite a lot of interest.
Zp: I was just reading an article in the newspapers that some
employees got 34 million dollars - consequence of suing their
sexual harassment. Do you think this "American thing" is going
BS: It's true that we Americans are a very litigious society.
ZP: I mean, smokers are harassed too, but I've spent 6 months
in the states and
people still smoketoomuch are what is astonishing almost everyone
smoke..so what's the catch?
BS: You must meet a lot of interesting people. The catch is that
we have 1.8
million people in American prisons and over half of them went
Zp: what is your biggest and hardest vice, and what do you think
is the vice
that world suffers nowadays?
BS: I have so many vices that it's kind of hard to pick and choose
They're all such dear personal favorites.
The world's major vice is that we have really crude productive
and can't support ourselves without damaging our planet.
We need to re-invent our industrial base, but mostly we're too
lazy to do that much work and think so hard. So soon we're going
to have a
ruined climate along with the rest of our troubles.
Subject: final kitchen
ZP: between well paid job and good aftermidnight party you will
BS: No choice involved. My job involves after midnight parties
ZP: if you can choose a new profession what will that be?
BS: Probably computer graphics.
ZP: how do you choose your friends?
BS: I like glib, talkative people who have a lot of patience with
ridiculous concepts and far-fetched idea
ZP: what kind of person you can not simply stand in your work
BS: I work alone and if someone shows up in my office I have to
ZP: and what about you personal/intimate environment?
BS: Well, I'm pretty tolerant, as long
as they're not setting
to the house or throwing up on my shoes.
ZP: what are the important characters of a woman?
BS: I suspect it's the hormones that have a lot to do with it.
kind of a hormonal determinist when it comes to human behavior.
People are literally made out of hormones. If a woman starts shooting
lot of testosterone she will soon begin doing all the things she
were very irritating when men did them -- talking too loud, pounding
interrupting people, punching people in the head, that sort of
ZP: is intelligentsia connected with sex (not gender but making
BS: I think the intelligentsia is better at inventing rationalistic
for their sexual behavior. They can make anything sound plausible
praiseworthy. Also, they have imagination.
ZP: what is living together and what is marriage?
BS: Marriage is a legal and political act. Also economic.
ZP: are you the cook in family or what is your favorite..?
BS: I used to cook when my wife had a day job. I like Chinese
food. It took a
great civilization to invent that cuisine.
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