Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 08:47:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bruce Sterling <[email protected]>
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
To: [email protected]
Subject: cyberkitchen
X-UIDL: a62b4a6ed7d4c260d8943f6cf2299635

What's on your mind, Zana? Ask your questions.
Bruce Sterling

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
X-UIDL: e45dead2091390287a23c4777790e92d

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. Too bad!
The closest I've ever gotten to your part of the world is Prague and Athens.

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 all being
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 fiction that
would do things that science fiction has never been able to do before. Also
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 way they
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
of Time?

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 use.
See my Dead Media Project:

ZP: what is your supreme inspiration?

BS: I like to play with ideas and concepts.

ZP: Women?!

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 women
suffer greatly from men romanticizing them. Women aren't divine beings, or
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 and what
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 thousand
words too short. So I just jumped back in and stuffed in ten thousand more
words. People can do that when they are 20 years old. Twenty year olds are
very flexible.

Nowadays my worst pressure in writing books is keeping my children out of
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 in that

BS: Conspiracy theories are for people who feel lost and helpless. Most science
fiction writers are cranks of some sort, but paranoia is really
counterproductive. If you want a good, fertile, creative mental illness, go
for bipolar disorder.

ZP: on some sushi party in Vienna I saw a movie by Lynn Sherman "Conceiving
Ada", you were in it, and Ada was your heroine too, do you like to share
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 ideas
around, that is my profession. Sometimes it involves money and sometimes it
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 why I
asked you that...

BS: I think we will have a good excuse to re-think a lot of our bad habits in
the year 2000. Mostly I was just looking for an excuse to introduce Gomma
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 just one
ideology called "feminism." Women have political and social beliefs that
are all over the map. I have noticed that "feminists" hate their own
traitors and apostates much, much worse than they hate their actual enemies.
It's painful to watch feminist cliques fight each other over language
theory when right wing patriarchs organize successfully and take over
national governments.

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 should
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, all
along with our simple e-mails, is that your opinion or you believe in
(consumer's ) receiver's perception only?

BS: I tend to shy violently away from mystical New Age thinking like "auras" and
"mystical energies."

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 next ten
years people will talk about Internet much less, but it will actually be
much more important and effective as a technology.

ZP: do you find it scary when your predictions, meaning imaginative writings
about future become true?! or you are enjoying..?!!

BS: Some of my predictions are scarier than others. I don't like growing old,
but it's pleasant to see something happen when you thought that it might
happen. I'm wrong a lot of the time. I feel happy when things turn out
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 research into
the Greenhouse Effect. This is really so stupid that it's blatantly
criminal -- it's like putting your own eyes out because you might see that
your house is on fire.

ZP: do you still see connection between music and contemporary movements, in
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 all about
selling platform shoes and big cars.

Zp: what is a new novel about, or you don't like to talk about it
in advance?

BS: It is about politics and science in America in the 2040s, it is a book

Subject: back to the kitchen
X-UIDL: b45b28ea44da566d691304eeab408a57

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 forms.

ZP: define success?

BS: I tend to go with the "self-actualization" idea -- success is whatever
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 I read'
email. I get a lot of that.

ZP: what do you think that third world countries need more: books or computers?
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 about that
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 with
quite a lot of interest.

Zp: I was just reading an article in the newspapers that some Mitsubishi women
employees got 34 million dollars - consequence of suing their colleagues for
sexual harassment. Do you think this "American thing" is going really too

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 I've met 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 there for

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 among them.
They're all such dear personal favorites.

The world's major vice is that we have really crude productive technologies
and can't support ourselves without damaging our planet.
We need to re-invent our industrial base, but mostly we're too stupid and
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
X-UIDL: f84dfecd280043920590b7774f0943dc

ZP: between well paid job and good aftermidnight party you will choose..what?

BS: No choice involved. My job involves after midnight parties as a
professional requirement.

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 s.

ZP: what kind of person you can not simply stand in your work environment?

BS: I work alone and if someone shows up in my office I have to stop working.

ZP: and what about you personal/intimate environment?

BS: Well, I'm pretty tolerant, as long as they're not setting fire
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. I'm
kind of a hormonal determinist when it comes to human behavior.
People are literally made out of hormones. If a woman starts shooting up a
lot of testosterone she will soon begin doing all the things she thought
were very irritating when men did them -- talking too loud, pounding tables,
interrupting people, punching people in the head, that sort of thing.

ZP: is intelligentsia connected with sex (not gender but making love or
copulation meaning)

BS: I think the intelligentsia is better at inventing rationalistic excuses
for their sexual behavior. They can make anything sound plausible and
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.

Cybersociology Magazine Home | This Issue (#4)