Beyond the Ruins: The Geopolitics of Urban Decay and Cybernetic Play

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Sponsler, Claire. "Beyond the Ruins: The Geopolitics of Urban Decay and Cybernetic Play." SFS #60 = 20.2 (July 1993): 251-65.

CS examines a key legacy of 1980s cyberpunk literature: "the blighted urban landscape," whose apocalyptic decay is accepted by the authors as neither good nor evil. Uses recent works (1989-91) by K. W. Jeter, Emme Bull, and Pat Cadigan (see Fiction listings) to argue for a less judgmental, esthetics-based reading of the "geopolitics of cyberpunk" along the lines presented by Brian McHale's Postmodern Fiction (1987). The topographies of these cyberpunk works may resemble those of earlier post-holocaust narratives, but the attitude toward the destruction (in the cyberpunk works) is one of profound indifference—an indifference CS suggests we share while reading the works. As of February 2004, abstract on WWW at <http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/abstracts/a60.htm#C60>. (RFS, 27/04/95)