Dery, Mark, Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century

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Dery, Mark. Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. New York: Grove, 1996, 1997 (pb).

Rev. A. Leonard, The Nation 262.22 (3 June 1996): 36-38 (q.v. this Category), our source for this entry. MD sensibly balances arguments for and against computers and admires people like Donna Haraway (q.v. this Category) and Mark Pauline of Survival Research Laboratories (see HARDWARE under Drama), who critique technology while refusing to make demons of technology. Strongly attacks posthumanists and what MD calls "techno-transcendentalists, "those whose 'visions of a cyber-Rapture are a fatal seduction, distracting us from the devastation of nature, the unraveling of the social fabric, and the widening chasm between the technocratic elite and the minimum wage masses.'" MD is literate in postmodernism, poststructuralism, and S.F. as fiction and film, plus the whole little world of "cyberculture." Most of the people of cyberCult "'regard the computer—a metonym, at this point, for all technology—as a Janus machine, an engine of liberation and an instrument of repression'" (Leonard 37). See also for quotations from D. A. Therrien "on torture machines in the Spanish Inquisitions" (state-of-the-art technology in their time) and on the sexualizing of machines at least as of the early 20th c. (Leonard 38).