Gray Noise

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Rojo, Pepe, "Gray Noise." 1996. In Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction From Latin America & Spain. Translated and edited by Andrea L. Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilán. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2003.

From posting of 22 May 2013 by "asryannarek": "Science Fiction Films + 'Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' [...] and 'Gray Noise' [...] Summary and Analysis":

Gray Noise by Pepe Rojo is another interesting short novel that deals with a futuristic world in which technology and humans have become one. All of the people in this short story have become cyborgs and it seems like the amount of violence and suicides in this society have tremendously risen. What I find interesting in this story is that the main character, a reporter, has the ability to film and stream anything live using a button on his thigh to activate a camera in his eyes. Another thing that I find interesting [....] is that people will never have privacy ever again because people can constantly contact and monitor each other due to fact that they themselves have become a piece of technology.[1]

More exactly, the protagonist-narrator reporter has implants such that "the nerve endings of [... his] eyes and vocal cords were connected to a transmitter that would send the signal to the video channels" of the company that paid half for the implanting operation (Cosmos Latinos p. 250).

Note cyborgs and theme of human mechanization, plus surveillance and implants: cf. and contrast The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe and DEATHWATCH. Editors/translator correctly point out in the story, "the paradoxical inability to communicate in a world overrun with communication technology" and the "fascination with the power of cybernetics, tempered by an awareness of its destructive potential" (Cosmos Latinos p. 243).

Also: CEES in the world of the story: "Constant Electrical Exposure Syndrome [...] seems to be wreaking havoc. Continuous stimulation of the nerve endings, caused by electricity and an environment which is constantly charged with electricity — radiation from monitors, microwaves, cell phones — seems to have a fatal effect on some people" (Cosmos Latinos p. 249).

And note the fate of a reporter called Toynbee, kidnapped by "Some anti-media extremists," blindfolded so he couldn't transmit (while they transmitted their message), and then placed in front of a monitor with his head immobilized and retina connected to the monitor.

The only thing the reporter's eyes see is a monitor within a monitor within a monitor, until infinity seems to be a video camera fill-in a monitor that's broadcasting what it's recording, and there's no beginning, no end, there's nothing until you remember that a human being is watching this, it's the only thing he can see and it's giving him an unbearable headache, as if someone were crisscrossing his skull with cables and wires. [...] The extremists [...] set up a video camera to tape Toynbee's face and sent the signal to the same transmission station the reporter was contracted to.

Being sure that the images were legitimate and there was nothing they could do to help Toynbee, the station executives broadcast the paired images of "the monitors reproducing themselves until infinity, and Toynbee's face. [...] "Ratings are ratings" (pp. 251-52). Note another instance among many of a man being immobilized and tortured as spectacle, e.g., see THE RUNNING MAN (film) and note Garrett Stewart on "Videology."

RDE, finishing, 4Aug20, 10-11Sep20