Vancouver B.C. Gave the World Cyberpunk and Gen X. Here's Why.



Vancouver is starting have a Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) problem. Broadleaf trees imported from Europe where planted all over the city in the 60 and 70's when Gen X were being born. The spores laid dormant for decades until the trees were mature enough to support a relationship with the mushroom. In trying to recreate a facsimile the old world, they introduced an unexpected danger to the new.


I remember reading Neuromancer in the early 90's. Fun stuff.
And now here we are, three decades into the 21st century.

"The sky was the color of television tuned to a dead channel."

Sounds kind of old-fashioned today.


"Cyberpunk is simply science fiction that's fully detached from the triumphant narrative of progress."

Which is, from what I can tell, most of it. I'll admit, I'm not a big fan of science fiction. In part for this very reason. It is full of dystopian futures.

In contrast, the Star Trek series was far more hopeful. It represented a post-capitalist, post-nationalist world. Even the ridiculous comic-book style of the first Star Trek seemed to be above all the petty squabbles of the day. They aren't fighting over stuff (like the tall blue people in Avatar) they are just exploring. When they do get in a fight, it is with assholes, or it is just a misunderstanding. Ethnic or ideological conflicts are gone (at least on earth). Are they all socialists? Yeah, probably -- who gives a fuck. There are giant lizards to fight, and hot alien babes to fuck.

With the Second Generation, it actually gets sophisticated, and leaves its comic-book, pubescent roots. The conflicts are more interesting, like personal identity (or assimilation). At the same time, money doesn't exist. This is clearly stated, in one of the movies, when they time travel back to earth, and explain to a late-21st century tribe that all of that titanium really doesn't have a price, since they don't think in those terms.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the same person who came up with "Generation X" also coined a term for a common, depressing, simplistic genre. It is both cynical and naive. We are fucked, and there is nothing we can do about it. Yeah, it makes for great music, but assuming the world is going to be much worse a few centuries from now is more ridiculous than assuming the opposite. A better future isn't a sure bet, but it is a good one. It just might take a while.


Vancouver gave the world Generation X?



I lived there at the time.

What happened was Vancouver was the Seattle of the 80s, and then Seattle became Seattle.

Also, it has always cost twice as much to rent in Vancouver as it does in Seattle, which seems strange, cause you don't get paid more.