Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spanner Chapter 16: Don't Change the Channel

Chapter 15

Chaos Angel Spanner — Book 1: Rock City Blues
Chapter 16: Don’t Change the Channel

After revealing its existence to Shira and Sparks, Seattle’s “urban intelligence” gives them a shocking revelation about COPCO and the Party. Governor Brinkman and the Cascadia Public Management Corporation, humiliated by Spanner’s appearance last chapter, hires the Party’s public relations master, a man known to his countless enemies as the Rat Bastard. The terrified school administrators of Bremerton High summon their Party overseer to help them deal with the escalating feud between the Student Council and Team Bremelo. Shira and the pirate broadcasters at KCUF wage a PR duel with the Rat Bastard, with sexy star reporter Amanda Currie as the target and the prize. And Jennifer tinkers with her own prize, a beautiful robot girl salvaged from the post-assassination robot riots...

The third part of Rock City Blues begins, and it threatens to rock the foundations of the American Empire...

Table of Contents:
  1. Urban Intelligence (September 5, 2011)
  2. The Knock on the Door (September 6, 2011)
  3. Pick up the Pieces (September 7, 2011)
  4. Live on Pirate Television KCUF (September 8, 2011)
  5. Regarding Amanda (September 9, 2011)
  6. This Is the News (September 10, 2011)
  7. Interlude 9: Three Cases of the Civet (September 11, 2011)
The name of this chapter was changed from “Media Wars”; I’m now reserving that title for a chapter of Book 2 set during the Pretty City arc. Neither Rupert Murdoch nor his corporation-body, Prime Minister News Corporation, appear in person (he/it will be a major player in the later chapter), nor does the SRO. The School Arc climaxing in Chapter 21 resumes. Much of the introduction to the original Chapter 15 has been superseded as the chapter was revised for the Second Edition. But some of it is still correct, or at least interesting...
“Media Wars” is the third of the proposed chapter titles I took from my Project Notebooks of the Nineties and early ’00s (after “Spanner in the Works” and “Better Living Through Chemistry”). This title encapsulates one of the major cyberpunk themes contained in such CP-SF novels from the classic era as William Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive, Norman Spinrad’s Little Heroes, and Bradley Denton’s Wrack & Roll. Above all, there was Max Headroom. A title like “Media Wars” was a complete no-brainer back when I was trying to write Spanner as science fiction. Now that the Media Wars are actually happening, what was science fiction then is reality today. I’ve updated the concept to include the Internet and social media — or what little is left of it after a little dust-up called World Infowar I...

One more obscure influence on this chapter in particular is a book from the mid-Seventies called Decadence, a post-mortem of the Sixties counterculture by one Jim Hougan (who was then living in exile on Ibiza a decade before the rave culture of the Nineties started developing there and ended its backwater obscurity). Its one major point, besides identifying America as something of a giant robot doomed to move in one direction until (in our near future) it crashes, is his antithesis within pop culture of alpha culture and omega culture. Alpha culture is the decentralized culture of the people; omega culture is the hypercentralized culture of the Man. Omega culture is a parasite that continually struggles to assimilate all potentially threatening alpha culture and lock it into unthreatening stasis. More than ever, the Man has a huge edge. But now we have the means to subvert the Man’s omega-cultural tyranny: the Internet, social media, and file sharing. After the Neo-Confederate coup and the Infowar, the Man seems to have total control. But in its hubris it has spawned the cancer that will kill it: the Darknet. (Here’s the book on it, an article on it, and the reply by Freenet’s creator.).

Scenarios from the Project Notebooks of the early ’00s: the Doctor’s visit and the terror group that calls itself the Socialist Revolutionary Organization. From the early Notebooks of the Nineties: the Rat Bastard (mostly on index cards, actually), the Pirate Television Network and its local station KCUF, and the cult known popularly as the TV Heads. The original cover concept for the proposed manga episode: a line of cartoon fish, escalating in size, all about to eat each other.

Special Mentions: Go-Man and Mister X!
Special Guest Star: Rupert Murdoch is News Corporation — literally!
Original soundtrack by Emergency Broadcast Network.

Now press play, and listen...
Chapter 17 (starting here...)

Back to Chaos Angel Spanner table of contents...

Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

No comments:

Post a Comment