PRINT April 1991


New Age Mutant Ninja Hackers

THESE DAYS, THE CYBERSPACE of virtual reality (VR) is the in place to be. It’s hotter than the Saudi Arabian desert and apparently offers greater possibility for intense, novel, and thrilling experience than that materially grounded version of reality in which we daily live—and die. Rather than putting on battle gear and gas masks, a new subculture is donning electronic stereo-vision helmets and Data Gloves and taking off via computer to virtual realities and other forms of cyberspace. Rather than finding the gravity of human flesh and the finitude of the earth precious (or asserting their preciousness in the face of their threatened loss), this subculture is busy mutating—“downloading” its consciousness into the computer, leaving its obsolete body behind, and inhabiting the datascape as a pack of new-age cyborgs. Some are identified as “cyberpunks” for their datascape equivalent of

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