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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Movie Club - Voting Thread #7


First real Cyberpunk movie - juvenile delinquent uses his hacker skillz against an AI and turns the Cold War hot. That, right there, is the fundamental definition of "Cyberpunk."

Screw your mirrorshades and cybernetic implants, Matthew Broderick is Patient Zero of the Cyberpunk revolution.

thenewgreen  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Also, for those not familiar with the film, this is a pretty good trailer:

thenewgreen  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I would welcome an opportunity to see that movie again. I loved it when I was a kid.

kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I own it. It's fuckin' awesome.

That movie made me want to be a video game programmer. I desperately wanted to play "global thermonuclear war" but had no idea how to accomplish it in an era of BASIC.

It came out in 2007. I tried playing it. I had too much empathy for my fellow human, no matter how digital. Couldn't pull it off.

thenewgreen  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Question: You are well versed in these types of things, where would be the safest area of the US to live during a nuclear attack? I always felt like Northern Michigan would be good, with the remoteness and the abundance of fresh water, game etc and lack of military bases. Currently, I live in North Carolina with Ft. Bragg less than an hour away. I would have to think we are a pretty early target.

During the apocalypse is any one part of the US significantly more advantageous or is the nature of the attack so horrific and the scape of the destruction so vast that it's all hell?

edit: Also, that looks like a cool simulation. Did you try playing it in tic-tac-toe?

kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ever seen Threads?

Americans are big on The Day After because it ran on prime time during the apogee of the"Morning in America" Reagan Era. It depicts, in a cinematic and semi-hopeful fashion, Jason Robards dying of radiation sickness as he tries to save the people of Lawrence, KS in the wake of nuclear armageddon.

Most people would argue that The Day After was one of the bleakest things to ever run on prime time television. After all, the world fucking ends and everybody dies. But you at least get to see everybody struggling and trying to rebuild. The sun is shining. None of the ugly shit associated with, you know, actual war really gets much in the way of airplay. Lots of fancy stuff:

But really, it's a trite, rose-colored view of a nuclear exchange. We all forgot, of course. That's how things like Jericho happen, where Skeet Ulrich and friends protect their town against a marauding motorcycle gang with a bunch of hunting rifles and an endless supply of candles.

Threads wasn't like that. Threads was real.

Threads took as its fundamental assumption that any nuclear exchange would be primarily between the USA and the USSR and any damage done directly to the UK would be pre-emptive collateral associated with the silos in Scotland. It presumes that the UK really isn't a player in nuclear politics, no matter how hard it wants to be, and that the majority of all casualties will be elsewhere than the UK. The UK figured they had 106 targets across the entire country.

And it still ends with 95% fatalities, an utter collapse of civilization, and a return to subsistence farming akin to an era before the invention of potatoes.

Threads does not fuck around.

There's this lingering presumption amongst '80s kids that nuclear war was somehow survivable if only you could plan properly. Part of that was the fact that "eyes melt skin explodes everybody dead" isn't cinematic. Part of that was the fact that we didn't really understand just how much the USSR had doubled down on biological warfare. Or that they'd automated their entire response.


So let's suppose that the USA managed to launch every.single.missile at the USSR, which was somehow asleep. Or, shit - let's just suppose that the USA only launched enough missiles to take out silos'n'shit. Free and clear. Soviets never know it's coming. Here's what happens next:

1) The USSR automatically launches its entire nuclear arsenal. Let's say it's '88. That's 45,000 warheads, each between 5 and 500 times as powerful as Hiroshima.

2) The USSR launches whatever bioweapons it has prepped. Congratulations - if you make it to the end you still have anthrax to deal with.

3) 65,000 nuclear weapons reduce the northern hemisphere to radioactive dust.

4) Fallout circles the globe for weeks. And not cute, cuddly "oh shit Fukushima" fallout, either. We're talking "dead in 6 months from 1 sV exposure" fallout. Everywhere.

5) The sky goes dark and stays that way. That's research from this year, not hoary old shit from the '60s.

    global ozone losses of 20-50% over populated areas, levels unprecedented in human history, would accompany the coldest average surface temperatures in the last 1000 years. We calculate summer enhancements in UV indices of 30-80% over Mid-Latitudes, suggesting widespread damage to human health, agriculture, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Killing frosts would reduce growing seasons by 10-40 days per year for 5 years. Surface temperatures would be reduced for more than 25 years, due to thermal inertia and albedo effects in the ocean and expanded sea ice. The combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies and could trigger a global nuclear famine.


6) The jetstream is full of Cesium 137 and the topsoil is full of anthrax. Cesium 137 has a half-life of 30 years and Gruinard Island became safe to visit only after the top six inches of topsoil were incinerated and the whole island sprayed with formaldehyde.

You can maybe survive a nuclear exchange, depending on where you are. Nobody survives a nuclear war. The only real question is how quickly you die.

To answer your question more specifically, Michigan is under the jet stream and downstream from dozens of silos in Wyoming and Montana. Assuming nobody bothered to nuke Detroit (a stupid assumption):

...you'd still be swimming in fallout. In the dark. In anthrax. With radiation burns and cataracts. And nothing to eat. In a nuclear winter.

As far as "early targets" it all would have been over within an hour anyway.

kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Edited to add: I started reading that study. The nuclear winter effects discussed are from a limited exchange between India and Pakistan involving no more than 100 15kT weapons.

In other words, 0.15%, warhead-wise and an infinitesimal fraction, yield-wise, of a full-scale US-USSR nuclear conflict.

b_b  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think that infrastructure would be way more important to target than military installations. Men and machines can be easily replaced, but some key infrastructures can't. Who gives a shit if you have a million troops and factories if you have no fuel to supply them, for example? There was a report back in the 50s or 60s that basically identified a dozen or so targets that the Russians could hit that would cripple the US, and none was a military target.

Meriadoc  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Second this. Possibly the only real choice. I can't think of any other really good cyberpunk... well, anything.

Wait does 12 Monkeys count?

mknod  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If you want to do 12 Monkeys, does that mean you'll include "Le Jetée?" ;D

The ethos in 12 Monkeys isn't really there for cyberpunk when I think about it. It's much more of a cyclical tale then one of questioning ethics. I guess there is the whole angle of "should we even be messing with time travel", but I think cyberpunk deals with a much more personalized tale of the push and pull of morals. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, I only have a passing interest in the genre)

For example, in Johnny Mnemonic there is a tradeoff between being able to keep the data in his head or losing his mind.

In Robocop, Murphy has to deal with the fact that he may no longer be seen as human. That he once had an entire life that's all but been erased.

So in these type of scenarios, it seems like the morality tale is much more character focused whereas in 12 Monkeys there is an overall theme of the morality of humanity.

kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Cyberpunk seems to hinge on a rebellion or crime in a supersaturated technological environment. There's a dystopic, anti-authoritarian streak a mile wide through cyberpunk.

The real problem, I think, is it's an abortive genre. Nobody's writing cyberpunk anymore because it leveraged the alien nature of computing. Write a book about a freelance hacker hired to break into an advanced computer network in 1981? Neuromancer. Write it in 2014? It's a memoir. Yeah, Neuromancer had space stations and AIs... but the elements that make it cyberpunk are reality now.

I first read Bruce Stirling's "Islands in the Net" in '87. It's about a woman in Texas who:

- survives a drone strike

- then investigates a crime ring out of Asia

- only to be kidnapped by terrorists

- who hold her hostage and threaten to blow up the world with surplus ex-Soviet nukes

That was the fuckin' fyoooochur back then. Nowadays? Might as well be an episode of Frontline.

I think that's why it all sort of stopped with Matrix - ZOMG computers was kind of where the AOL generation was at that point. We'd done Hackers two years before to try and capitalize on the Packard Bell Pentium 1 that everyone was buying at Costco but Matrix came out right about the time that people were comfortable enough with the whole "computer" thing that they were willing to distrust what it does instead of what it is. I mean, beepy beepy beepy:

Meriadoc  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Wait if this is the case

And I hesitate to suggest this one

but should we do Blade Runner then?

(have we done Blade Runner? Let me know.)

camarillobrillo  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Blade Runner was my first thought.

user-inactivated  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I like Blade Runner and we haven't watched it yet. Not a bad idea!

kleinbl00  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Since we aren't defining anything, sure it counts! ;-)

Best friend did his graduate thesis on cyberpunk in cinema. Made the point, over the course of 80 pages, that The Matrix stole every trope cyberpunk had, misappropriated it and threw it on a tired, archetypal messiah story. Thus, the flopping, abortive attempts at movies like Johnny Mnemonic and Lawnmower Man were completely beaten into the ground by The Matrix the same way hard sci fi died a 30-year death upon the release of Star Wars.

I mean, Christopher Walken and Willem DaFoe in New Rose Hotel. I'll bet you didn't even know they made it. Meanwhile, Neuromancer has gone through 4 directors without even once hitting concept art. Wanna see their most credible director choice?

Hollywood wants the look of Cyberpunk. They have zero interest in the ethos.

Makes me sad.

mknod  ·  2115 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Hollywood wants the look of Cyberpunk. They have zero interest in the ethos.

So true, and it reminds me of this related work: