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Bruce Sterling on the State of the World
March 17, 2006 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Bruce Sterling : The State of the World (mp3) from the South By South West Media Conference. (SXSW)
posted by blue_beetle (33 comments total)

 
I wasn't going to post this, but I was captivated by some of his opinions, even if I don't agree with them all. Worth thinking about.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:00 AM on March 17, 2006


Transcript?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:03 AM on March 17, 2006


Bruce usually posts transcripts (you may have to wait a few days) at www.viridiandesign.org.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 10:08 AM on March 17, 2006


Sorry, no transcript that I could find. For those that don't know Bruce Sterling, he's a SciFi writer and "visionary in residence". The SXSW website describes his presentation as [his vision of global drama and the human condition, circa 2006].
posted by blue_beetle at 10:09 AM on March 17, 2006


I hope he's a better speaker than he is a writer.
posted by mischief at 10:12 AM on March 17, 2006


He's an awesome speaker, give it a listen. I haven't heard this year's yet, but the last five years of his rants/talks at SXSW have been incredible.
posted by mathowie at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2006


I'd like to but I'm on dialup.
posted by mischief at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2006


Metafilter: your favorite anything sucks.
posted by JeremyT at 10:25 AM on March 17, 2006


Bruce sounds like he's been drinking his own cool aid. Not that he doesn't have some points but he's a bit too emphatic.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:39 AM on March 17, 2006


I hope he's a better speaker than he is a writer.

I think his novels are really terrible, but I mostly like his short stories and non-fiction columns and essays. I can't think of another writer who seems so differently-capable when writing in a different form.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:42 AM on March 17, 2006


I read four of his novels, three were middling but the worst by far was his newest, Zenith Angle. Ugh.
posted by mischief at 11:04 AM on March 17, 2006


Metafilter: your favorite anything sucks.

*flags as "excellent" comment, expects own comment to be flagged as "against the guidelines", deleted*
posted by matteo at 11:06 AM on March 17, 2006


Really? I genuinely enjoy his novels... thought Zeitgeist was amazing.
posted by brundlefly at 11:09 AM on March 17, 2006


Sterling's recent (say, past 10 years) novels are mediocre as novels, but generally great as exercises in idea-farming.

And as a speaker, he's just funny as hell and a little disturbing, all at once, which is usually a good thing.
posted by lodurr at 11:18 AM on March 17, 2006


Best quote from Sterling’s speech: “Make no decision out of fear.”

[Best quote overhead at SXSW: “Not to pimp my own kool-aid or anything…”]
posted by ijoshua at 11:28 AM on March 17, 2006


Bruce is a great guy. I've chatted with him in person several times and he is an engaging, charming curmudgeon with a real brain that seems excised of the irritating hermit-egos most writers seem to develop.

I though Distraction was a good novel, perhaps not as "literature" but the plot was smart and prescient, the story was entertaining and funny.

What else to say.... hmmm... oh, Suck it Haters!
posted by tkchrist at 11:54 AM on March 17, 2006


who can hate on the author of the shaper/mech stories and Schismatrix? no one can. that's who!
posted by darkpony at 12:30 PM on March 17, 2006


His short stories and non-fiction rock. Zeitgeist, Distraction, Hevay Weather and Holy Fire are all amazing. Schismatrix is a product of it's time. Zenith Angle... just didn't work. There were some moments In there I really dug, and points of identification with a character whos lived through those years in technology, but it didn't gel, and most of all seemed like he was just channeling his own blog.

Still... high hopes.

He's alot more interetsing than Bill Gibson is these days.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on March 17, 2006


'product of it's time'? if everything written in Schismatrix does not come true by the year 2075 i will eat my nanofiber hat with my cybernetic masticatrix.
posted by darkpony at 12:55 PM on March 17, 2006


Does that include making contact with capitalist lizards, darkpony?
posted by brundlefly at 2:44 PM on March 17, 2006


Thanks for posting this. I would have missed it otherwise.

When he's not channeling Allen Ginsberg, he's tossing brain-bombs. The speech was a little uneven. I've read about the middle part before ... the spime part ... and it wasn't half as interesting as his commentary on society. I'm not sure what's so great about not having to care about where your keys are or where you took off your shoes. My life is not so complex that my pants need to have a url. Or maybe I'm missing the point.
posted by crunchland at 2:46 PM on March 17, 2006


(by the way, here are more podcasts of some of the panels and presentations from the SXSW Interactive 2006.)
posted by crunchland at 2:50 PM on March 17, 2006


The stuff about what Americans look like form the outside is spot on.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on March 17, 2006


"Does that include making contact with capitalist lizards"

reptilian capitalists? without a doubt. probably the least far-fetched idea in the book.
posted by darkpony at 2:59 PM on March 17, 2006


My notes for the talk are here, if you're interested. They're pretty detailed, but definitely not a complete transcript.
posted by chasing at 3:06 PM on March 17, 2006


Don't miss the idiotic, poorly described "Spimes".. blech.
posted by AaronRaphael at 4:12 PM on March 17, 2006


Yeah, the Spimes stuff is definately less interetsing than, say, the weirdness of living in Belgrade. The Web 2.0 stuff is a bit sales-guy-esque as well.
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on March 17, 2006


Are those "podcasts" available as mp3s i could just download?
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on March 17, 2006


My life is not so complex that my pants need to have a url.

Crunchland, I wish I could say the same.
*resumes pantquest*
posted by ernie at 4:55 PM on March 17, 2006


My notes on the speech
posted by thedaniel at 12:00 AM on March 18, 2006


More importantly, he let me and a friend (who he later described on The WELL as something like "a couple of punks" or some such) crash in his house when, at the end of his CFP-related shindig in Austin, we found we had no way back to where we were staying.

Not that this matters to anyone but me.
posted by theonetruebix at 1:32 AM on March 18, 2006


Big cry baby.
posted by seanyboy at 8:14 AM on March 18, 2006


I saw him give that talk while woozy from antihistamines. It was one of the more surreal experiences of my life.
posted by cali at 1:10 PM on March 19, 2006


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