18 years of Bruce Sterling blogging at Wired magazine
April 29, 2021 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Beyond the Beyond was Bruce Sterling's blog at Wired Magazine. If you search for Wired + Bruce Sterling, you'll get an index of some of his traditional pieces for the magazine. But you have to dig around to find this stuff, which Sterling describes as "more of a novelist's "commonplace book," sometimes almost a designer mood board." The blog was discontinued in July, 2020, after eighteen years, or as BS put it, "old enough to vote."

It's rather like Edison's legendary labor, testing possible filaments for use in light-bulbs. Edison tried thousands of these newfangled little threads, and he used to say that everybody but him got tired of the fruitless labor. I'm inclined to believe that Edison secretly enjoyed that work, that he tried a lot of filaments that were just private jokes; that he really enjoyed watching weird materials glow and fry in an electric arc.

I used to toss a lot of stuff into the blog that looked "funny," but a lot of it was testing the very idea of significance. "Does this odd thing I found matter to anyone in any way whatsoever?" Will there be a public response of some kind to this? You can never get that response from a diary, a notebook, a studio corkboard. A blog, though, has an alternating current; so maybe some little meme will catch on and glow.

Wired magazine's indexing and archiving of old content is uniformly terrible and incomplete. This will probably go away soon, or maybe it will stick around for decades.
posted by mecran01 (9 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
as a one time devotee of wired it certainly influenced my world view for a while - there was a Sterling article that i have never been able to find where he talks about digital equality and access ; and the take away quote which i still use to this day is (something like) " in the future the problem will not be connecting , it will be disconnecting" - i wonder if its somewhere in those 1500 pages of blog posts ... mmm
posted by burr1545 at 3:17 PM on April 29 [2 favorites]

(on reflection i think it was before 2003 - if that apple Pray cover was '97 ) dang
posted by burr1545 at 3:23 PM on April 29 [1 favorite]

many years ago I arranged to have product from a company I worked for shipped to Sterling because he mentioned it all the time in his blog and appeared in all sorts of photos wearing them. I was super stoked to exchange some emails with him...and super disappointed that no-one at work realized the significance of it.
posted by th3ph17 at 3:29 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]

I saw him read at Powell's in Portland some time between 1993-1996. It was really cool, and he spoke like a revival preacher, and afterwards he was telling the fans that if anyone stole his laptop, it would be worthless because his hacker friends had encrypted it to the point that the hard drive would be a useless ball of molten metal if it fell into the wrong hands. Bruce Sterling is really good at being Bruce Sterling, and I'm ok with that.

He spoke with Cory Doctorow today for BookPeople in Austin, and it was loads of fun.

At one point he chided Cory for picking fights on Twitter with the richest man in the world.

Here's the wired index of his non-blog articles. It appears to be working and complete!



Real futurism means staring directly into your own grave and accepting the slow but thorough obliteration of everyone and everything you know and love.

The Future? You don't want to know
posted by mecran01 at 7:03 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]

I remember as a teen when reading Wired was one of the highlights of my month, and it felt like a portal into this secret world that was almost real, or would be soon.
posted by wuwei at 7:44 PM on April 29 [4 favorites]

I was involved running the conference Webstock for a quite a while, and one of the things I'm really proud of is that we had Bruce speak twice at it. Also his wife, Jasmina Tešanović at one. We had a lot of great speakers at Webstock and Bruce was one of the few that intimidated me a little. Not at all due to his personality, but because he just seemed to operate at a different level to us mere mortals. One of the pleasures of my life was meeting with them both and being able to hang a little with them!
posted by maupuia at 9:14 PM on April 29

I used to subscribe to the Viridian Design newsletter, and the Lost Media newsletter before that, which were basically the precursors to his blog, and the former especially had a profound effect on my personal sense of aesthetics. I drifted away from reading him after he moved to a blog format, but I’ll always be grateful that he put so much of himself into the world.
posted by Kattullus at 5:46 AM on May 4

I just want to be as weird and smart as BS one day, or have the courage to be that weird, or as BS puts it, to FOLLOW YOUR WEIRD.
posted by mecran01 at 7:58 AM on May 4

In a recent bookstore virtual appearance Sterling mentioned that work he had done for free had done more for him than much of his published fiction, referring specifically to Cheap Truth, a pamphlet series from the 80s.
posted by mecran01 at 9:07 AM on May 4

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