Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Grumpy, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Been a while since I've written anything cyberpunk-ish.

    It's a favourite genre of mine, but as with all things I tend to leave at the wayside for a while and try other things. Some of the stuff I've been reading and researching of late has brought me back to the genre, however.

    I've been wanting to write a cyberpunk story set in the very near future for a while now, but have never quite done the research needed for it. Lately, however, I've been keeping up with current affairs enough for me to feel I might be ready to have a shot at it.

    So here's a quick passage I've written as a way to get into the mindset of a certain character of mine. The very angry and irate 'Jack the Data-Ripper', a British hacker who specialises in 'retrieving' (stealing) the personal information of people. I tend to write in first-person for him, in the form of rambling, furious blog posts that he leaves about the intertoobs. Such as the one below.

    [[-People are fucking stupid.

    That is one thing that my chosen profession has taught me.

    In ages past philosophers and the learned have argued to the contrary. 'We are higher beings' old Descartes believed, 'our bodies are material but our minds are much more'. The great thinkers of the Enlightenment seemed to think that our species greatness would lead us to some sort of utopia, some perfect society where it's all sunshine and daisies.

    Well, they sure as fuck called that wrong, didn't they?

    The thinkers of the Enlightenment where writing in the 18th Century. Just look at what followed. Industrialisation, spilling shit and garbage into our atmosphere, poisoning our planet with no thought to the consequences. Two World Wars, in which we killed ourselves in our millions, developing wonderful and creative new ways to butcher our fellow man. Commercialisation, in which we surrendered ourselves to rampant capitalism and a consumer culture.

    If Descartes could see our species now, he'd eat his own words.

    People are fucking stupid. We are mindless consumers, cattle eating up whatever new fucking Apple product is released, whatever soulless, vapid new music we're told we're supposed to like, whatever new hairstyle or look some stick-figure bitch on a catwalk is told to wear. Cattle mindlessly and happily consuming our way to the corporate slaughterhouse that awaits us at the end of the road, too fucking stupid to even realise where we're being led. We are not enlightened beings. We are dumb animals.

    Our culture and society is dictated by what we're told to like. We dress like they want us to, eat what they want us to, listen to what they want us to, watch whatever shit they pump into our skulls through that big, fancy fucking HD TV they told you to buy. We vote for our governments based on tribalistic notions of loyalty and "who grandpa used to vote for" and that's if we even have the sense to vote at all. Do you know the voter turnout of the last General Election here in the UK? 65% on average. Which means 35% of the population of this supposedly great country couldn't even be fucked to look away from their computer screens and their TVs long enough to engage in the democratic process that we're only allowed to participate in once on a blue moon. And that first number is only going to get lower, that second one only higher.

    It seems to mean nothing to us. We are cattle; so long as the food keeps flowing we'll let any old farmer take the helm. We care more about fucking soap operas and some starry-eyed little cunt on a talent show than we do about who's marching us all towards oblivion. Is it any wonder they get away with so much? Is it any wonder the gaps in society get bigger, the corporations get stronger, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? No-one gives a fuck enough to do something about it.

    This is an age in which ignorance is the norm and the educated are pariahs. Most of our youth are starting to leave school at 16, clueless, naive and terrified little kids behind their facades of toughness and capability off into a short life of minimum-wage, unfulfilling jobs and maybe a bit of alcohol abuse and casual violence on the side to take the edge off the crushing monotony.

    And our government does nothing. These lost souls mean less than the shit they accidentally get on their shoes. Maybe some of them went into government with the intention of making a difference. I'd like to think that our species are still capable of producing idealists, those beautiful, wonderful and misguided fools. But the bickering, moral-less political environment they enter sucks any feeling of love towards your fellow man and a wish to serve the people who elected you right out of you. You are transformed into one of them. They who privatise our police forces, underfund our health services, cut the funding on our military whilst they go over budget on their Olympic grand-standing and bail out their friends the corporate wanker-bankers with taxpayer's money, knowing full-well the bankers will just fuck it up all over again.

    Such is the world we live in. A disinterested public stares at their televisions and their computers, numbing their brains with reality TV and dull, processed music, escaping into the reliefs of video games and alcohol and drugs. We ignore the world rather than try to fix it.

    And that is why they are winning.

    Corporations are now richer than governments. They are in your homes, in your ears, on the clothes that you wear, crafting the food you eat. Governments concede more and more power to them every day, dressing it up as 'Privatisation' and 'empowering the private sector'. Your representatives have made their little deals with the devil and they're quite happy with it. They're too short-sighted to realise that the corporations will just want more. They will keep growing and growing, your governments will keep conceding more and more power.

    And there will come a day when the corporations finally realise the world is theirs for the taking. And take it they shall, and we'll all be too busy mindlessly consuming to even notice.

    I look at my fellow man, and I despair.

    For we are living in a dystopia.

    We're just too fucking stupid to realise it.


    Here's another upbeat and uplifting monologue from that cheeriest of all chappies, Jack.

    [[-Let me share a thought with you.

    I want you to think of the last time you went a day without using a piece of technology.

    Go ahead. Have a good think. I'll wait.

    You're coming up blanks, right?

    Technology is now a part of your life. It is intrinsic to our society. Our factories that produce the food you eat are run by it. Our economy is dictated by it, predicted by it. The elevators you ride to work every day controlled by it. It's in your home, it's in your ears. The mobile phone that now basically runs your whole day for you. The PC from which you write your emails and post every meaningless fucking event in your miserable life to Facebook. The pacemaker that keeps your heart ticking over.

    You think you control it.

    You're deluding yourself; it controls you.

    Open your eyes and let the depressing truth wash over you. Our society runs on software. If tomorrow every electronic device in the world stopped working, everything would fall apart. We have made the shift, taken the plunge; it was a transition so clean and seamless you barely noticed it happening. PLCs, Smart Phones, laptops, wireless routers everywhere, our planet now bound tightly to the fully electronic world of the internet. Our ancestors could never have imagined such a thing, not in their most vivid nightmares.

    You use these devices every day. But you don't understand them. Not really. You can press the buttons, certainly. You can make a pretty fucking presentation to show your lovely profit margins to your arsehole of a boss. You can take your iPhone apart and sometimes you can even manage to put it back together again. You're half aware of the invisible wireless world that's constantly blazing around you.

    But don't tell me you truly comprehend any of it. The only person you're fooling is yourself. Hell, I'm counting on you not understanding it. It's what keeps me in the fucking job.

    Your Facebook page. Your blog. Your internet banking account. Those are not personal, private things only you have access to. It doesn't matter if you pressed that nice, shiny 'PRIVATE' button; anything you access can be traced. All it takes is someone with the commitment to get at it and the knowledge of how to do so. With a couple proxy servers and a password-cracker, your entire life is laid bare before me. I can learn about your friends, your asshole of an ex, that girl you always fancied but were too much of a fucking pussy to ever ask out. With a key-logger I can read everything you ever type. With a Trojan I can see every file you ever save, with a Backdoor every website you ever visit.

    Me. A total stranger, some faceless berk who's never met you before. With a couple clicks that information is mine, with which I can do whatever I bloody well please.

    You translate your life into 0's and 1's, and those 0's and 1's can be accessed. Those 0's and 1's can be abused. You have no idea of the risk you put yourself in, every fucking day. Every time you access your bank account from an infected PC. Every time you buy something from Amazon using a keylogger-ridden laptop. And don't think your fucking Mac is any safer, you smarmy cunt, because it sure as shit is not. Don't think that Norton or AVG or whatever bastard AntiVirus service you use will keep your technology safe, either. A script-kiddie with a torrented hacker's toolkit can make mince-meat of whatever they've got to offer most of the time.

    Do you see now?

    Do you fucking see?

    You don't. And you never will. This article will change nothing. Maybe you'll click the fucking 'LIKE' button. Perhaps you'll share it with those cunts you call followers on Twitter. And then it'll be on to the next thing. You'll open a new browser tab, close this app and maybe play some fucking Angry Birds. And these words will be gone. In through one ear, out through the other as the saying goes. In an hour or so you'll probably have forgotten you ever read this.

    But the facts won't change.

    That mobile phone? You need it now. How else can you answer all your texts, keep in touch with all your friends? Same goes for that laptop. And for the car you drive. The train you take. The internet you browse, the operating system you use. It's tied to you now, just like it is to everyone else in the Western Hemisphere.

    A symbiotic relationship.

    A merging of flesh and technology.

    We are cyborgs.


    Bit barebones, WiP right now; I might alter and edit it a bit to make it more readable later.