[ISEA97] Panel: Sue Thomas – Panel Statement

Panel Statement

Panel: Literature, Journalism, and the Telematic Society 2: Fact, Fiction, Faction; Converging Styles in Literature and Journalism in On-line Publications

The meat body in the throes of becoming cyborg.

wet~dry~cold~hot :1: steel/plastic/wire/skin :1: blood^current^fluid^light :1: open|closed :1: yes|no :1: in|out :1: low|high :1: true|false :1: 1|0 :1: flesh-bone-clipswitch — Aaahhhh!

Our reliance upon the sense of sight combined with the notion of visual perspective has kept us trapped beside a window for five hundred years, literally gridlocked, looking out but never able to pass through. But now the computer uses the estranged detachment of the reading eye not to fix us, but as a vehicle to hook us in directly. There, inside the machine at last, we are cut loose to drift in our own and others’ imaginations, the bleeding and orgasmic body re-feeling the world through a different sensuality. My novel THE (+]NEI[+) OF DESIRE sets out to explore some of the sensual constructs which make cyberlife so different from real life. Virtuality engages our most intimate intellectual imagination but can we describe how it really feels? Is there a lexicon for the sensorium of the meat/machine interface? How can we use text to translate the cybersensorium for those who have never experienced it? This paper discusses the calls made by the cybersensorium upon our memory, imagination, and ability to fantasise, and looks at the problems of writing fiction set in text-based virtuality. You are invited to visit THE [-F]NET[+] OF DESIRE in its virtual location #87887 at LambdaM00.

  • Sue Thomas (UK) has just completed her third novel, The f+METf+I Of Desire, which takes place in the unbodied realm of text-based virtuality. The landscape of the book can be found at LambdaM00 #87887. Her first novel, Correspondence, explored the choice to be made between a human or a machine body, and was short-listed for several awards, including the 1992 Arthur (Clarke Award for Best Science Ficton NoveLln her second book, Water, she invent­ed Ruari, a sensual yet wholly inorganic entity. She is editor of the story collection, Wild Women, and has written for Wired, Geekgirl, and Mute. Course Leader of the MA in Writing and Project Leader of the trAce Writing and Technology Research Project at Nottingham Trent University, England, she will be teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth for the Spring Semester of 1998.”She writes about our machined, manipulated land­scape with bold sensual accuracy. Billed as a ‘roleplay’ as well as a novel, Correspondence is formally inventive with a rich sense of humour.” (Village Voice) “There is an interest­ing surreal quality in Water. Mythic. Although the rules of physics are never actually broken, it feels as if they might be any second.” (LA Times Book Review).