What did I just read, you ask? Good question. Allow us to shine a fading torch into the grubby corners of Cyber Noir 2020.
CN20 is a collaborative blog, written as a shared effort between a couple of close friends. Part creative exercise, part venting opportunity, the blog is also a pointed response to the saturation of ‘perfect lives’ broadcast across the internet.
You’ve all seen the glossy photos of friends, family, colleagues and celebrities. The perfect moment, the smiling faces, the beautiful lives being led. The succinct hashtag. Held up as proof that their lives are amazing, many of us can’t help but try to compare and find ourselves wanting. Noticed that?
Well, have you also noticed that no one seems to post about the low battery on their phone, the bin in the kitchen that needs to be taken out, or their shopping list being a touch longer than their bank balance will cater for? Or about the stilted silence between a couple that have had an argument, and are are now forced to sit on the same sofa for the rest of the night? No; it is perfect lives almost all the way. And when it isn’t perfect, it’s used to aggrandise the drama.
Not everything in life is amazing. Not everything is dramatic. Some things are just, well, happening. All the time. CN20 aims to strip the veneer and gloss from life, reminding the reader that we are all human, living human lives. Fleshed out by the things that aren’t great, as well as the better moments that do indeed crop up.
Everything we write, happened. We really thought it, or it really is planned. This is real life. This is a journal as much as a creative exercise.
The creativity, the fun, comes in swapping out the regular names we use in ‘real’ life to replace them with cool sounding ‘dystopian future’ names; the kind of terms you might find in a Cyber Noir setting. The thing is, we are not making up any technology. We are not inventing anything. The only work we are undertaking is to change the name we use to describe it. The rest is your imagination filling the rain-slicked neon nightscape. Comm unit? Well, that’s a mobile/cell phone. The Social Feed? Regular old social media (described collectively rather than by brand). A speeder? Car. Apartment? Hab Unit.
The reason we decided to do this (other than as a fun thought exercise), is to remind ourselves that, here in 2020, we are living in the future. We are in the future of our past selves. We haven’t invented flying cars or teleportation – yet – but why are those the arbiters, the event horizon, of The Future? We’ve got some pretty impressive tech these days. I’m writing this on a wirelessly connected iPad, will next upload to a cloud-based file, then edit on my home PC and post to WordPress. Or should I say that I’m using my data slate, uplinked to the data stream, where I will edit on my hab unit’s primary terminal?
Hopefully you get the point.
There is no gloss. We draw attention to the mundane. We won’t pretend that our lives are more than they are. We will, with considered care, observe the flaws we have, the flaws that help make us who we are. But we will also enjoy the tech we have, the things we do accomplish and not take it, or ourselves, for granted. We are all, all of us, much more similar than the press for likes would have us believe.
We will have fun writing and exploring CN20. We want to write creatively. We will add a colourful flair to the language we use. This is still a noir themed blog, after-all: the weather must always be oppressive, the bars open late, and the liquor hard.
Maybe we’ll see each other around, a passing glance up from the data stream on our comms; crossing paths in the wet, glowing night. A moment in time, as we wend our way through the metro zones of Citadel.
Or maybe we won’t. It’s a busy place.
Le Sueur, Onyx, 2020.