Bruce Sterling []

Subject: Viridian Note 00215: Design Fiction

Key concepts
Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, design fiction, Viridian Neologue Contest

Attention Conservation Notice: Pope's hyperkinetic magazine appearances overloading readers' patience; papercuts proliferate, eyeballs beginning to bleed

A New Viridian Individual Project: by^^^^^^** (Spiff) Spiff made a weather-related home movie. Nice punchline. Link:

We Viridians still haven't figured out "who" "drew" the new BP Helios logo, but our investigators are hot on the trail.

"Have you ever said to yourself, 'I wish our company had a more dynamic name'? Or,'If only our logo was more expressive'? Or, 'Is our tagline catchy enough?" If so, eNormicom's patented Image Bucket Program(TM) is the answer." Link:

Link The February 2001 issue of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine is on the stands. I'm in it.

Normally I don't trouble readers of Viridian List with my science fiction publications, but this particular story of mine, called "User-Centric," is of Viridian interest. Set in the future and dealing with ubiqitous computation, it involves a hard-working cadre of postindustrial designers. This "design fiction" story first appeared in DESIGNFAX, where it looked even more peculiar and unclassifiable than it does in ASIMOV'S.


Viridian Contest Archive

After anguished moral struggle and much impassioned argument before the High Court, Judge Natalie Jeremijenko has settled matters and given us a winner! The victorious candidate is:

"The New World Order Firing Squad

"An automated firing squad confronts a large, bounding balloon in an installation shooting gallery. The guns dramatically respond to the keywords 'Ready,' 'Aim,' and 'Fire.' On 'ready' the guns chamber a round, on 'aim' they unsteadily converge at the target, and at 'fire' they shoot pellets. But the cybernetic guns cannot be directly touched, are unbearably quirky, and are frequently disobedient. Furthermore, the balloon itself is surprisingly tough and slippery, bounding around at random directions and speeds. The intent of this installation is to increasingly excite and frustrate an ever-growing and ever-more-bloodthirsty crowd, demanding the balloon's annihilation. The frantic voices are recorded and played back after the balloon finally meets its end."

Accepting the crown for his heartbreaking work of staggering genius is: (Bruce Sterling). Bruce has graciously agreed to give us a few words about his insightful work of technosocial criticism.

Bruce Sterling (sobbing unevenly, clutching tiara to his head and shifting unwieldy bouquet):

"Somehow I always darn well knew that this grand prize would most definitely end up here in my political base of Austin.... Ever since I started up the massive fundraising for this contest, I played to win! I most definitely deserve this victory, which by all rights should have been mine several weeks ago. So I just want to thank Supreme Judge Natalie, and my extensive family, especially my brother the Governor, and that attractive Attorney General, and the majority in the Florida House, and the minority on the Florida Supreme Court, and Fox News cable, and, most especially, the designer of the Vote-o-Matic. Thank goodness that our long ordeal is over. Now everyone in our Viridian feudal theocracy can once again unite behind the Pope-Emperor."

Bruce Sterling's prize is a handy digital tape recorder. This blobject gizmo will probably see a lot of use at the upcoming New Years Party. Viridians who have sent in their RSVPs for this party will be receiving directions shortly. If you also want to attend, do let me know.

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