It isn't difficult, even at first glance, to tell that this book is broadcasting change. From the wide-eyed baby on the cover to pages and pages of contorted text, Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge, defies convention, or forecasts new conventions. For the average American reader, A User's Guide to the New Edge covers topics that are either eerily distant or strangely fanciful. But A User's Guide to the New Edge, like the magazine that inspired it, is not for the average American reader.
If you are reading this review, you are the target audience. You are probably looking for a context for the "new world order." Here it is. Color pixels warp themselves into images of the now and the not-too-distant future. Words ooze between graphics and pop their definitions into the margins. The format, however, only anticipates the content. A User's Guide to the New Edge tackles subjects as common as fashion and as esoteric as wetware. If your brain compels you to explore the edge of what is, A User's Guide will give your brain idea wafers to chew on for weeks. The computer literate will find entries like "hypertext" and "multimedia" familiar but the value of A User's Guide to the New Edge comes not from the familiar, but from its ability to link the familiar with the change it inevitably creates.
Technology affects every part of our culture. People are wearing integrated circuits, television invades our living rooms, the White House has an e-mail address. The human animal adapts to these changes as it adapted to receding sheets of ice or the introduction of agriculture. Each environmental or technological change forces new awareness.
The editors of Mondo 2000 magazine have culled their best insights into the future and published them in an attractive soft cover edition full of eye candy and threatening assertions. Of course, their visions only threaten those unwilling to see its eventuality. Fiber optics, artificial life and virtual sex drive us to redefine ourselves. We react by exploring our options with psychedelic drugs, hip-hop music and new norms of apparel. A User's Guide to the New Edge gives us a glimpse of the reciprocity between culture and technology. When you're ready to jump into the future, A User's Guide to the New Edge proves as valuable as an Audubon Field Guide on a trip to Yosemite.
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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graphic: R.U. Sirius
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge:
If functionalism has its day, as it surely will, the cyber-suit may be THE LAST GARMENT. Fabric technologies being developed by the likes of petrochemical giants such as ICI are already coming up with materials that will keep you warm, keep your out of the rain, and let you sweat.
Noise has overtaken information in our age. Signal and noise have switched places. We live in the value-dark dimension, a black hole of deconstructed values and exploded worldviews.
(from a piece by BCP's own Gareth Branwyn)
I think that studying intelligence and making robots is the ultimate art form, because it's studying yourself. There's no way you can understand someone else's intelligence; all you have is yourself. It's the ultimate self-expression.