Synopsis by Ed Atkinson
In 1982, when William Gibson's novel Neuromancer landed in the hands of the public, few believed that the vision it presented was possible. Now that the dust has begun to settle from the great tech explosion, many people are beginning to look back on Gibson's book as a prophetic text. These people have come to call themselves Cyberpunks (a term Gibson coined). With a name and an attitude borrowed from the characters of Neuromancer and Gibson's other works, Cyberpunks have set out into the virtual world to see what mischief can be found. Stomping through cyberspace (a term derived from William S. Burroughs' interzone theory first presented in Naked Lunch) with a bravado and set of ideals that would rival the Mediterranean pirates of the 17th century, the Cyberpunks search for bounty that will aid in the manifestation of a dual reality, an even split between the here and now and the computer-generated world of cyberspace. Looking for software that can be pirated and sold, ideas and organizations that can be toyed with and new and interesting mind-altering experiences, these modern-day renegades plunder, hack, and phreak their way through the day. Though they face great risk from the powers that be, the quest is most important. It is this quest and the mystery behind these new outlaws that Marianne Trench investigates in this documentary. Along with Gibson, Trench interviews famed LSD guru Dr. Timothy Leary, who after years of sitting at the head of the psychedelic table found a new taste in the world of the Internet. Jaron Lanier, a digital artist and the man who coined the term Virtual Reality, also makes an appearance to discuss the finer points and aesthetics of the silicon age. Overall, this documentary is an assault on the senses and sensibilities that also manages to clear up many of the myths of an often misunderstood subculture.