Burning Chrome, William Gibson, The Matrix & Second Life

Sometimes synchronicity just forces your attention onto things. I found myself trying to explain Second Life to someone who had never heard of it yesterday evening. After a brief foray into mumbling about virtual worlds and avatars, suddenly her formerly perplexed face lit up and she said “Oh – it’s like the Matrix”. And I had to agree that was about as good a shorthand for it as I could think of.

And then this morning I found this. BBC radio 7 is doing a 2 part reading of Burning Chrome, the influential science fiction story by William Gibson about Cyber Hackers, and it contains some very vivid descriptions of the 3d environment in which the hacking takes place. But interestingly, it also contains what I think is the first ever mention of the digital connectedness of things using the phrase “The Matrix”. I wonder if he got royalties from the film makers?

The story is well worth a listen, for all inhabitants of virtual worlds, and this is the link for episode one…..
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/networks/bbc7/aod.shtml?bbc7/burning_chrome_thu

I shall post the link to episode 2 when it becomes available. Note that it’s only there for 7 days then will disappear into the void. Get it while it’s hot.

Unfortunately the shows are broadcast using RealMedia streams, and if you’re one of those people that won’t have RealMedia on their computer, then join the club – I’m with you on this one. There is however an open source alternative to the standard RealMedia player that has none of the adware/spyware crap that Real installs on your computer, and it comes highly recommended (at least by me).

Download Real Alternative here…..
http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Real_Alternative.htm

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~ by slconceptual on October 19, 2007.

4 Responses to “Burning Chrome, William Gibson, The Matrix & Second Life”

  1. […] Part one is here…. https://slconceptual.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/burning-chrome-william-gibson-the-matrix-second-life/ […]

  2. Really interesting story. “the matrix” phrase is really overused though.

  3. The earliest usage I can think of using The Matrix to refer to a virtual environment was Dr Who in 1976. I wonder if they got royalties from William Gibson. 🙂

  4. Do you know which episode/series of Dr Who that was?

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