Module Co-ordinator: Professor Brenda Silver



Course Summary:

This course will use a wide range of print texts, electronic texts, and films to interrogate the intersections of cyberculture, popular culture, and postmodern critique.  Taking as our starting point the question how or whether the new media have changed our understanding of popular culture, we will look at genres such as cyberpunk, hyperfiction, fan fiction, computer games and their narrative off-shoots (graphic novels; machinima), as well as novels and films that illustrate the process of remediation: the cycling of different media through one another.  Topics we will consider include the representations and cultural meanings of the cyborg and sentient systems,  the prevalence of techno-orientalism, the creative potential of transformative play and transformative works, the eversion of the virtual into the real, and the role of the internet in the creation of a new form of “folk” culture.




Week One: Introduction:  Mapping the Terrain

Week Two: Cyberpunk_1

Week Three: Cyberpunk_2:  Neuromancerneuromancer

Week Four: Cyborgs and Cyborg Texts

Week FiveBlade Runner

Week Six: Ghost in the Shell

Week Seven: Study Week



Week Eight: Snow Crash

Week Nine: Cyber Fandom: Transformative Workssnow crash

Week Ten: Computer Games:  Story and/or Play and/or Art

Week Eleven: Remediation:  Computer Games, Fiction, and Film [Run Lola Run; The Matrix]

Week Twelve: Sentient Systems: Her; Ex Machina



Primary Texts

William Gibson, Burning Chrome (1986)  [“Johnny Mnemonic” and “Burning Chrome”]

Pat Cadigan, “Rock On,”  in Bruce Sterling, ed., Mirrorshades (1986)

William Gibson, Neuromancer  (1984)

Kathy Acker, extracts from Empire of the Senseless (1988)

James Tiptree, Jr., “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”  (1973)

Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto:  Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth-Century”  (1990)

Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl, by Mary/Shelley & Herself.  (1995; CD)

Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)  [Recommended]

Ridley Scott, Dir., Blade Runner  (1982; Director’s Cut, 1992)

Scott Bukatman, Blade Runner  (1997)

Mamoru Oshii, Dir., Ghost in the Shell  (1995)

Shirow Masamune, Ghost in the Shell  (1987; 2004)

Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash (1992)

Adventure.  (

Tom Tykwer, Dir.,  Run Lola Run (1998)

Lilly and Lana Wachowski, Dir.  The Matrix (1999)

Spike Jonze, Dir., Her (2014)

Alex Garland, Dir., Ex Machina (2015)

Fan fictions

Critical essays