Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Visit with Dr. Gil-Egui

“If I would have known the economics involved in journalism, maybe I would have never studied it.” Dr. Gisela Gil-Egui, an aspiring journalist since the sixth grade turned Fairfield University professor spoke to English students Wednesday March 8th. Dr. Gil-Egui made it clear she was in no way trying to discourage her audience from persuing what they love, just warning students about the great amount of work involved in journalism. “I knew little about behind the scenes journalism when I graduated college” said Gil-Eguil. After five years at university and one year working on her thesis, Gil-Egui took her first plunge into journalism with a small gig at a local newspaper in her country of Venezuela. The experience wasn’t everything she’d hoped it would be, and Gil-Eguis interests turned to the future of newspapers: online journalism.
Gil-Egui’s presentation focused on digital technology and media convergence. Is online journalism a new way of reading and writing reality she questions? Online journalism provides readers and writers alike with a new form of attaining and distributing information. News articles are no longer limited by word length, space or amount of pictures included. Online news stories are lengthier; and contain picture galleries, videos and graphics.
Online news coverage is also more current and up to the minute maintains Gil-Egui. They can be updated daily, hourly, even by the minute if news changes. Newspapers have to wait until the next day to make changes to top stories. By waiting this long, print newspapers risk reporting old and outdated news to readers who may have already heard the story on the news or read it online.
Lastly online journalism is timelier than newspapers. Archives store old articles and make them easy to find online unlike newspapers whose old issues are difficult to locate.
While online journalism is no doubt the newest phenomena in receiving daily news, Dr. Gil-Egui maintains this means of attaining information will not replace newspapers themselves.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Blogging to get support for a convicted murderer?

Kim Pearson, a professor hailing from the College of New Jersey shows in her letter to colleagues just how powerful this phenomenon we call blogging is. She writes about Radley Balko an analyst for Cato Institute, who’s consistent blogging on Corey Maye, a convicted killer from Mississippi has convinced several other bloggers to take up Mayes case. I personally haven’t visited Balko’s site, but I can imagine it would have to be rather persuasive to evoke sympathy for a man convicted of murdering a police officer.

In response to Pearson’s main question, or reason for writing rather, I would not be surprised if Mayes story did receive more interest because of the blog. I think the main story will be how incredible it is that one blogger got the attention of so many people from all over the country. If such a story is aired, Mayes will most likely get even more sympathy along with the negative attention that will inevitably come along with it.

What truly defines a blog?

Dan Mitchell's article in the New York Times (NYT) “That Which We Call a Blog” has me completely confused about what a blog really is. Here I am, keeping my own blog, assuming all blogs look and function like mine, but now mainstream media sites are considered blogs too?? How can this be?

An example is made of the NYT website. There is no interaction on this website, no room for comments, no profile on the author, no personal voice or defining characteristics. Aren’t these the qualities that define a weblog? If I knew the NYT site was considered under this context, I would have viciously raised my hand during Dr. Gudelunas (see post from 2/22) lecture when he asked the class who visited blogs everyday. I spend a considerable amount of time on both CNN and NYT, but have yet to conclude that these are blogs. Like David Sifry, the founder of Technorati, the number one blog search site, I believe blogs are very narrow and focused on one topic. I will continue to believe so unless someone convinces me otherwise.

Web News vs. Journalism

James Stovall, head of the journalism department at the University of Alabama for 25 years, knows all there is to know about writing, web journalism, editing and visual journalism. This has become quite clear to me even through reading just the first four chapters of his book “Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium.” I am a big fan of the internet, so Stovall did not have to say much to convince me of its benefits, but he did definitely introduce a few ideas I had not previously considered. Beginning in chapter one, Stovall claims the benefits of web journalism in particular are its capacity, flexibility, immediacy, permanence and interactivity.

Having taken news writing myself I understand what a great benefit of capacity is in journalism, there is no cap on words, or confusing layouts to deal with on the web. Immediacy is the main reason I use the web to get most of my news. When I want to know something I just go to or New York and I am there in a second, reading what I want to. Also, with most web journalists leaving there e-mail addresses at the end of their article, interaction between journalist and reader is finally possible. I never considered however, how important flexibility is in web journalism. Its not just words written by one, and then a picture taken by someone else, it’s a collaboration of videos, graphics and links as well. Archived new articles are just another benefit web news has to offer. New York Times allows you to locate their very first papers from the 1850s.

The information in chapter one was both interesting and thought provoking. Chapter two followed suit. I learned there are moderately and aggressively updated sites. Im not sure what an example of a moderately updated new site would be because only updating on a weekly basis does not constitute a news site. Sites like CNN update several times a day, a characteristic that makes me a loyal visitor of their site. I was interested to learn about independently owned sites as well, including the Drudge Report which I often read. I was not aware Matt Drudge completely ran this wonderful news site on his own, kind of inspiring. But Stovall’s claim that blogging is a form of reporting I will have to agree with. I keep this blog, and consider myself in no way a journalist. Blogs are not factual, and hardly ever report meaningful news.

Chapter three continues to discuss more differences between web journalism and actual journalism. The point he makes about “no more deadlines” when reporting news on the web I disagree with. There will always be deadlines, especially for big news sites such as CNN and MSNBC, those writers must have deadlines. Even for sites with no deadlines in place, who wants to slack off on reporting the news in a timely manner when it means you could gain less hits for that day?

Chapter 4 clarifies that web news still requires the basics of journalism such as good reporting. The main goal is to sell the story, so as easy as maintaining a news site sounds, opposed to maintaining a newspaper, it may actually be more challenging. Stovall reminds us that the web journalist has to have several qualities beyond good writing stills such as “headlines, summaries, slideshow cutlines, FAQs, polls, quizzes, weblog entries etc.”

I enjoyed reading Stovall’s perspective on web journalism, and while he makes a great case for this phenomenon, I don’t see newspapers and broadcastings going anywhere as a result of it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Walker's article will mess with your head... be prepared to never read the same way again.

It was hard to determine whether Jill Walker’s “Do you think you’re part of this? Digital texts and the second person address?” was a philosophical or English driven piece.

While I could not find much information on Jill Walker herself (that is, the “real author” of this article, you’ll have to read it to see what I mean) I did discover this blog she keeps, which happens to be extremely more comprehensive than this article.

Walker begins by making distinctions between the several characters that help to write and read a document such as this.
Real author—implied author—(narrator)—(narratee)—implied reader—real reader

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, I thought their was only one author and one reader…. But you would be wrong. So here’s the breakdown of Walkers explanation: The real author Is the actual flesh and blood person that writes the article (in this case Jill Walker). The implied author is who we the reader imagine the author to be, obviously we don’t actually know Walker, therefore we cannot know the “real author.” The narrator is “the text’s “I”, the voice speaking or writing, and the naratee is the character to whom the narrator is telling the story” (we are this character because Jill Walker doesn’t know us either).

While I found all of this very interesting, I was also confused by it. Does this information even matter? You think about the writer or narrator or any of these different pieces when they read. I concentrate on the words in front of me, but that’s just me… maybe as Walker suggests I am confused, offended and violated by the use of “you.”

I’m not one for video/computer games, so I don’t find myself relating much to Walkers comparison of games requiring one to take on a role. And unfortunately I’m not a huge fiction reader either, so I seldom take on a “second self.”

Forced participation however? I think due to the internet we are all a victim of that. Windows pop up left and right on my computer screen, I often ignore them, but they continue to ask if I want to hear more about how I can win a million dollars, or if I know what Backstreet Boy Paris Hilton dated (I would then proceed to click the button for “Nick Carter”). With one click of my mouse I have accepted my role. These “rituals of submission” seduce us by acknowledging the individual.

Interesting concept, but I will definitely feel more violated when I read, go online, or play games in the future. I’m hoping you don’t feel uncomfortable as a result of my blog. Do you? (If you’re answering, you’re participating)

Dr. Gudelunas: Blog King of the World

As much as I enjoy keeping this weblog, and seem to further enjoy writing here each week… I’m pretty certain, and secretly hope I never become as blog obsessed as Dr. Guadelunas. The young Fairfield University professor of media communications spoke to myself and the other students of ENW 350 last week.

I found the first words out of his mouth to be rather alarming; “Who here reads blogs for over an hour a day?” OVER AN HOUR A DAY??? That’s an hour I could be spending at the gym, eating lunch, or doing homework for this class… in other words, that’s an hour I could be getting important things done. Since the beginning of this “Digital Writing” class in January, I have found myself questioning, who in their right mind has the free time, and would willingly use it to write/read other peoples blogs. People like Gudelunas I suppose, assuming there are more of them out there. The worst part is that Gudelunas was actually shocked and appalled by the response of our class. Not one student admittedly read blogs on a daily basis, let alone for over an hour.

Gudelunas admitted to reading several blogs a day, including one of his favorites entitled “Jossip.” I’m not a blog reader, yet, but this site does look pretty interesting with its information on celebrities, media and Manhattan news and gossip.

Dr. Gudelunas continued to make some pretty outrageous claims as the class went on. Among them was his insistence that 1 out of every 5 Americans read blogs, that 20% of the populations. How can this be true, when just a few minutes ago a class of 20 educated and technologically superior students admitted to hardly ever reading blogs. Maybe its just me, and my roommates, and well… everyone I know… but I just learned what blogs were this semester. In fact, and I’m not sure how true this is, but I just stumbled across this article that claims only 6% of US internet users read blogs. This sounds more probable to me.

Despite these few touchy areas, Gudelunas was young, energetic, knowledgeable and extremely psyched about blogs. Definitely the positive attitude and boost I needed to ignite some blog passion within myself.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Photoshop rocks my world

For someone who stores over 500 pictures from study abroad travels and college parties in an old Victoria’s Secret bag, learning the ropes of Adobe Photoshop was certainly something new for me. I’m not one to compose webshot photo albums or create scrapbooks, I keep my photos loose and sift through them whenever I need a trip down memory lane. These poor photo habits which have been developing for over 20 years may be hard to break, however Peter Sarawit may be close to doing so. Sarawit, the Senior Digital Designer at Fairfield University’s Resource Center for Advanced Digital Exploration (RCADE), holds several media, video and software workshops each month, including the one I attended on Adobe Photoshop.

The first/only time I have ever heard of this program was in the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.” In an attempt to scare off her new boyfriend Benjamin Barry (played by Matthew Maconhey), character Andie Anderson (played by Kate Hudson) exclaims “So I was playing with Photoshop at work today and decided to compile our faces to see what our children would look like.” I was hoping I would learn how to do this last Monday, but alas Sarawit stuck to the basics.

Although we were only able to graze the surface of what Adobe has to offer in the hour and a half class, I ended up learning plenty of useful techniques. It’s more than just scanning a picture and adding text, I can now antique my pictures, give them the appearance of a painting, airbrush and remove red-eye. Sarawits thoroughness left me with few questions concerning use of the program, but rather the class in general left me asking, where can I purchase this amazing software?

Neuromancer, not that bad afterall...

I feel the need to revisit any blog I ever posted on the book Neuromancer. I now realize how immaturely I over exaggerated my hatred for this novel. Now that I look back, it really wasn’t half bad. It only took all of two classes to read and discuss this sci-fi classic. And while I still maintain that I loath science fiction, reading Neuromancer was comparable to ripping off a band aid; It certainly was painful, but only for a second. I apologize to Dr. Sapp and Dr. Simon, my instructors who assigned this reading, I understand why you chose “Neuromancer” and forgive you for doing so.

Students go shot for shot, blog rivalries?

If it were not for this “Digital Writing 350” course I would never in a million years have compiled this blog. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I haven’t quite decided. But after reviewing my classmate Brian Larkin’s “B.L.O.G. Cabin” (the clever name pretty much foreshadows the over all wit and humor of the blog) I have realized I can do one of two things; 1. Follow suit and try to sass up my blogs a little bit or 2. Quit while I’m ahead.

I had planned on merely skimming Larkin’s blog to gather some ideas and provide critiques, but instead I stayed and nearly read all his posts….quite a compliment from a girl whose free time has become non-existent as a result of choosing “The Dollarization Debate in Ecuador: How she will avoid the mistakes Argentina and Mexico” for her 50 page capstone.

Off the bat, one notices Larkin keeps a highly decorated blog; pictures, videos and links all adorn the site. Don’t be fooled however, this is not just a cover up for poorly written posts… these are actually the highlight of B.L.O.G Cabin.
I especially enjoy Larkin’s post from February 11, 2006 in which he defends his Mirror article “He said: Super Bowl: bastion of manhood or a bane to women?” which has received poor reviews in fellow student Ryan DeLaurentis’ blog "The Analyst." The contention of the article is whether or not Larkin correlates being a “real man” with the maltreatment of women. Had I read the Mirror article previous to my reading of DeLaurentis’ critiques I probably would not have thought twice about a few of the sexist remarks made within the article. Larkin’s reference to boobs and feel-ups becomes all too familiar territory thanks to my four years of college and excess of “real men” friends. However, DeLaurentis makes some relevant points, maybe some things I should have noticed when I initially read the Mirror article.

In any case, I see no harm done, but commend both bloggers for adequately defending their stance without taking too many cheap shots to achieve their goal.

Whos who? Larkin on left, "real man" on right?

"Free Speech from those who help make it possible"

Since reading John Hockenberry’s “Blogs of War” I can actually say I have started reading blogs on a daily basis… military blogs (milblogs)that is. Maybe I’m being a girl, but the article touched me, to know that distant soldiers in death ridden war zones can still be connected to the country which they are fighting for. Not only that, but they can report back to us with first hand accounts of the travesty and devastation of war. Not to mention that most of these blogs are extremely well written, whether they grab the audience through wit or emotion, all are enjoyable to read.

For instance, the first milblog Hockenberry mentions is “365 and a Wakeup” a truly inspiring account of a soldier stationed in Iraq. Thunder6 is a husband, son and brother, trying desperately to make it safely back to his family in LA while watching his fellow soldiers die in the line of battle. He only posts about once every two weeks… I’m assuming this is because he doesn’t have the opportunity to post more frequently. Thunder6 also has a unique style of blogging, he starts out with a quote most often. For instance, today’s was “Every goodbye is the birth of a memory.” By the grace of God Thunder6 returned home safely today to California, and reports that for now he is just enjoying the free air. So far he’s received 89 “welcome home” comments, and it has only been 2 hours since he posted.

Hockenberry also cited Armor Geddon, a clever name for an extremely clever blog. Unfortunately author Neil Prakash was ordered to close down his weblog as of October 2005, now only archives dating back to December 2004 can be found online. Just from reading the archives of Prakash’s hard core account of suicide bombers and attack missions it is easy to see why Armor Geddon was considered controversial by the Pentagon.

Prakash was not the only blogger ordered by the Pentagon to shut down his site, Josh Hartley was commanded to do the same with his blog “Just Another Soldier”, although the Pentagon never gave their reasoning as to why they wanted it discontinued. Hartley complied for a while, but resumed blogging just a few months later. From his blogs, a memoir about his stay in Iraq has been published by HarperCollins.

While writing this, I have been going back and forth through these three milblogs as well as several others mentioned by Hockenberry, including “Mudville Gazette,” “Blackfive,” “67cshdocs,” and “A line in the Sand.” Be warned, they are addicting. These soldiers have a knack for captivating writing, which could be a result of natural talent, or the fact that most of these men are highly educated, scheduled to be doctors and scientists had they not enlisted.

So now I can’t get enough of these milblogs. Perhaps my obsession stems from the fact that my WestPoint boyfriend will probably be deployed to Iraq in the next couple years. I feel connected to all things military. I can imagine how comforting these blog posts must be for friends and families who can’t remain in constant contact with their loved ones at war. It’s not only the soldiers that are blogging about Iraq however, even their loved ones have started to post accounts of what its like to have a husband, brother, son, or friend in the midst of war. I stumbled upon CaliValleyGirl whose boyfriend returns home in 3 days, she actually has a counter on her website that calculates the days, hours minutes, and seconds since her boyfriends deployment. 363 days, 11 hours, 54 minutes and 2, 3, 4 seconds.

I have seen the light… I finally find myself understanding and actually enjoying blogs. Milblogs are purposeful and interesting unlike some of the whiny, typically boring “Live Journals” I have become accustomed to reading.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Creeping Meatball

"The Creeping Meatball" a blog kept by Rich Hanley, a Communications professor at Quinnipiac University, covers the media and the internet and appears to be for use by his students.

I enjoy the layout of this weblog. The site isn’t pretty by any means, it is rather plain, but I like the straightforwardness. No search is necessary, bold titles make the topics of each blog well known. I personally enjoy the topics he chooses as well, the mixture of Google coverage for instance, and the war in Iraq. The light stuff and the heavy stuff. I appreciate his brevity, within a few sentences he explains the topic of his blog only to follow it up with links to a more credible source.

Hanley publishes frequently enough. There are some gaps, no more than 3 days at a time where he doesn’t post anything. This may bother some people, but I think he makes up for it on the days where he writes 2-3 blogs.

Hanley seems to follow Bernsteins rules for keeping a good blog: he writes tight, knows why he’s writing, and does so frequently. Hopefully my amateur blog will be as comprehensive as this by the end of the semester.

Stone let the blogs out...

Just when I thought Neuromancer had scarred me for life, and solidified my eternal dislike for all publications involving the internet and web technology, I read the witty and entertaining “Who Let the Blogs Out?”

Despite the completely tacky title of this book (“Who let the dogs out?” was a horrible song, maybe Stone should have just left it at that) Biz Stone, one of the originators of weblogs, offers readers this witty novel about the history and future of blogs. When it comes to the internet, I don’t know much beyond stagweb, google, and online shopping. Therefore I was very surprised to find “Who lets the Blogs out?” to be such an easy read. Stones
explanations of various beginning blogging sites were very thorough and interesting. Most of his references were to the creators of these sites, he was able to humanize the internet through their stories which made it less abstract to myself.

I guess that’s one of the problems I had with Neuromancer, nothing seemed human… I constantly found myself confused. I understand this was the point of the book, so maybe Gibson attained his goal by creating a dark world in which human life was slowly being taken over by technology. The point is, I didn’t like that approach, and I much prefer Stone’s style.

I was surprised when I recognized a few of the most popular blogging sites. I was convinced I had never encountered one before. I’ve had several friends engage themselves in daily diary updates through their LiveJournal. I’ve always found this to be a pointless and rather foolish concept. Who cares about how someone elses day was? But as Stone points out, sites such as “Belle de Jour: Diary of a London Call Girl” have gotten noticed…big time. Apparently Belle’s adventures will soon be seen in the form of a film.

And just days ago I stumbled upon a Xanga site. My friends who are scheduled to get married this summer have all their wedding details posted and constantly update what they need in the way of photographers, music etc. They also have a photo album of the two of them and continue to add new pictures.

So far I’ve only read through chapter three of this book… all 120 pages only took me a little over two hours, that’s almost 3 times faster than I normally read. Stone’s book is well organized and interesting, which has definitely contributed to my liking of it, and speed reading capabilities. I actually look forward to finishing this novel.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sex, Love and Disease-- Fairfield presents a powerful rendition of Beirut

Scene from "Beirut"

When I hear the word "Beirut" I first think the capital of Lebanon (that's the international studies major in me) and secondly I think beer pong (that would be the college student in me).... or maybe vice versa. The point is I don't automatically think of that deep dark 1980's play about sex in a future dominated by AIDS paranoia. In fact I had never heard about this play until I saw it for my self two weeks ago.

Beirut takes place in a dingy quarantine cell in the Lower East side of Manhattan. Here lives Torch, a young adult suffering with AIDS. This doesn't phase his girlfriend Blue however. She sneaks her way into the quarantine unit just to be with him, completely unconcerned with whether or not she becomes positive. For an hour and a half they scream and yell, make up and kiss... and by the end you feel as if you've just been hit by a train... but in a good way. The power and drama of this play was not felt so positively by all however. That especially holds true for Fairfield University "Mirror" staff writer Khoi Nguyen who shares his dislike for the production in an article entitled "Theatre Fairfield presents flawed 'Beirut.'"

Khoi Nguyen is one of my friends, he writes wonderful articles for The Mirror and I respect his opinion… but in this case I must say I simply cannot agree with some of his criticisms concerning Fairfield’s production of Beirut.

Like Khoi I also attended a showing of Beirut two Fridays ago. The brochure that was passed out at the door gave away no clues about the subject of the play, it was very vague in its description and the only words that caught my eye were “love” and “disease.” I figured it had something to do with AIDS, but beyond that anyone’s guess was as good as mine.

A friend who accompanied me to Beirut is a part of Theatre Fairfield and warned me about the nudity. I’m not going to lie, it made me a little nervous in the first scene when the main character “Torch” rolled out of bed nude. I think someone’s grandparents were sitting next to me, which made me even more uncomfortable. Grandparents and full frontal nudity… I had to grab for my friends hand, completely wasn’t expecting “nudity” to mean this.

After a while I got used to the nudity, masturbation and sexual predicaments Beirut had to offer, I’m not sure if this is a good thing… but it helped me to focus more on the play itself, rather than my modesty.

I agree with Khoi that the nudity wasn’t completely necessary, not to that extent atleast. I think underwear would have been just fine, and made the same point. But I have to give the actors credit for having the courage to take on such risqué rolls. Beyond that, Lauren Satos (Blue) and Jared Mezzochi (Torch) were absolutely wonderful. Their acting was flawless and powerful, and provoked great emotion from the audience. I even felt myself tearing up at the end.

Some of the referals Khoi makes are harsh and ungrounded. For instance when he claims:

"The play was a cliché from plot to wardrobe. Torch, infected with the
disease, was in black boxers and Blue, who was negative, dressed in white
underwear. "

Now I'm no theatre expert, but as far as I am concerned, the play was anything but cliche.

Khoi continues to refer to "Beirut" by saying:

"Despite its cheap, soft-core, low-budget porn quality on stage, this other
version of "Rent" (without the musical numbers) went haywire. Instead of
drilling on the minor blemishes, "Beirut" can serve as a reminder of what kind
of isolation and discrimination humans are capable of given its worst

This comparison to a cheap porn or soap opera with "weak dialogue" was overly critical. I thought the dialogue and fake Brooklyn accents were rather amusing. I found myself wishing I would have joined the Fairfield Theatre group at some point during my four years here, not that I would ever act in my underwear…. But it was definitely obvious how much work the actors put into this production, and how much fun they had doing it.

While Beirut was dark, depressing, and inappropriate at times I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it and all its weirdness. Beirut may have been outside of Khoi’s comfort level, but perhaps he should have remained a little more open-minded and not have been so quick to judge.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I Miss Ecua!

While using Technorati is a wonderful way to search millions of blogs, I happened to stumble upon this one on my own, while surfing the net one evening.

From January 3-14th myself, along with 11 other Fairfield students and two faculty members traveled to Duran Ecuador for a 10 day service experience. Upon my arrival home I found I was missing all those I met in Duran, and I desperately wanted to know how everyone was doing. I began to visit the “Rosto De Cristo” website, the retreat center and mission service I assisted with during my stay. I found the volunteers there post blogs to let all past volunteers keep up with what is happening in Duran. The blogs are typically lengthy and give great details about how all the kids are, and what projects they are currently working on. My one complaint is that they posts are too few and far between. Only about 1 post a week… maybe they need to read Bernstein’s 10 tips, I find myself visiting the site several times a week before any new feedback is posted. Anyways, this is my favorite blog as of now, I’m sure I will discover several more during the course of Enw 350.

What exactly is "Neuromancer"???

Before beginning my reading of Neuromancer, I will be honest, I had no idea what this word/title meant. I know neuro- probably has something to do with the brain, but mancer I cannot quite figure out. Lucky for me a study guide I printed out, entitled "The Cyberpunk Project" helped to clear up my confusion.

"The Cyberpunk Project" did agree with my assessment of neuro relating to the brain, nerves and artificial intelligence. Mancer apparently stands for magic and romance. . “It also stands for Case as a computer "hacker" who disrupts the social order (much like an evil magician) by throwing virus programs into society, thus causing chaos in the world.” I’m not sure this quite answers my question though, I’m still confused about what “mancer” or rather what “neuromancer” as a whole stands for.

If we take this definition from “project cyberpunk” I can see how “neuromancer” which basically means artificial intelligence magic (or something along those lines) relates to the books plot, themes and characters. The whole realm of virtual reality, AI, the matrix and cyberspace in general is so advanced I’ve often found myself relating it to magic. Cyberspace seems like a completely unearthly, fantasy world in which characters such as Case, Wintermute, Molly and several others seem to have magical powers. It some senses Neuromancer reminded me of X-men, every character has their own magical attribution: Case with his mind power and ability to hack into the matrix, Molly with the razor blades under her fingers, implant lenses and strength, Peter Rivera who can project holograms with his implants, The Finn with his debugging and sensor techniques, Wintermute the A.I. and Julia who is 135 years old…. And the several other characters who have paranormal, inhuman skills and quirks. I suppose Gibson chose such a unique title to portray the supernatural, unreal nature that the book has.

Mr. Brightside
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