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Cyber Ireland: Text, Image, Culture by Claire Lynch (auth.)

By Claire Lynch (auth.)

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Extra resources for Cyber Ireland: Text, Image, Culture

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McCormack’s novel is also stylistically important since it takes 28 Cyber Ireland on elements of the hypertext, split between the narratives of the full page and the extensive footnotes which often run on for several pages. Chapters are divided by different character perspectives, directing their recollections to an undisclosed narratee, a technique which similarly recreates the structure of online reading, clicking and browsing between windows. Far from being stereotypically futuristic, Notes from a Coma engages with the semi-possible in a recognisable present-future, since McCormack’s approach demonstrates that the plausibility of an imagined scenario increases the impact of its imagined consequences.

Repetitious programming tasks certainly seem monotonous to those not as ‘giddy’ about computers as the recruits, who ‘divided, linked, nested, chained, deleted. Rerouted switched. Cracked passwords. 87). 87). Indeed, their fidelity to computers is arguably delusional, contradicting some of the earliest theories including the well-known ‘Lovelace Objection’. In 1842, Lady Ava Lovelace posited that the ‘analytical engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. 134). This foundational idea returns us to the concept of a computer and its component parts as objects onto which humans project their own narratives.

Having seen the news about the funambulist on the ARPANET message board, the hackers get through to a public phone in New York. 180), creating a scenario of multiple unknowns. The hackers try to verify the wire-walker, the phone conversation is derailed by the mysteries of the new technology and for all their bravado, the ARPANET is superseded by human verification; they need to hear it from a human voice. But if the machines are inadequately human at this moment, McCann’s novel takes on the ultimate feared (or anticipated) future in which humans become more like their machines: Out With the Old, in With the Boring 33 One of these centuries we’re all going to have ARPANET in our heads, he says.

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