Valley of the Nerds

The terrace of the Applied Sciences Building overlooks what students at University of California at Santa Cruz call 'Elf Land' - a dense section of woods where psychedelically enhanced humans meet interdimensional beings. Back in the corridor of the building, posters of computer-generated fractal images depicting the arithmetic limits of iterative nonlinear equations line the walls. The pictures nearest the terrace look like the ferns on the floor of the forest. The ones farther back look more...

Hypertextual Forays

The writers of Cyberia underwent a similar evolution. The literary culture of Cyberia began as a dark, negative worldview but later developed into a multimedia celebration of timelessness and designer reality. Today, the literature of Cyberia - like its music - has become personified by cyberians themselves, who adopt into their own lives the ethos of a fictional designer reality. 'Beat' hero William Burroughs didn't start the cyberpunk movement in literature, but he foresaw it, most notably in...

Making Connections

For some cyberians, making sense of things and feeling the connections with other trippers is not enough. They use psychedelics to forge new connections between cultures, people, or even individual atoms. It is important to them that the real world, and not just the psychedelic space, consciously reflect the interconnectivity that underlies reality. Just as a fractal exhibits self-similarity, the psychedelic subculture should reflect the quality of a single trip. LSD distributors, in...

All Smart People go to Heaven

Earth Girl - a beautiful if slightly otherworldly twenty-year-old from Los Angeles - is at Mr. Floppy's Firm and Floppy house party in Oakland, explaining the effects of Psuper Cybertonic to several young girls who have traveled from the suburbs to get a taste of the house scene. Adorning her Smart Bar (a Peter Max version of Lucy's psychiatrist's booth) are several posters of mushrooms, spaceships, and loose quotes from The Starseed Transmissions-. As this new awareness increasingly filters...

Neopagan Technology

There is a growing spiritual subculture dedicated to channeling the beam, and it is characterized by pagan ethics, reliance on technology, and interconnectivity through vast networks. The neopagan revival incorporates ancient and modern skills in free-for-all sampling of whatever works, making no distinction between occult magic and high technology. In the words of one neopagan, The magic of today is the technology of tomorrow. It's all magic. It's all technology. Again, it's easiest to get a...

Seeing is Beholding

Terence McKenna - considered by many die successor to Tim Leary's psychedelic dynasty - couldn't make it to Big Heart City Friday night for the elder's party. The bearded, lanky, forty-somethingish Irishman was deep into a Macintosh file, putting the finishing touches on his latest manuscript about the use of mind-altering plants by ancient cultures. But by Saturday morning he was ready to descend from his small moun-taintop ranch house to talk about the virtual reality that has his fans so...

May the Best Meme

It's by using the technologies and pathways laid down by promoters of control that cyberians believe they must conduct their revolution. The massive television network, for example, whose original purpose was to sell products and - except for a brief period during the Vietnam war - to manufacture public consent for political lunacy, has now been coopted as a feedback mechanism by low-end home video cameramen. Coined 'Video Vigilantes' on a Newsweek cover, private citizens are bringing reality...

The Blast furnace of Disillusion

For those still intent on smashing the ego into oblivion and discovering the very edge of what it means to be sentient, DMT dimethyltryptamine, and its cousin, 5-hydroxytryptamine is the only answer. It is a naturally occurring hallucinogen that is usually smoked, although shamans snort it and some aggressive Western users inject it. It's effect is immediate -definitely within a minute, usually within seconds - and all-encompassing. It cannot even be described in terms of magnitude one user...