CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics research and the largest facility like it in the world, announced an increase in the power of its particle accelerators, the BBC reported. After increasing its blasting power from 3.5 teraelectron volts (TeVs) to 4 TeVs (1 teraelectron volt = 1.60217646 × 10^-7 joules) the Large Hadron Collider will operate at that level for another 12 months. By that time, if the international team of scientists hasn't either found or debunked the elusive Higgs-Boson, CERN will take a 20-month break from hunting that new particle to further increase the sub-atomic destructive power.
Nerds everywhere face an internal battle of wanting the Higgs-Boson to reveal itself and the notion of more power. I'm afraid this is going to turn out to be a tale of a Frankensteined Icarus, here on a frenzied search to actually find god. Indeed, the Higgs-Boson has even earned the nickname The God Particle.
The saga at the Large Hadron Collider, the miles-long underground tunnel stretching throughout Europe, unrolls like a surreal dystopian dream for some. When news of the LHC's operation was announced in 2009, the initial public outcry was against the on-earth manufacture of black holes. In April 2010, a man was arrested near the main base of the site, claiming he had come from the future to stop the study's progress. At one point, a seagull halted operation of the site by dropping a baguette on an air vent--these are all truths. How has there not been a novel optioned for this yet?
Here are eight people I nominate to write this book in the tradition of their best cyberpunk nightmares:
William Gibson - Neuromancer and Pattern Recognition William Gibson is the godfather of Cyberpunk. No one before him or since has quite exemplified the perils of Technological Determinism as he. The most dense of Gibson's variations, Neuromancer set the rubric for an entire genre. The most transparent of his works, Pattern Recognition, traded pineal zeal for pragmatic empiricism, offering a manual of sorts for one possible future of investigative realism. And if there's ever been a nerdier guy possibly considered a fashion icon, please show him to me--Gibson made Buzz Rickson blanks cool again.
Ethan Daniel Ede and Adam Joseph Rosenlund - Light Years Away I've known this Boise, ID writer/illustrator team for years, and that's how long they've been working on their cheeky, forward-thinking graphic narrative Light Years Away. Under the Floodworks name, they've put out a bunch of surreal comics--my favorite is Fat Baby--but their true vision really shines on Light Years Away. Part One: Escape From The Prison Planet is finished and up now on the Floodworks website. Part two is going to be much more elaborate, intricate and dark.
Brad Kelly - Under Fluorescent Light I met Brad at a literature conference we were both reading at in Ogden, Utah. Thank god he had brought a bottle of whisky. He struck me then as an odd synthesizer: from Detroit, a working civil engineer but studying English creative writing and critical theory in his spare time and I've been following him since. Before he moved South as a Michener Fellow at the University of Austin, Texas, he dropped the McCarthy-styled, Kubric-concerned story collection Under Flourescent Light on independent publishers Red Tent Media. Brad twists Social Darwinism through a wrenched technological paradox, where identity and strife clash under tight focus from the panopticon. (Full disclosure: At one point in its process I line-edited this book. Not sure if this is unethical because neither one of us will ever make a cent off of that run.)
Warren Ellis - Transmetropolitan Warren Ellis is a well-known source of whiskey-soaked Twitter fodder. But he's probably best known for his series of comics adventures Transmetropolitan under a number of publishers, including defunct DC Comics imprint Helix. Transmetropolitan was published monthly for years and later collected into a paperback series. The books star the Hunter Thompson of comics characters but in a collapsed futurestate.
John Burdett - Bangkok 8 This thriller set in the Thailand city of its namesake examines the consequences of identity confusion and evasion in a world where sex roams as an independent mechanism outside of the individual's control. It's faced-paced, gripping, weird, disguisting, fascinating, and unpredictable, what No Reservations might have turned into if Anthony Bourdain could actually write.
Johnathan Lethem - Gun, With Occaisional Music, Amnesia Moon, and The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye Lethem's known, and sometimes decried, for his ties to Brooklyn's past and present, able to bridge the tenure of originality with criticisms of his air the gentrifying hipster effete--such as in Fortress of Solitude or Motherless Brooklyn. But his early works took a dystopian bent, exploring technology and its effects when engaged with the social. His first novel, Gun, With Occaisional Music engaged the ethical implications of allowing technology to coral morality and the trust given to modern psychotherapeutic medicine. Amnesia Moon explored the disconnect between environment, politics, and celebrity, fusing a post-blowout road trip with searing social critique. His first story collection, The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye took similar ethical quandaries to the worlds of future sports, incarceration, and drugs. An utterly overlooked period of Lethem's career.
Charles Burns - Black Hole This bleak albeit beautiful hardback graphic novel looks at how a crippled community and lack of focus apply to an unattended medical phenomenon. Here, Burns writes and illustrates a web of sexual confusion and troubles of the heart, among a group of promiscuous and marginalized small-town teens in a debilitated and ambiguous age.
Neil Gaiman - American Gods Everyone wants to give Gaiman all the credit for his steam punk vision appearing in the genre blueprint Neverwhere but he elbows his way into the Cyber world with the allegorical story of American Gods. In a world where mechanisms of control--such as advertisement, avarice, glut and so on--act outside the realm of human control, Gaiman trains a complex narrative through large-scale poetics. Gaiman's Gods literally come to life in this fascinating tale.