The Infinite Matrix

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  Schism Matrix by Bruce Sterling

Week 15


I'm off to attend the World Economic Forum in New York, with Bono and Naomi Campbell. Are we flinging bricks at the Starbucks? Perish the thought! That police presence is the thickest I've ever seen! There are four thousand cops around our con hotel.




So we gather inside the Waldorf Astoria, two thousand businessmen and CEOs and CFOS and CTOs and various dignitaries and diplomats, and a Science Fiction Author (that's what my badge declares). All standing in line — for hours! — to receive the free "Davos Companion" Compaq handheld. The Davos Companion sends wireless email and receives wireless streaming media and we get to *keep it!* Wow!

Many of the handhelds immediately break. The Davos Great and the Good have to leave their busted machines behind, with their business cards tucked into them, hoping against hope for tech support.

a bunch of broken handhelds



So, tucking away my Davos high-security radio frequency ID badge, I go to the scummy part of the East Village for something to eat. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant urges me to civilly mind my manners. *This* is New York? Rudy Giuliani, what have you wrought?

door to East Village restaraunt

Thank goodness a determined New York girl can still get a drink in this town!

girl with drink



Broadway and Park Place used to be the top properties on the Monopoly board. Today, they're near Ground Zero.

Broadway and Park Place

The eeriest thing about Ground Zero are these spontaneous street-voodoo folk altars.

Ground Zero folk altar

The atrocity exhibit is no longer hellish; it's a giant, mildly toxic construction site. I've seen the Pentagon as well. New Yorkers can get over anything, but the American military can treasure an affront for centuries on end.

Ground Zero



I gotta hand it to those gracious Swiss hosts — doing the Davos Forum is mighty educational.

Bruce Sterling learns a new trade -- money laundering


Bruce Sterling writes books like Darwin watched animals. Find out more about him, and read tattered electronic copies of Cheap Truth, at the Bruce Sterling Online Index. He lives with his wife Nancy and their two daughters in Austin, Texas.

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