Bruce Sterling

Professor of New Media and Science Fiction at The European Graduate School / EGS.

Bruce Sterling

Biography

Bruce Sterling (b. 1954) is a science fiction writer, net critic, and internationally recognized cyberspace theorist who was born in Texas. However, as a child he also spent a lot of time in India, which partly explains why Sterling is still fond of Bollywood movies. Sterling graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1976. A year later, his first book, Involution Ocean, was published. However, he first started becoming famous by organizing an annual Christmas party in Austin where he would present digital art. In the 1980s, Sterling published Cheap Truth, a series of fanzines, which are magazines for fans of a particular performer, group, or form of entertainment. He did so under the surprising but revealing pen name of Vincent Omniaveritas. In Latin, “vincit omnia veritas” means “truth conquers all things.” Sterling’s writings have been very influential in the cyberpunk movement in literature, specifically the novels Heavy Weather (1994), Islands in the Net (1988), Schismatrix (1985), and The Artificial Kid(1980).

In 2003, Bruce Sterling became a professor of internet studies and science fiction at The European Graduate School / EGS where he teaches intensive Summer seminars. In 2005, he became “visionary in residence” at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Sterling lived for several years in Serbia with Jasmina Tesanovic his second wife, a Serbian author and film-maker. In September 2007, he moved to Italy where he found a peaceful place to live in Turin. Sterling has travelled the world giving many speeches and collecting awards. His list of accolades include the Campbell Award in 1989 for his novel Islands in the Net; the Hugo Award in 1997 and 1999 for his novelettes Bicycle Repairman and Taklamakan, respectively; the Hayakawa Award in 1999 also for Taklamakan; and the Clarke Award in 2000 for his novel Distraction.

Along with William Gibson, another one of the major figures of cyberpunk, Bruce Sterling co-authored the novel The Difference Engine (1990), a novel which is part of the steampunk sub-genre. The novel forms an alternate—or speculative—history set in 1855 London, which is anachronistically advanced. Bruce Sterling is the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Sterling published Black Swan in 2010, which has received critical acclaim. In an interview by Rhys Hughes, Sterling is asked about the philosophical depth of the book, to which he answers in an insightful manner:

Rhys: “A title with deep philosophical resonances, ‘Black Swan’ partly involves the exploitation and trade of secrets. Are secrets the ultimate capitalist commodity?”


Bruce: “I’m inclined to think that the ultimate capitalist commodity is money. Some minor things are true secrets, yet there are many hugely important things that are obvious, and yet no one publicly admits to them. People methodically shelter themselves under hypocrisies, delusions, faiths, ideologies. Those are much more important than any mere secrets. Evolution is a blatant fact of life, but Darwin kept his idea of “natural selection” secret for 20 years. Then he published his secret in 1858, fearing that Wallace, is rival, might reveal it. Today, people still attack evolution. They attack it with more vigor when it becomes more obviously true.”

As well as being a leading science fiction writer, Bruce Sterling has been involved with numerous projects and written several books of futurist theory. He was the founder of the Dead Media Project, an on-line reliquary, or archive, to forgotten, or dead, media technologies. In this way, he looked to the past through the future, anticipating, almost, in the shininess of new media, its utter destruction for the advent of something else:

“I don’t think there’s much distinction between surveillance and media in general. Better media means better surveillance. Cams are everywhere.

“Once I got my head around this idea that ‘the future’ was bogus, I was able to mess around with a lot of invisible assumptions.”

Bruce Sterling also founded the Viridian Design Movement, an environmental aesthetic movement founded on the ideas of global citizenship, environmental design, and techno-progressiveness. Bruce Sterling’s numerous book-length essays both question and promote how the future is shaping our concepts of self, time, and space. In Shaping Things (2005), he offers a history of shaped objects, moving from the most rudimentary hand-made artifacts through to the complex machinery which defines our current existence. In Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002), Bruce Sterling examines how today’s technologies will affect our future lives.

Written in a wry, intelligent style, Bruce Sterling’s books make bold claims about the future, examining scientists’ use of medicine to extend our lives while at the same time examining our seemingly bottomless thirst for oil. Bruce Sterling’s most acclaimed book, The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier(1993) is a deep history of the birth of cyberspace, following the periphery of the development of technology from the first telephone hackers to the government’s attack on several prominent hackers in 1990.

Bruce Sterling’s novels include: Intuition Ocean (1977), The Artifical Kid (1980), Heavy Weather (1994), Holy Fire (1996), Distraction (1998), Zeitgeist (2000), The Zenith Angle (2004), Kiosk (2007), and most recently The Caryatids (2009). His essay collection and non-fiction books include: The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Order on the Electronic Frontier (1993), Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years (2002), and Shaping Things (2005).

Bruce Sterling has blogged extensively in Beyond the Beyond published by Wired Magazine and has written many articles, including: “Beyond The Beyond Just another WordPress weblog” in Wired (2009); “Fiction: In the Future, Doing Science Is Like Blogging” in Discover (2009); “SoCal DigiCult” inConvergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2009); “Design Fiction” in Interactions (2009); “Hartmut Bitomsky’s Dust” in Art Forum (2008); “Do-Bad Architecture – Assessing the influence of socially responsible architecture” in Architectural record (2008); “Self-Reliance 2008 – Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: The ultimate open-source ultragadget” in The Atlantic monthly (2008); “Dispatches from the Hyperlocal Future – That’s hyperas in linked and local as in location. It’s a new kind of city in which you’re never out of touch and never out of options” in Wired (2007); “Two Short Stories – ‘The Interoperation’” in Technology review: MIT’s magazine of innovation (2007); “Mechanization Spurns Command” in Parkett (2007); “MEDIA Green Fashion” in Art Forum (2006); “Petrol Society – As it All Melts Away – Rising prices could erode the oil base of our consumer society, from plastics to textiles. Some scenarios” in Newsweek (2006); “Design Fiction – Der Science Fiction-Autor hat uber die Zukunft des Design nachgedacht. Ein Auszug aus seinem neuen Buch” in Form (2006); and “Ivory Tower” in Nature(2005).

Finally, Sterling has also released a number of anthologies: Visionary in Residence: Stories (2006), A Good Old-Fashioned Future (1999), Globalhead (1992), Crystal Express (1989), and Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology (1986).

Works

Books

The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things, Sterling, Bruce. The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things. Strelka, 2014. ASIN: B00N7EKIJ4

The Caryatids, Sterling, Bruce. The Caryatids. Del Ray, 2009. ISBN: 0345460626

Visionary in Residence: Stories, Sterling, Bruce. Visionary in Residence: Stories. Running Press, 2006. ISBN: 1560258411

Shaping Things, Sterling, Bruce. Shaping Things. Designed by Lorraine Wild. MIT Press, 2005. ISBN: 026219533X

The Zenith Angle, Sterling, Bruce. The Zenith Angle. Del Ray, 2004. ISBN: 0345460618

Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years, Sterling, Bruce. Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years. Random House, 2002. ISBN: 0679463224

Zeitgeist, Sterling, Bruce. Zeitgeist. Spectra, 2000. ISBN: 0553104934

A Good Old-Fashioned Future, Sterling, Bruce. A Good Old-Fashioned Future. Spectra, 1999. ISBN: 0553576429

Distraction, Sterling, Bruce. Distraction. Bantam Spectra, 1998. ISBN: 0553104845

Holy Fire, Sterling, Bruce. Holy Fire. Spectra, 1996. ISBN: 0553099582

Heavy Weather, Sterling, Bruce. Heavy Weather. Spectra, 1994. ISBN: 0553093932

The Hacker Crackdown, Sterling, Bruce. The Hacker Crackdown. Bantam, 1992. ISBN: 055308058X

Globalhead, Sterling, Bruce. Globalhead. Mark V. Ziesing, 1992. ISBN: 0929480694

The Difference Engine, Sterling, Bruce, and William Gibson. The Difference Engine. Bantam Spectra, 1991. ISBN: 0553070282

Crystal Express, Sterling, Bruce. Crystal Express. Illustrated by Rick Lieder. Arkham House Publishing, 1989. ISBN: 0870541587

Islands in the Net, Sterling, Bruce. Islands in the Net. Arbor House Publishing Company, 1988. ISBN: 0877959528

Schismatrix, Sterling, Bruce. Schismatrix. Arbor House, 1985. ISBN: 0877956456

The Artificial Kid, Sterling, Bruce. The Artificial Kid. Harper & Row, 1980. ISBN: 0060140984

Involution Ocean, Sterling, Bruce. Involution Ocean. Jove, 1977. ASIN: B000OV7G0W

Articles

Beyond The Beyond Just another WordPress weblog

Sterling, Bruce. “Beyond The Beyond Just another WordPress weblog.” Wired, March 28, 2014.

Topolsky in Mirrorshades, or, trying out Google Glass

Sterling, Bruce. “Topolsky in Mirrorshades, or, trying out Google Glass.” Wired,February 22, 2013.

Vintage Tomorrows from Intel and O’Reilly

Sterling, Bruce. “Vintage Tomorrows from Intel and O’Reilly.” Wired, February 15, 2013.

Fiction: In the Future, Doing Science Is Like Blogging

Sterling, Bruce. “Fiction: In the Future, Doing Science Is Like Blogging.” Discover,July/August 2009.

SoCal DigiCult

Sterling, Bruce. “SoCal DigiCult.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies Vol. 15, No. 1 (2009): 9-11.

Design Fiction

Sterling, Bruce. “Design Fiction.” Interactions Vol. 16, No. 3, May/June (2009).

Hartmut Bitomsky’s Dust

Sterling, Bruce. “Hartmut Bitomsky’s Dust.” Art Forum Vol. 47, No. 3 (2008).

Do-Bad Architecture – Assessing the influence of socially responsible architecture

Sterling, Bruce. “Do-Bad Architecture – Assessing the influence of socially responsible architecture.” Architectural record, October 2008: 86.

Self-Reliance 2008 – Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: The ultimate open-source ultragadget

Sterling, Bruce. “Self-Reliance 2008 – Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: The ultimate open-source ultragadget.” The Atlantic monthly, November 2008.

Dispatches from the Hyperlocal Future – That’s hyperas in linked and local as in location. It’s a new kind of city in which you’re never out of touch and never out of options

Sterling, Bruce. “Dispatches from the Hyperlocal Future – That’s hyperas in linked and local as in location. It’s a new kind of city in which you’re never out of touch and never out of options.” Wired, 2007.

Two Short Stories – ‘The Interoperation’

Sterling, Bruce. “Two Short Stories – ‘The Interoperation’.” Technology review: MIT’s magazine of innovation Vol. 110, No. 6 (2007): 60.

Mechanization Spurns Command

Sterling, Bruce. “Mechanization Spurns Command.” Parkett 79 (2007): 92.

MEDIA Green Fashion

Sterling, Bruce. “MEDIA Green Fashion.” Art Forum Vol. 44, No. 10 (2006).

Petrol Society – As it All Melts Away – Rising prices could erode the oil base of our consumer society, from plastics to textiles. Some scenarios

Sterling, Bruce. “Petrol Society – As it All Melts Away – Rising prices could erode the oil base of our consumer society, from plastics to textiles. Some scenarios.” Newsweek, 2006.

Design Fiction – Der Science Fiction-Autor hat uber die Zukunft des Design nachgedacht. Ein Auszug aus seinem neuen Buch

Sterling, Bruce. “Design Fiction – Der Science Fiction-Autor hat uber die Zukunft des Design nachgedacht. Ein Auszug aus seinem neuen Buch.” Form 206 (2006): 66.

Ivory Tower

Sterling, Bruce. “Ivory Tower.” Nature Vol. 434, No. 7034 (2005).

Architecture in Extreme Environments 3. Thailand…. by Bruce Sterling Architecture in Extreme Environments 3. Thailand. Philippe Parreno, Francois Roche. Hybrid Muscle – On a fertile patch of mud in the middle of Thailand, Parreno and Roche created an architectural freak; the author comments

Sterling, Bruce. “Architecture in Extreme Environments 3. Thailand…. by Bruce Sterling Architecture in Extreme Environments 3. Thailand. Philippe Parreno, Francois Roche. Hybrid Muscle – On a fertile patch of mud in the middle of Thailand, Parreno and Roche created an architectural freak; the author comments.” Domus 870 (2004): 42.

The Year of Oil

Sterling, Bruce. “The Year of Oil.” Artforum, December 2004.

Ten Technologies That Deserve To Die – Some technologies are so blatantly obnoxious that the human race would rejoice if they were summarily executed. A humorist and science fiction writer offers some candidates

Sterling, Bruce. “Ten Technologies That Deserve To Die – Some technologies are so blatantly obnoxious that the human race would rejoice if they were summarily executed. A humorist and science fiction writer offers some candidates.” Technology review: MIT’s magazine of innovation 8 (2003): 52.

Peace Is War

Sterling, Bruce. “Peace Is War.” Wired, April 2002.

Hard Times: A Letter from 2035 You had the Depression, irrational exuberance, and Okies. It’s just the same in 2035, except now the Okies have cell phones

Sterling, Bruce. “Hard Times: A Letter from 2035 You had the Depression, irrational exuberance, and Okies. It’s just the same in 2035, except now the Okies have cell phones.” Fortune Vol. 141, No. 5 (2000).

The burning man

Sterling, Bruce. “The burning man.” Ballett international/Tanz aktuell (English Edition), August/September 2000.

Science & Technology – Junk: Learning to Love Obsolescence

Sterling, Bruce. “Science & Technology – Junk: Learning to Love Obsolescence.” News Week 134, No. 26 (1999).

Art and Corruption – The author in Saint Petersburg, on what’s really going on in Russia

Sterling, Bruce. “Art and Corruption – The author in Saint Petersburg, on what’s really going on in Russia.” Wired Vol. 6, No. 1 (1998).

Onstran resničnosti

Sterling, Bruce, and Mitja Zupačič. “Onstran resničnosti.” Življenje in tehnika 49, June (1998).

Mala prodajalna čarovnij,

Sterling, Bruce, Jure Aleksič, and Jakob Klemenčič. “Mala prodajalna čarovnij.” Življenje in tehnika Letn 49, November (1998).

Hardware for Hard Time – Sales are hot for Pneu-Gun Ballistic Batons and pepper foam

Sterling, Bruce. “Hardware for Hard Time – Sales are hot for Pneu-Gun Ballistic Batons and pepper foam.” Wired Vol. 6, No. 11 (1998).

Computer Graphics Are Brittle

Sterling, Bruce. “Computer Graphics Are Brittle.” Computer graphics Vol. 31, No. 1 (1997).

The digital revolution in retrospect

Sterling, Bruce. “The digital revolution in retrospect.” Communications of the ACMVol. 40, No. 2, February (1997).

Greetings From Burning Man

Sterling, Bruce. “Greetings From Burning Man.” Wired Vol. 4, No. 11 (1996).

Bruce Sterling’s Idea of What Every Well-Appointed ‘Cyberpunk SF’ Library Collection Should Possess

Sterling, Bruce. “Bruce Sterling’s Idea of What Every Well-Appointed ‘Cyberpunk SF’ Library Collection Should Possess.” Well, August 1996.

The Future You Don’t Want to Know

Sterling, Bruce. “The Future You Don’t Want to Know.” Wired Vol. 3, No. 11 (1995).

Predgovor k “Odsevnikom

Sterling, Bruce, and Nataša Hrastnik. “Predgovor k “Odsevnikom.” Literatura 6 Vol. 36 No. 37 (1994).

Keynote Address

Sterling, Bruce. “Keynote Address.” EFF-Austin online newsletter, _WORD_. Issue 9, September (1993).

War is Hell

Sterling, Bruce. “War is Hell.” Wired Vol. 1 No. 1 (1993).

Gurps Labor Lost

Sterling, Bruce. “Gurps Labor Lost.” EFF, 1991.

20 Evocations

Sterling, Bruce. “20 Evocations.” Mississippi Review Vol. 16, No. 2/3 (1988).

Interviews

INTERVIEW: BRUCE STERLING on Caryatids, Viridian and the death of print

Sterling, Bruce and Paul Raven. “INTERVIEW: BRUCE STERLING on Caryatids, Viridian and the death of print.” Futurismic, Novmber 2, 2009.

Life, The Internet, and Everything

Sterling, Bruce. “Life, The Internet, and Everything.” KEStudies 2 ( 2008).

Interview

Sterling, Bruce. “Interview.” DesignBoom, March 2008.

Cybergreen: Bruce Sterling on media, design, fiction, and the future

Sterling, Bruce, and Mike Godwin. “Cybergreen: Bruce Sterling on media, design, fiction, and the future.” Reason, January 2004.

Articles

The Interview

Sterling, Bruce. “The Interview.” SlashDot, October 8, 1999.

Lectures

Bruce Sterling

Historical Narrative, Futurism and Emergent Network Culture

20.04.2010
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 11/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 10/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 9/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 8/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 7/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 6/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 5/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 4/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 3/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 2/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Atemporality & The Passage of Time 1/11

14.10.2009
Bruce Sterling

Impact and Sustainability of Technology 5/5

06.04.2006
Bruce Sterling

Impact and Sustainability of Technology 4/5

06.04.2006
Bruce Sterling

Impact and Sustainability of Technology 3/5

06.04.2006
Bruce Sterling

Impact and Sustainability of Technology 2/5

06.04.2006
Bruce Sterling

Impact and Sustainability of Technology 1/5

06.04.2006