The bleeding obvious

A banal observation it might be, but The Matrix owes a great deal to cyberpunk author William Gibson. Apart from obvious references such as the title of the movie, the ridiculous names of the characters, the AI and VR concepts, there are a few references that might be interesting to the the uninitiated eg. the blue and red pills Morpheus offers Neo are similar to the famous attitudinals which c-punk characters pop all the time to enhance their perception or pleasure. And when Neo and his hacker crew jack into the matrix, they use the euphemism "storming the reality studio" - the title to Larry McCaffrey's cyberpunk anthology and a popular catchphrase in early cyberpunk literature (though very passe now).

And although I'm flogging a dead horse here, what follows is a verbatim copy of the synopsis to Gibson's Count Zero, first published in 1986 as a follow-up to Neuromancer. See how many elements you can identify in the Wachowski's Matrix.

Hallucination by Consensus

When the Angels pulled Count Zero out of the matrix there wasn't much left of him. The centipede did a good job on his face though - and now Two-a-Day was going to let him in on the really big stuff...

Turner woke up in a new body with a beautiful woman beside him. They let him recuperate for a while in Mexico, then Hosaka reactivated his memory for the most dangerous mission of all: to make Mitchell defect from Maas Biolabs...

It seemed that the rich had long ceased to be recognisably human. Like Virek, whose body was suspended in a vat somewhere while his hologram told Marly that he wanted her to find some Art Works for him. And that she was on the payroll for life...

In the matrix of cyberspace - where zaibatsus fought it out for world domination and the computer jocks risked their minds scuffling for fat crumbs - the lives of three human beings were inextricably scrambled.

eugene chew
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