Dang Glengtasm, Aborted Hero of the Cyberphunk
Among the emerging genres of the late 1990s was so-called “Cyberphunk,”
a marriage of William Gibson, John le Carré, and Shaft.
Bean Newton, after a chance meeting on The Well with some of the genre's
co-founders, began his own attempts, centered around the exploits of
bassist and secret agent Dang Glengtasm.
Brought to you here without further comment are the two extant fragments,
retrieved from 5 ¼ inch floppy discs through the monumental efforts
of the Purewater University IT department.
Dang Glengtasm fired his retro-rockets and slowly descended to the
valley floor. A river of ammonia flowed between crystals grown into
flooded since I was here last," Dang muttered to himself, manipulating
the controls to assure proper engine shut down.
his EVA suit and waltzed across the valley's powdery surface.
In the distance glared the
lights of New York City.
In the distance glared the
lights of New York. Dang was on vacation, deciding to visit some friends
in the city—the only city that mattered, the only city that ever
mattered. A tiny mechanical wiper squeaked across the faceplate of the
suit, removing the dewy formations of sulfur-Dilaudid and hypochondriac
acid. It was somewhat good to be home.
through town, he thought, would do him good. Normally he piloted a big
freighter into to NYC, bringing flesh produce back down to the crustal
colonies. Had the sensors on his suit been working, he could have heard
the keening of wind that eroded the rocks and garbage that lined what
used to be the Hudson. But he didn't: like most things and people, his
sensors didn't work—probably never had.
funny, now, to think of this place as once inhabitable. Dang tried not
to: it was silly, really, to clutter the mind with all that organic
schmutz, all that mess and biohazard.
It was better,
now, the way it is.
along the valley until he found an old sewer pipe, thankfully dry now,
and clambered in.
this way, he felt like such a tourist.
as all places that had survived on the crust, was just a series of interconnected
buildings sealed off from the outside through various continually failing
ad hoc techniques: plastic, metal (though this kept corroding), various
resins and ceramics and glues. Domes as the past had envisioned proved
impractical and expensive. But mostly, they were ideologically impure,
requiring a sort of collective effort anathema to the American Way of
Life codified on the forearms of every schoolboy anywhere that mattered.
himself, after a few miles, in the airlock beyond which glowed the reception
desk of Customs and Codes, the chronically understaffed and generally
humorless city agency tasked with the impossible job of controlling
what flows to and from the city proper.
equalized. He stepped inside.
Dang Glengtasm scratched the growth on the back of his neck
as he greeted the pert, young receptionist at the check-in desk.
She went through the routine questions:
"Any unauthorized foodstuffs, biomass, fruit, vegetables, zooplankton?"
"Not this time," Dang answered.
"Any knives, firearms, chemical repellants, used douchebags, explosive
"Just my .44. License number 337320120," Dang averred.
The receptionist tapped her pert, red fingernails on the keyboard of
the ancient Compaq.
Its hard disk sputtered and whanged.
"Oh, yes, sir—I've got it right here." She paused and
glanced over her smart and fashionable little half-glasses and into
the screen for a moment. Her eyelashes glanced briefly off the spectacles'
"Any illegal narcotics, barbiturates, stimulants, hallucinogens?"
Now, the over-the-glasses glance included Dang.
Dang stiffened, slightly and pulled in his gut.
"Nope," he replied, and went back to scratching his growth.
"Any unlicensed entertainments: newspapers, webzines, newsmagazines,
philistines, pornographies, movies on VHS or DVD? Anything containing
sexual conduct, smoking, drug use, liberalism, or polytheism?"
"No, but I'd sure like to get my hands on some," Dang grinned
The pert etc. etc. glared, bristly and sullenly dark.
"Only kidding . . . " Dang apologized, blowing off the coy.
"Very well, sir. You're all checked in. Enjoy your stay in New
Pert unfuming receptionist waved Dang by.