Machete Girl, The Proxy War – Novel

The first in the series of the Hacker Chronicles launches 2022!

The highly anticipated series by Sara Elizabeth Joyce set in a future of political upheaval and rampant technological change.

Chloe is a trillionaire hacker in the future who cares little for the deteriorating political situation around the world until she comes face to face with the nuclear destruction of Juliaca Mega City. Relocating to Tokyo for her own safety as the proxy war begins in Peru, she uses her inherited nanomite technology to project herself onto the battlefield, helping a group of mercenaries bring an end to the virtual wars and expose which governments are manipulating the system.

The GITS SAC Journey Part 1 – by Sara Rael

Ghost in the Shell has been around in one form or another since 1989 and known as known in Japan as Mobile Armored Riot Police The most impressive part of which is the first two Stand Alone Complex Series that has tormented our imaginations of a cyber brain future. In this article I’m gonna focus in on these two “GIG’s” and why I cannot take the GITS Universe seriously post the live action movie and atrocious animation produced by Netflix.

Stand Alone Complex, in the series, is a form of copycat behaviour when the originator only exists by rumour or urban legend. That behaviour, such as a particular form of cyberbrain crime, is copied and copied until the first copycat is seen as the originator.

(Note for this article we are just focusing on the GITS SAC series but there is so much more to this world from the Manga, to Arise, the the shorts/ specials/ OVA’s, to the films… and does include spoilers as well as opinions. I’ve never watched the series in English and never intend to. Other GITS SAC purists will hopefully understand).

There is something about this series isn’t there? Whether it be the way the Major sucks you in to her rich e-sexual complex cyberpunk and cybernetic dystopia, or it be the sweet Russian voice of Origa, or the shenanigans of the Tachikoma… one thing people often overlook is the fact that she is a cop (with her tight lip-licking swimsuit and yoga pants), who brings down cyber-criminals or other cyberpunks like you and me, and apart from her outward and often distracting appearance, she is a military woman through and through carrying out missions that would lesser cops lying dead in the back streets of a burnt out Neo Tokyo.

Japan at this point is a superpower, much more so than the former United States, and with that power comes the responsibilities of Section 9, a secret organisation that almost everyone in law enforcement knows about, and the missions that are too difficult for anyone else take on.

Major Motoko Kusanagi herself is highly intelligent, creative, snarky and funny, attributes that seem to have been missed in the live action film. As much as her other skills allow, she uses her sexual prowess to gain favour of men where in the future she still lives in a very misogynistic Japan, although she is superior in almost every way, her ability to fit in to this society is yet another skill, while behind closed doors she prefers the company of her female sexual partners, no doubt a brave yet subtle route to take for a popular Japanese Anime. Most of the men who follow her in Section 9, simply just know not to fuck with her, unfortunately most others just don’t seem to be all that intelligent. Until we come to the Stand Alone Complex actors who still leave a digital footprint for her team to follow.

One of my favourite moments of the series is when Motoko joins in to meet hackers in a virtual environment all trying to solve the case of the Laughing Man, it’s a great indicator of what a group of hackers might look like now in a virtual environment (Though of course at the time of the anime the technology was nowhere near this level).

To be continued in part 2 desu.

cyberpunkdreams Exclusive beta test review – by Sara Rael

In the early to mid 2000’s there were a few text based cyberpunk RPG browser games hitting the internet and one in particular which I remember was quite brutal, where you’d ride your bike into the city, starting gang wars, hacking and taking copious amounts of drugs to survive the hellish dystopia. The downside was that the browser based mechanics of the game never worked too well and there was a lot of repetitive action. And then all those games just seemed to disappear in favour of more FPS.

But now there’s a much better game with a much better platform on steam…

Enter cyberpunkdreams from “Late Night Games” a start-up games studio based in Cambridge, UK. With a whole new cyberpunk text based RPG in a futuristic dystopian border-town on the edges of Cincinnati in the 2090’s and this one has got me hella excited. With the main game currently in beta-testing phase, which you can still sign up for via: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/, there’s also an aggressive board game in the works called “City Streets” set in the cyberpunkdreams Universe as well as a book called “Cincinnati Stories”- by Rob Chant, and some cool merch up for grabs as well!

Currently there’s a discord channel with info on the beta as well as some detailed game mechanics and if you manage to get into the beta, i highly recommend you check that out first. I’m kind of a fuck-it-i’ll-read-the-instructions-later-type-gal and i have regretted it, but i was just so darn excited to see a game of this nature again so i went straight into fighting, drinking, fucking, taking drugs and trying to steal shit with very little luck. One of the coolest aspects in the start is you can choose your gender or choose not to say which was just rad for someone like me if you are familiar with my history.

I’m still at a stage where i’m trying to figure out how to keep my psychosis and physical injury levels down, but one of the tips i received in playing the game is to try and get away with some of the more difficult tasks in game and the game encourages you to have little regard for others and be as nasty as you want to be.

Finally, a game that embraces the cyberpunk attitude!

There’s a massive amount of work that has gone into story line and while you are getting your levels up you can choose to read the story-line or just be a fuckwit and gungho it. Basically you start off in the border-town and you’ve got to build up your experience and tools and cold hard cash to get yourself deeper into Cincinnati, along the way buying and selling items and opening up more and more aspect of the game. Personally i love flirting, getting into fights and raiding the bodies of murdered couples out in the desert, but that’s just me.

One of the aspects of the game so far that really stands out, apart from the game mechanics and content, is the incredible artwork some of which you can see below:

As the game develops further we will keep you appraised. I’m so impressed with the game so far that we’ve even talked about Machete Girl Magazine potentially becoming an in-game item to buy, which is more incentive for fans of the magazine to get into it.

In the meantime i’m definitely gonna get me some Merch from here: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/shop/

Don’t forget to sign up for the Beta here: https://cyberpunkdreams.com/

Angelspit – Bang Operative – Interview with Zoog Von Rock

By Sara Rael…

Angelspit opens their latest album with a smack to the face with the track Stims. True to form till the synthwave blast hits you and you fall apart like leaves for the nostalgic references to late 70’s to early 80’s synth age. Superimposed over the synths are dulling vocals that elicit visions of a decrepit streetlife, one you thought you’d be living in 1999 with your green screen hacking device and ocular implants.

We took a moment to speak with Zoog Von Rock and old friend of Machete Girl Magazine.

Sara: Great to see you mate and great to have you back in the Magazine. I checked it was Issue 8.2 where we last had a poster of you which was six years ago. Fill us in on some of the changes the band has gone through since we last saw yaz?

Zoog: Thank you Sara, it’s great to have Machete Girl up and running again!

The last 6 years have been a lot of fun!

Angelspit released 4 full length albums, 3 remix albums, co-wrote an album with The Gothsicles, co-wrote and produced albums for Lorelei Dreaming, May May Graves and Miss Ballistic. We also had 2 national USA tours, plus I moved to Chicago, then to LA, and got married…!

Sara: Thank you so much for the latest trode distortion, I listened to Bang Operative and its fucken excellent work. There’s also some unexpected moments. I was banging along to Advertised Lie and about a third of the way through, I found myself bursting out with laughter. I think if you can evoke such a range of nostalgia, enjoyment and emotion you’re on the right track. Honestly, I’m blown away by it. What was the mega intelligence behind this insanely good album?

Zoog: Thank you – I am honoured you like it!

I drew musical influence from a very inspiring time – 1978 to 1981, it was a very important time in the development of electronic music.

Living in LA was a huge influence which made its way into the music, instrumentation and lyrics. LA feels very futuristic – it evokes images of flying cars and massive dystopian synthesizers.

Sara: Originally you guys were from Oz and now you call LA home and have a new band member who joined in 2019, can you tell us about some of the changes in the band and how this has affected the music? I can see that music still has the in your face quality which is something, I love and fits right into the cyberpunk world, but there seems to be so much more involved in this than in earlier albums I’ve heard.

Zoog: Cherry Bligh is an English vocalist with an electro lash/metal background. She’s got a great voice and we are both coming from the same place – musically and politically.

We’ve talked at length about the state of the world – these conversations have been weaved into the lyrics. Cherry appears on Bang Operative, and will be featured much more on the coming albums…which are becoming heavier, faster, harder, darker.

Sara: You mentioned ’78’ to ’81’ I recall this was around the time I had my first 8 track, one was from Twisted Sister (I got to meet Dee Snider last year which is the only reason i mention that). What specific influences are you talking about and have you had a chance to interact with any of them/ it?

Zoog: 1978 to 1981 was a golden time for the music industry and for music technology – these two elements fed each other in a way that changed the direction of music.

In the late 70s, labels did not know what was coming next. Disco fizzled out, Punk did not become the financial boom that was expected…so there was no marketing direction.

…meanwhile young musicians where selling their guitars and buying synthesizers – which where becoming increasingly affordable. Synth-driven bands were appearing in clubs, which grew a new audience, which supported new record labels, which got the new “synthwave” music on the radio, which attracted more fans and major label interest…so the original synthwave movement exploded, and became the new punk music the industry was looking for.

There were no “genre rules”, no labels pushing bands in tried-and-true directions. The fashion was equally experimental. It was a great time of invention. The innovative spirit of the original Synthwave movement was a key inspiration to Bang Operative – no rules, just a new frontier and the risk needed to explore it.

…which is unfortunately completely different to the current synthwave movement

Which seems to be bound to strict genre rules, neon lights and 80s vector graphics of skylines, grids and palm trees.

“Delicious Delicious, my how boring” Liquid Sky

Sara: One of the things that I find in this cyberpunk dystopia we are living in is that it doesn’t measure up to the fantasy that we had in the 80’s of “hover cars” and other predictions where cyborgs and autonomous artificial lifeforms are a reality. I know as a magazine, we try to carve out our own meaning of cyberpunk and dystopia. Is that something similar to what you do with the music because your sound is very unique?

Zoog: Cyberpunk is everywhere. It has become a necessary lifestyle enforcement. No chip implants or freedom of information, just more rigid corporate control. If you are not addicted…err connected, you do not exist.

Your news feed is determined by an algorithm. Your dating, friendship and socialising choices are determined by another algorithm. Heaven forbid you make conversations with someone outside your digitally induced echo chamber…you may actually learn a different perspective.

Conversations revolve around memes and terminology determined by “all the internets”. In the early 90s the Internet was like the Wild West, but with more tacky animated buttons (thanks Andy!). But now it’s safe drivel which is pushed to you from “trusted sources”. Google, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook…”don’t be evil” my arse…I think the Internet needs a high octane injection of evil, delivered by the masses who are bored, disillusioned and distracted.

It’s turning us into The Matrix, but there is not Neo to save us. Just turn it off. Make your art, create your magazine, blast your music into the cybersphere. Don’t let apathy kill us. ANGELSPIT is a violent reaction to the great weapon of mass distraction. Get informed. Get motivated. Vote.

Sara:Tell us more about the cyberpunk influences of LA.

Zoog: LA is visually inspiring when shrouded in smog…especially at night. It suggests huge bulky sounds. Watching the endless rivers of traffic seep through the city like molten lava, filled with people who are (most likely) unhappy with their situation. These things suggest lyrics. I find LA a cold city – it’s difficult to make a connection with people here. The loneliness and desire to escape has been the biggest influence.

Sara: In the world of blatant social media insanity, online speed dating and fucking memes, what are your tactics for pulling in a crowd at a gig when people want to stay at home and play with their trodes?

Zoog: I am bringing the gigs into their homes. ANGELSPIT has launched a TWITCH channel, and this year we start streaming live shows – from our studio. The cool thing about this is I can use the synths live, I could not do this on tour because they are too big, heavy and expensive to lug around (it takes me 3 weeks to patch the entire studio together!).

This new approach allows me to experiment and try something different, and share it live. twitch.tv/angelspitmusic/

Sara: Are we expecting to see some more rad cyberpunk looking video in the near future?

Zoog: I am currently cutting a video for STIMS -it’s glitchy, abstract and weird. I am hoping to release it soon. I am working with The Liar – who created a distortion pedal that distorts old style tube TVs instead of a guitar – it’s INSANE! It’s wonderful to SEE distortion and hear it. Distortion creates new vibrant saturated Columbus – as sharp as razors and gritty as sand poured in your eyes…I love it!

Sara: Is there anything else that you haven’t told anyone else that you want fans of Machete Girl to hear?

Zoog: We are using our Patreon as a platform to test and refine new tracks – which are becoming harder, darker more cyberpunk. Patreon is cool because it allows me to interact more closely with ANGELSPIT supporters. I am getting comments and ideas about the tracks as I release them – which is awesome because people are helping me shape the tracks.

We are also releasing videos to help you make your art happen – exploring production, synthesis, marketing and also looking at depression and other topics that effect artists. It feels good to make music that descends into hell.

Help us make more magazines, webisodes and articles by supporting us on Patreon or buy our cyber brains a coffee!

Cyberpunk Clothing – Part II – by Sara Rael

As a follow up to my article in Neon Dystopia which you can see from here:

http://www.neondystopia.com/cyberpunk-fashion-lifestyle/get-cyberpunk-clothing/

I thought it might be awesome to come back to it five years later and see what changes there have been, what new wearable tech is out there and if society has adopted cyberpunk clothing at all… the good short answer is a resounding YES!

While wearable technology is still something that isn’t mainstream, there are at least more examples and better technology woven into threads these days.

Lets start with the companies that posted comments on my article that are still around and aren’t completely non cyberpunk.

Crisiswear, one of the earliest contributors to this magazine’s photoshoots, is still around and kicking it hard. With clothes for the modern day subversive. They don’t skimp on detail either. You could imagine yourself walking around Night City in their gear and not look out of place. Personally, the more i see people wearing crisiswear gear the more interesting the society. For their awesome shit go here: crisiswear.com/

Y3 have gone into some next level “Inspired by homelessness” design shit. Capturing what i think to be the sadness of the Millennial Generation. If i were homeless on the streets of Tokyo, i feel like this is what i would want to wear. Obviously it would be far from affordable, maybe the government can subsidise this clothing as the uniform for homeless neon city dwellers? y-3

If you are a fan of Dune, you’ll love this shit. Demoboza have some very interesting urban and desert dystopian gear. All very high fashion, of course. You’re more likely to see this kind of wear at an exclusive fashion event rather that on the streets where those people spit on us down below. Still who doesn’t want to look good in this gear? demobaza.com

New Stylish are still around and have some interesting pieces for men. It’s good actually to see them come a long way with more variety and more grunt for your extreme street cyberpunk presence to be felt by scared little trodeless grey humanoids. Check out their stuff here: newstylish.com/

If you’re looking for something more survivorware based, then PSYLO look pretty good for all things Burning Man or just for wearing on the streets of Byron Bay. psylofashion.com/

Read the full article with wearable technology from the Full Edition from here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/34569180

Help us make more magazines, webisodes and articles by supporting us on Patreon or buy our cyber brains a coffee!