Disneyland with the Death Penalty

We sent William Gibson to Singapore to see whether that clean dystopia represents our techno future.
  1. "It's like an entire country run by Jeffrey Katzenberg," the producer had said, "under the motto 'Be happy or I'll kill you.'" We were sitting in an office a block from Rodeo Drive, on large black furniture leased with Japanese venture capital.

    Now that I'm actually here, the Disneyland metaphor is proving impossible to shake. For that matter, Rodeo Drive comes frequently to mind, though the local equivalent feels more like 30 or 40 Beverly Centers put end to end.

    Was it Laurie Anderson who said that VR would never look real until they learned how to put some dirt in it? Singapore's airport, the Changi Airtropolis, seemed to possess no more resolution than some early VPL world. There was no dirt whatsoever; no muss, no furred fractal edge to things. Outside, the organic, florid as ever in the tropics, had been gardened into brilliant green, and all-too-perfect examples of itself. Only the clouds were feathered with chaos - weird columnar structures towering above the Strait of Ch...

The complete text of “Disneyland with the Death Penalty” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.wired.com.

Originally published in Wired, September 1993

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