[image description: A punk with a reddish blond mohawk, wraparound shades, a pendant earring in the shape of silver wolf’s head, a tight choker, and a prison tattoo of a bat in a spider-web flexes his left arm, showcasing his mechanical wrist and fist. A full moon hangs low over the giant Zaibatsu HQ and lights the low fog beneath the bridge that runs horizontally through the scene. Text reads, “215, FASTEDDIE, small god of CYBERPUNK.”]
• • • • •
This is the technofuturistic hellscape he promised us. We just didn’t want to listen. We thought we could have the neon and the chrome and the aesthetic, and still keep having those fragile, communally agreed-upon things we like to convince ourselves are inalienable human rights, as if the state of being human somehow made us immune to the abuses of the world at large and our kind at small. We thought we could have the flash and the cash without the burn and the slash, and that’s on us, that’s on us all the way to the biomechanical bone, because Fast Eddie never lied to us.
Fast Eddie said “hey see this shiny chrome shell, it’s here to cover up the rotting flesh and putrefying soul beneath,” and we heard, “look how cool this is, look how stylish, look how easy it would be to hide your sins beneath a gleaming mirror, reflecting your critics back upon themselves.” Fast Eddie said, “look how the race to commodify and exploit everything will inevitably erode our souls and make us numb to the tears of those around us, making us the architects of our own dehumanization,” and we heard “money good, power better, neon best.”
It isn’t Eddie’s fault that we, by and large, refused to listen.
He told us a cautionary tale, and he forgot that humans will always be attracted to that which sparkles and shines. He promised us a future. He just didn’t promise, if we followed him, that it would be a good one.
Lu Topia offered us something better, but we told her she was “childish” and “outdated” and “boring,” and now look where we are. When the sky’s on fire and ocean’s gone, at least we can say that we looked cool from the cradle to the grave.
At least we can say that Eddie was proud of us.
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Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: