EXPLORING THE MATRIX: Visions of the Cyber Future

Karen Haber, Editor . St. Martin's $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-31358-6

Larry and Andy Wachowski scored big in 1999 with The Matrix, a science-fiction film in which cyber-rebels discover the world is an artificial computer-generated construct. Beneath the film's airborne martial arts were philosophical underpinnings, and the thriller's huge success prompted piles of merchandise, animated shorts, magazines, Web sites and books. Now a new wave begins, timed to coincide with the May 15 release of The Matrix Reloaded, the second feature in the series. This anthology covers the film's concepts and themes. Haber, a veteran sci-fi and fantasy editor, assembles an array of original essays by 17 science-fiction authors and digital artists, including Alan Dean Foster, Joe Haldeman, Bruce Sterling and Ian Watson. John Shirley (Black Butterflies), insightfully explores what he defines as a new cinema movement of "films questioning reality" as he compares The Matrix with American Beauty, Fight Club and the enigmas embedded in Mulholland Drive. Shirley sees allegories amid adolescent imagery, while nanotech novelist Kathleen Ann Goonan finds the Zen within. David Brin traces fiction's "suspicion of authority"; writer-illustrator Dean Motter tours The Matrix's kinetic architecture; and Kevin J. Anderson examines the Columbine connection. Philip K. Dick and cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson both get many mentions throughout this compelling collection, yet Gibson is regrettably absent as a contributor. Displaying 20 imaginative b&w illustrations by Robert Zohrab and Darrel Anderson, these potent pages conclude with a six-page section of author profiles. (May 1)

Forecast:Online promotions, print ads, national print publicity and the forthcoming release of The Matrix Reloaded will undoubtedly culminate in strong sales.

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-31359-3
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7434-7502-0
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