“Cyberia XI” was a mammoth undertaking, inspired and spawned by volumnous .mp3 downloads through certain channels of questionable legalities — regardless of the RIAA’s efforts to curb creativity and the spread of new ideas, approaches, styles, and musical directions. This edition could very well have been subtitled “Against The Odds” on account of the additional personal challenges and stress that had unexpectedly reared their ugly heads during the period of its creation. It may have also been called “Monster” as a result of the 60-track beast it grew into.
Blurb: “Even more grotesque, disorienting, and cyber-extreme is the work of Bill Sienkiewicz, whose ‘Stray Toasters’ series epitomizes the darkest side of the cyberpunk comic style. The story — a mystery about a boy who, we learn, has been made part machine — is depicted in a multimedia comic-book style, with frames that include photographs of nails, plastic, fringe, packing bubbles, toaster parts, leather, Band-Aids, and blood. This world of sadomasochism, crime, torture, and corruption makes ‘Neuromancer’ seem bright by comparison. There is very little logic to the behaviors and storyline here — it’s almost as if straying from the nightmarish randomness of events and emotions would sacrifice the nonlinear consistency. In essence, Stray Toasters is a world of textures, where the soft, hard, organic, and electronic make up a kind of dreamscape through which both the characters and the readers are moved about at random. As Bruce Sterling would no doubt agree, an accidental or even an intentional electrocution could come at any turn of a page.”
Indeed, much of the new territory that was introduced with “Cyberia Four” had since Y2k become regular and standard features: 80-minute media, specific themes, ripped DVD Audio, embedded .mp3s, true mash-ups, and unlisted tracks!
Originally written September 1st, 2003. Revised and updated March 2015. See background story here.