The Cheap Truth
I first discovered this last year while on a long trawl through Wikipedia. My discovery of this ancient newsletter is possible vindication of my addiction to that bloody website. This newsletter is called Cheap Truth and it was edited by Vincent Omniaveritas (Bruce Sterling) in the early to mid 1980s.
The purpose of Cheap Truth was to act as the place for a group of writers who called themselves “the Movement” to write with a militant and highly critical tone about what they perceived to be the dire state of most science fiction and fantasy being published at the time.
In doing this, it helped to define Cyberpunk. A style that Ectomo has covered before, and that fills contemporary books, comic, fashion, film and video games in far too many examples to even begin list here.
Cheap Truth writers always wrote under pseudonyms, and the contents were never copyrighted; it was handed out for free to whoever wanted it on a single sheet of paper printed on both sides at conventions or by post; there are lots of lists of then contemporary things to pay attention to; there are heavily bias rants which make no attempt at being in anyway balanced. It is, if you like, a good example example of blogging before blogging.
As I’ve said, I love Cheap Truth. I love how insightful it is seeing the thoughts of the authors, who were then young angry writers and are now the old men, developed. I adore the aggressive and angry tone that permeates the text. I especially enjoy the vicious humor.
At the same time I hate how relevant these newsletters from a now distant past still feel. How it reminds me that the more things change, often, the more they stay the same, because the contemporary state of science fiction still feels generally pretty bloody awful. But then I hate feeling nostalgic.
There is also an essay by Bruce Sterling called “Cyberpunk in the Nineties” which is a sobering assessment of the impact that Cheap Truth and cyberpunk had. But read that after you’ve gone here and gorged on the Cheap Truth for a few wonderful hours.