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Ten New Metaphors for Cyberspace
by Cat Rambo
An attempt to move beyond the standard images of cyberspace.

Science Fiction, 4 pages.
Originally Published in Abyss & Apex, 2007

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1.† My Grandmotherís Kitchen

Databases hang like commemorative plates on the HTML wall, advertisement gilt gleaming on their edges except for the General Patton limited edition, which holds a gunmetal trim of spiky security.† Search engines purr like appliances, popping up results while a dishwasher chugs in censorship, scrubbing its links clean of revolutionary references.† Underfoot, carpet flickers, old e-mail messages woven into the warp and weft of its threads, scattered with cookie crumbs.† Every week thereís garbage collection, hexagonal bins full of old files wheeled to the curb, ready to be collected.

2.† The Garden of Eden

Infomercial butterflies flutter here and there, obscuring knowledge or distorting it through the stained glass shimmer of their wings.† Applets dangle from the trees and there are animals everywhere, rabbits quick as web-services and lions protecting copyrights, birds weaving nests of random statistics.† Somewhere in the verdant, glassy grass an ASP slithers like a virus, whispering forbidden, encrypted words.

3.† A Crazy Quilt

Embroideries of data links elaborate each patch, signaling its access type with their pattern, cross-stitch for unimpeded access near French knots of one-time passwords.† The fabric tells the access fee, public denims and burlap against slicker subsidized sites made of mercerized cotton or flashy R-rated satin.

Punch through the folds to the infrastructure built of bed linens, layers of uncountable threads, a wooly blanket of processes scratchy to the touch.

4.† Minklerís Hardware Store, ca. 1980

Here in this room, high ceilinged and sporting a fan whispering daily headlines as it spins above the clerk named Archie, the minutiae are kept, shining bolts and nuts and washers and nails and screws in tiny partitioned drawers.† The system jolts with a databaseís corruption, and silvery data spills in a spray across the wood-grained floor, whose whorls and burls tell the story of the Netís history.

5.† A Flaming Cave

Flickers of every color, great leaping pyres and half seen s -- [End of Preview.]