When Hiro first saw this place, ten years ago, the monorail hadn’t been written yet; he and his buddies had to write car and motorcycle software in order to get around. They would take their software out and race it on the black desert of the electronic night.
— Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
You could almost taste the pixels being spit out like greasy gravel when the wheels spun on digital asphalt
entire TLDs went into freefall
— Mike Hearn, “Modern anti-spam and E2E crypto”
[B]its and pieces of the world started disappearing. The environment began to disintegrate. The texture on the trees flickered. And all the people froze and blinked out of existence.
And then, the world ended.
— 99% Invisible, “Game Over”
i would watch a film festival that's exclusively videos people quietly wandering around MMORPGs in the final moments before their servers are shut down
Thus shall you think of this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.
— The Diamond Sutra
even the cloud is built on material architecture which can decay
— Harry Josephine Giles, “Some Strategies of Bot Poetics”
Sometimes we get stuck in our own little world. And then in that world, we make even littler worlds. And sometimes there are tunnels between those worlds. Or a subway. One time a snake…
— Community (S3 E07 Studies In Modern Movement)
But even as I recall the phone lines, dial-up fees, and clacking keyboards that prop up my online experience, I can't erase the eerie sense that even now some ancient page of prophecy, penned in a crabbed and shaky hand, is being fulfilled in silicon. And then I hit @quit, and disappear into thin electronic air.
— Erik Davis, “Technopagans”. Wired, July 1995.