Patterns Essay - Critical Essays

Patricia Oren Kearney


The general concern with the media in these stories indicates an author of the cyberpunk generation. The club competitiveness of “Pretty Boy Crossover” is purely of the late twentieth century with its possibility of restating a person as data. Rudy Rucker’s Software (1982) introduced this concept.

Even a story such as “My Brother’s Keeper,” which is explicitly comparable to the film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), a classic pro-McCarthy piece of paranoia, reverts to apolitical paranoia by making addicts the center of depredation. Typically, the “druggies” are not demonized, being more victim than the rest of the population.

Even the stories that avoid specific vampire references are concerned with a similar level of invasion and response. The experiences of the protagonists in “Roadside Rescue” and “Two” are most easily paralleled in normal life by rape (or enforced prostitution) and rape repelled. Violation is of the mind rather than of the body.

Many of the stories, such as “Two,” concern female responses to a male-dominated situation. “Heal” concerns an exploitative faith healer. His failure to justify his hype is fatal; for once, his type is called to account. “Rock On” also concerns a rapacious exploitation, with the exploited woman being able to strike back because she has the talent to do so. In “It Was the Heat,” the steamy climate and the erotic atmosphere of...

(The entire section is 446 words.)