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Timothy Leary

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Author, researcher, and psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary could have added another title to his name: creator of an amazing, incredibly weird take on William Gibson's Neuromancer showcased by Wired. Since acquiring Leary's archives in mid-2011, the New York Public Library has been uncovering and publishing details about Leary's work, including fragments of Leary's plans for scrapped computer games. In 1985, he helped develop and publish Mind Mirror, a psychoanalytic game that let players build and role-play personalities — Electronic Arts, which put out the title, reportedly sold 65,000 copies in the two years after release. But according to material that the library released to researchers last week, he also had far more ambitious plans.

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Cyberpunk, in the popular consciousness, conjures a glut of dissociated images: Blade Runner’s slummy urban landscape, hackers in sunglasses, Japanese cyborgs, grubby tech, digital intoxication, Keanu Reeves as Johnny Mnemonic. But it began as an insanely niche subculture within science fiction, one which articulated young writerly distaste for the historically utopian optimism of the medium and, in turn, provided an aesthetic reference point for burgeoning hacker culture, before metastasizing into a full-on cultural trend.

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