‘Straight, Gay, or Binary?’ by Mark Dery

In the Orr interview, Ballard said that the future would be “sex times technology”. Mark Dery is one of the most consistently fascinating writers ploughing (excuse me) that Ballardian furrow today, and it’s a great shame he is not more widely celebrated. A number of his essays looking at the libidinal aspects of modern technology and culture could have been included here, not least ‘Slashing the Borg’, which looks at the people who find Star Trek’s hiveminded cyborgs sexy. But ‘Straight, Gay, or Binary?’ stands out as a queer history of computing embedded in the answer of an outwardly trivial question: is HAL 9000 gay?

In I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, Minneapolis University Press, 2012

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