THE CITY, NOT LONG AFTER is an apocalyptic story of San Francisco with cross-over worlds of the spirit and cyberpunk art. One of those novels that keeps you going until the last page, a few quotes of ideas underlying the narrative give us more substance than most genre fiction:
"When you make something beautiful, you change. You put something into the thing you make. You're a different person when you're done."
"While you change yourself, you change the world. Make it more your own."
"Do you know how to tell if a work is art?"
"True art changes the artist. The artist puts something into the work and he changes. That's how you tell."
(Change Quotes Collection)
Watching the William Gibson documentary after reading this novel reinforced the aptness of the word "cyberpunk" to define an art movement as much as Renaissance or Romantic ever did. It's the impermanence of art in today's disposable society that makes it so different from that of our ancestors. The virtual worlds of cyberpunk are, in effect, ephemeral, and thus all art, real or virtual, in the mode are defined by this quality as being of the dawning of the 21st century.