"There is always a point at which the terrorist ceases to manipulate the media gestalt. A point at which the violence may well escalate, but beyond which the terrorist has become symptomatic of the media gestalt itself. Terrorism as we ordinarily understand it is inately media-related. The Panther Moderns differ from other terrorists precisely in their degree of self-consciousness, in their awareness of the extent to which media divorce the act of terrorism from the original sociopolitical intent...."

In the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, the Panther Moderns are a sprawl youth culture, whose members are nihilistic technofetishist mercenaries, led by Lupus Yonderboy. They organise the diversion needed for the attack on the Sense/Net building so that the ROM construct of the Dixie Flatline can be acquired.

When your everyday geeky teenager gets to play with mimetic polycarbon suits that render them invisible, and can augment their abilities with microsofts, chips that plug into the brain to allow foreign language skills or the ability to scan for electronic devices or communication channels, you're left with "practical jokers with a penchant for random acts of surreal violence". Case observes that their style is similar to that of a gang, the Big Scientists, that existed when he was a teenager. Gibson suggests that in the sprawl such youth subcultures come and go yet retain set patterns of underlying characteristics - their precise manifestation at a given time therefore determined not by ideology but technology.

The one who showed up at the loft door with a box of diskettes from the Finn was a soft-voiced boy called Angelo. His face was a simple graft grown on collagen and shark-cartilage polysaccharides, smooth and hideous. It was one of the nastiest pieces of elective surgery Case had ever seen. When Angelo smiled, revealing the razor-sharp canines of some large animal, Case was actually relieved. Tooth bud transplants. He'd seen that before.

As have we - compare the Lo Tek's of Neuromancer's predecessor, Johnny Mnemonic. The aesthetic approach is different, with the Pather Moderns seeking a cat-like grace and agility whereas the the Lo-Teks favoured a canine ferality; yet each carries the message that the street, and its youth in particular, finds its own use for technology.

"Chaos, Mr. Who," Lupus Yonderboy said. "That is our mode and modus. That is our central kick."

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