Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Oct 22 1997
Wired's Noisy Signal
If you secretly pine to be as cool as the digerati -- don't we all? -- you'll recognize Carla Sinclair's hilarious first novel, Signal to Noise (HarperSanFrancisco, $22.50) as a useful cheat sheet. Everyone who's anyone South of Market has an apparent counterpart in this book, including former Smarter Feller! Dave Eggers, who appears as passive-aggressive love object Mike Yoke. Fictional disguises are thin, and almost nobody looks good -- Sinclair even slams her own zine, bOing! bOing!

But just in case you need a little help passing as a true insider, we present our Signal to Noise Fiction-to-Apparent-Reality Conversion Chart.

Fiction: Signal
Apparent Reality: Wired
The Big Hint: "No one sees its dysfunctions until the intoxication of landing a job there has worn off."

Fiction: Jerry Liebowitz
Apparent Reality: Louis Rossetto, Wired Ventures CEO
The Big Hint: "He looks like an eccentric '70s-vintage rock musician, with long gray wavy hair...[His] decisions, no matter how erratic, stick like cement."

Fiction: Chelsea Simmons
Apparent Reality: Jane Metcalfe, Wired Ventures president
The Big Hint: "The woman is in her 30s, worth millions by now, and rumored to be quite shrewd.

Fiction: Dusty Lawson
Apparent Reality: John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead lyricist; founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Big Hint: "...a stylishly outlandish character who fights for cyber-rights, jets around to fulfill prestigious high-tech speaking engagements..."

Fiction: Andrew Garrett
Apparent Reality: Stewart Brand, Global Business Network principal, WELL founder

The Big Hint: "...a futurist business consultant, a renowned author, and the man who invented the EGG (Electronic Global Gathering), which is hands-down the most respected online service in existence."

Fiction: The EGG
Apparent Reality: the WELL
The Big Hint: See above.

Fiction: Ethel Fuller
Apparent Reality: Esther Dyson, author of Release 2.0
The Big Hint: "Chelsea's aging friend -- a rendition of Peter Pan if he had grown up ... holds out a limp hand."

Fiction: Kenneth
Apparent Reality: Kevin Kelly, Wired executive editor
The Big Hint: "... the oldest employee at the magazine, in his late 40s, with thinning hair and a pink inquisitive face..."

Fiction: Sir Kengo
Apparent Reality: R.U. Sirius
The Big Hint: "... a brilliant, eccentric, psychedelia-doused writer who started a trippy tech-culture magazine called Zenith. ...[He] says he wants to marry a rich porn star who would fund his films and buy him drugs."

Fiction: Zenith
Apparent Reality: Mondo 2000
The Big Hint: "The grandmother of all cyber-rags had shriveled into a catatonic relic, vanquished by the arrogant pubescent newcomers at Signal."

Fiction: Darren Cooper
Apparent Reality: Douglas Coupland, Gen-X inventor
The Big Hint: "Whenever Darren Cooper walks into Signal's offices, the editors dote on him like he's the next Tom Wolfe."

Fiction: Force
Apparent Reality: Might
The Big Hint: "They're suddenly acting all professional-like, conducting Force as if it were a real magazine."

Fiction: Going Gaga
Apparent Reality: bOing! bOing!
The Big Hint: "If these zines are truly great works of journalism, why doesn't Conde Nast invest in them? Like they did with Signal."

Fiction: Caffe Centro
Apparent Reality: Caffe Centro
The Big Hint: "Everyone in this cafe has a goddamn book deal except her.

About The Author

Laurel Wellman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"