Artificially Induced Dub Syndrome

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Nelson, Jeff. "Artificially Induced Dub Syndrome." First published Technopagan. Elaine Palmer, editor. London, UK: Pulp Faction, 1995. Reprinted, Cybersex, with the citation in Acknowledgments, p. viii, with no original listed in The Internet Speculative Fiction Database.[1]

Note that the phrase "Artificially Induced Dub Syndrome" could be initialized to AIDS, the same initialism as "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome," described by the US website on the topic as "the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus,"[2] and would be in the minds of many readers in 1995, a key year for the disease.[3] The association is invited by the story, plus association with music, Virtual Reality (VR; cf. and contrast cyberspace), the "dub" of William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, and the Dream Time, presented as more in the Native American version of the dream-quest, especially with psychedelic enhancements.

The Authorities were scared of rhythm [...] like they were scared of sex between the species. [...] Which is a laugh, because the Authorities were all for Vurt in the early days. Vurt was the name of an organic technology that allowed humans to walk, as though real, through the |landscape of dreams. Above the real world called England, the Authorities created a vurtual [sic] world called United Singland; above the real world called America, a vurtual world called the United Dreams of America. The various dreams eventually joined hands, and all around the surface of Planet Earth floated Planet Vurt. Lots of Earthlings actually wanted to become Vurtlings; they wanted to live in their dreams forever.[4] Access was strictly controlled [...]. The Authorities were cleaning up! Until it all started to go wrong, and the dream-disease imported itself into reality.

[...] You can imagine the Town Hall's despair as the first cases of Dub Sickness came to light. They'd always had a limp dick for music anyway, what with its "liberating effect upon the young", but this was a square's nightmare, because music was now a viral intruder. I mean, music was actually penetrating the people. [...] We had all the demon players inside us, virus musicians from heaven that we could call up anytime. Jesus Jagger, those early days [...]. Even worse for the Authorities, the fact that the Dub virus could be passed on through sex. They called it the new VD[5] for propaganda purposes. (Vurtual Dynamics [...].) (pp. 58-59)

RDE, finishing, 26Jan23