Zoya is a historian and journalist of games and playful art. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Memory Insufficient, and a consultant at Silverstring Media.

Faded billboards hang broken and battered over the information superhighways you used to dream of traversing. There are no eyes left there to see their upbeat messages. Now, inhuman fleets of big-data battleships moor themselves to the abused tarmac, created to carry our cyborg likenesses into crusades, fought only to keep the couriers busy.

The superhighways inscribed a new architecture onto the landscape, glowing cartoon signs and flattened, cookie-cutter warehouses. Space is warped by the speed at which you traverse it. They demanded that all viewpoints be valid, and reality fractured under the strain. And so we have founded new wildernesses, and set up colossal searchlights to help us find each other there, only to find life intolerable under their glare.

Our community makes camp under these giant superstructures, building lives by piecing together the glorious trash discarded by the Society Intact. But delicate crafts cannot survive the desert winds. Even in groups, it is impossible to stick together. We lose sight of each other in dust-storms, and dust-ups. The land will not nurture us, and so we fight each other for scraps. Scraps of information, and scraps of power. Scraps of shiny material that looks like a mirror, so that we can bear witness to our own tired faces.

The web is our air,
and the air is toxic.

This wasteland will destroy you, or rather, not you, but everything your mother hoped you would become. You will rise, not like a phoenix, but like an undying, unrelenting harpy queen. No love songs from before The Fall can adequately describe the way you feel when your  lover spreads her irradiated wings in the light of the dying sun.

Our mutated bodies propose new ways of being. The wasteland shapes a different kind of utopia; not one where individual builders must forever create work to catch the glare of the searchlights just right, shining through the sandstorms, but instead where the complex crafts lost elsewhere can be sheltered under a host of harpy wings.

You — the creatives, queers, and radicals of the wasteland — you are the magicians of this realm, and its power is your birthright, but the body of our arcane work is currently fragmented, scattered, misunderstood, and mocked. It will be gathered together once again, and the power it contains will beam out across the wastes.