Glider Ink Wiki

a graphic novel about hackerspaces

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Goals and Themes

Describing Glider Ink to genre-savvy geeks is quite tricky, as they quickly jump on the familiar cyberpunk- or postcyberpunk- tropes. The positive atmosphere of freethinking, lively chaos of real hackerspaces hasn't been presented in popular culture so far, so it may seem not intuitive for people who haven't dwelt in one themselves.

While you can find discussion about the project's genre on the project page, this one deals with overall goals and themes.


In the months I've spent preparing and gathering various sources for the comic, I've come up with various goals for the project. I decided to choose two of them as the main - and all the others as optional, nice-to-haves:

  1. Show hackers as creators and builders, not only exploiters. Introduce hacker communities to the popular culture, instead of just lone wolf black hats hacking the CIA.
  2. Give hope. With all the dystopian science-fiction out there I feel that it's important to present some hope. We can build things ourselves. We can take ownership of the technology and use it the way we want, even if big corporations don't want us to. We can make a change.
  3. Promote collaboration and hard work. Too many comic heroes are just “born with their powers”. Why not inspire people to acquire skills by working for them? Show characters that put a lot of effort in something, worked with other people - and managed to build something grand. No spider bites required.
  4. Empower young people, especially the ones uncertain about their future. They don't have to choose now, they don't need to have a Masters or a PhD to be able to work on what they want, or what they love. Hackers know that, but sadly, most of people don't.
  5. Document real stories and achievements. No need for science fiction, when we have whole catalogues of awesome stuff to build! There are heroes who no one heard about - remember those three Sierra Leoneans who helped save their country during the Ebola epidemic?
  6. Propose a new form of cooperation outside of universities and startups.
  7. Change focus from global, disrupting apps to locality and sustainability. Your city, your town has issues you can help with, making life better for everyone!
  8. Look beyond the White West. You know there are hackerspaces all over the world, right?
  9. Show a working model of a community for all the 'Spaces still looking for balance. Design Patterns cover quite a lot of topic, but there is no hackerspace in culture you can look up to and say “we want to solve this to avoid their problems” or “we want to do it exactly like them”.
  10. Show a community where every character finds their own source of self-worth in a different way. Every one has their own ambitions and place in the world - and in the hackerspace.


  • Realism - this is not a science fiction. Everything should feel real, daily and mundane, even when talking GLaDOS in a LED-illuminated hackerspace seems magical. The fact of something actually existing doesn't make it dull and gray. Characters have jobs, schools and forget to buy milk. They have pockets, watch silly cats on youtube and are alive.
  • Technology ownership - when you accept that you can hack, tweak and build things yourself you suddenly get powerful. You can make a difference, being a maker in a world of consumers. Characters are not geeks obsessed with gadgets - they are nerds embracing knowledge. They do not want yet another iphone, but adjust each piece of technology to their needs.
  • Independence and empowerment - there is no one to tell you what to do. There is no high council to decide what you can know, and everything is up to you. People form their own subcultures or attitudes, preferring technical excellence over accessibility or the other way around - but it's their choice, and no one is absolutely right.
  • Communities and different approaches - each character is defined not only by what they can do, but also by their place in the community - and relationships with others. They don't exist in the void. Each of them is different and each wants something different. The only thing they all have in common is their will to cooperate, to share our knowledge and build things with other people. Some people would call them “nerds”, but they vary a lot.

Open questions

project/themes.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/23 22:40 by alxd