Looking for a short story about a woman with a hacked digital tattoo.
October 9, 2014 4:20 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone remember a cyberpunk short story that involved a woman covered in digital tattoos? The tattoos are hacked or a virus is introduced -- by an evil corporation, I think -- and her friends have to rush to save her life.

A while ago I read a short story with great a future/cyberpunk feel. I think the plot focused on a group of hackers/outsiders/vigilantes who were fighting against the system. (Yeah, I know, that's pretty much every cyberpunk story ever.)

Most of the story is a blur, but I remember one scene in particular: a woman who's covered with digital tattoos is hacked or gets a virus, and the tattoos begin flashing wildly as her body starts to shut down. The heroes have to find a way to cure her or remove her from the system or something.

I know this is maddeningly vague, but does it ring any bells? I really enjoyed the story when I read it and I'd love to read it again.
posted by harperpitt to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm.. I'm not sure if this is the story in question, but maybe Feed by M.T. Anderson?
posted by lunastellasol at 4:35 AM on October 9, 2014

Specials by Scott Westerfeld? The book has digital tattoos, but I don't remember them flashing wildly.
posted by Xere at 4:48 AM on October 9, 2014

This sounds like Pat Cadigan's "Synners", although it's a novel, not a short story, and some of the details are slightly different. Spoilers:

One of the characters is implanted with sockets in his brain to allow for direct connection to the book's equivalent of the Internet. He has a stroke, which then gets loose on the net and starts infecting other people. One of the people infected has a cape that displays different images; he's hooked his own sockets up to it and when he gets infected the cape starts flashing wildly. There's also another subplot in which a tattoo artist/hacker is encoding a software program in tattoos and putting bits of it on people who come into her studio.
posted by asterix at 6:38 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Could it be something by Jeff Noon, author of 'Vurt'?
posted by h00py at 7:09 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Iain M. Banks' novel Surface Detail has some elements of this. One female main character is a servant/slave who has a high-tech full-body tattoo. Been too long since I read it to give much more detail, though.
posted by madmethods at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2014

I know you said you're looking for a short story, but I can't shake the similarity to Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash, though there were no digital tattoos involved in that book.
posted by tckma at 8:43 AM on October 9, 2014

Mir: A Novel of Virtual Reality
Nelly has become infected through a tattoo, a tattoo that assumes a phantasmic form of its own as it incubates on her body
posted by morganw at 8:51 AM on October 9, 2014

Best answer: Hi, I think you're talking about "Google Skin" by Miracle Jones, but that description seems kinda off base, but everyone else is shooting for short stories.

I don't know where it's gone for a normal version, but if you follow the directions on this mildly NSFW link it should reproduce itself. It's kind of fun even if I'm wrong!

His current webpage (warning: bad midis music) is where you can find most his stuff, but Google Skin appears to have otherwise disappeared..?
posted by ThrowbackDave at 10:09 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ah! a friend found a pastebin of it!

posted by ThrowbackDave at 10:23 PM on March 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: This is absolutely right! Thank you so much -- I'd long since given up hope on this one.

How did you track it down based on my (now clearly inaccurate) synopsis?
posted by harperpitt at 2:24 PM on April 4, 2015

Just browsing Unanswered and I knew what you were talking about.
I'm kind of a huge miracle jones fan. :)
posted by ThrowbackDave at 2:17 AM on April 6, 2015

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