Distrust That Particular Flavor
But a constant theme of emerges in his writing, that's twinned with his fiction writing; it's Gibson wrapping his wild brain around how d ...more
I mildly enjoyed this collection of book intros and magazine essays with their insights into why Japan seems like it's in the future already (a couple of hard shoves into the modern world after Commodore Perry and then WWII supercharged the culture), the addictiveness of bidding on eBay, and why Singapore is at once both super safe (too safe) and super scary.
AVC: Your first collection of non-fiction, Distrust That Particular Flavor, comes out in January. Have you always wanted to write non-fiction?
WG: I’m a reluctant writer of non-fiction, in part because I don’t really feel qualified. I have the toolkit of a novelist, and no training as a journalist or science writer. But I’ve been surprised to realize how much of my fiction over the years has been steered by getting non-fiction assignments and agreeing to go meet someone or loo ...more
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing here to change my impression that Gibson is smart, and a fundamentally nice guy. But pieces like the 1993 essay about his impressions of Singapore for "Wired", o ...more
Reading this colle ...more
The bit on William Blake being the world's first graphic novelist is pretty great, as is the final essay on Vannever and cyborgs.
But the collection, as a whole, provides zero ...more
Some essays here feel a bit unnecessary, like the introductions to books I've never read, so they kind of hang there in empty space. Others are so dated that they're fun to read, but not much else ("have you heard of this thing called 'eBay'???"). The best ones are about the "Future" (with a capital F), the Future that he grew up believing in in the 50s to the 70s - the one with the jetpacks and the s ...more
That said, this volume of essays, reviews and talks stretching back to the late 80's is studded with the kind of sparkling, Gibsonian material you can use as a sigil, showing not simply that you are on the cutting edge, but that you are wielding the blade itself--well, no, that you are watching it, from a ...more
The quality of each essay varies as they're all written at different times for different publications (or as a speech). With each essay he takes a look back on it and points out things that are f ...more
Insightfully, he says this in The Road to Oceania, a 2003 article he wrote for the New York Times, reprinted in this book of articles and essays collected from various (nominally) nonfiction publications for which he has written over the years. It was insightful at the time in a very conventional sense in that, while reliance on broadcasting does no ...more
With Necromancer William Gibson predicted the Internet and invented the term 'cyberspace' and for a long time he's had this mythical status as a technophobe author capable of technology prognostication. It must get very wearing. Gibson comes across as a genuine, intelligent and polite man, but one who is leery of making any wild claims or getting too caught up in predicting what 'connectedness' will eventually mean. I wished, at times, he'd taken more risks in his writing.
Much in this collectio...more
This is a collection of articles, speeches, book reviews, and essays on culture, technology, urban life, and the relationships between o ...more
You can definitely get that impression from this collection, although the conclusion would be unjustified. The articles are more or less supposed to be about him- his experiences, his thoughts, his vision. So to make a judgment as such seems unwarranted when the non-fiction you are reading is supposed to be ...more
There are a number of excellent articles in here. “Disneyland With The Death Penalty” is easily the most famous, a scathing critique of Singapore he wrote for Wired in the early 1990s, which then got Wired banned ...more
But these are far from academic or navel gazing platitudes. Instead Gibson manages to make them human, flesh, real. From how the emergence of eBay feeds a fascination for vintage ti ...more
Nonfiction certainly isn't for everybody, and if you are looking for essays to educate you on a particular topic you can undoubtedly find something better elsewhere. If you have not read any William Gibson, you should start elsewhere (I suggest Neuromancer as a good example of his elder works, and Pattern Recognition as ...more
William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor ...more