"In Bed" with William Gibson

September, 2010

William Gibson It is difficult to exaggerate the influence of science fiction writer William Gibson. Often playing off the premise that technology can and will be misappropriated, the man who coined the term "cyberspace" is largely regarded as the father of cyberpunk. His seminal novel Neuromancer introduced ideas into the zeitgeist such as The Matrix, virtual sex, and even reality TV. Gibson's recent Bigend series, Pattern Recognition and Spook Country, examines the post-9/11 world and a Machiavellian marketing genius named Hubertus Bigend. Now it continues with Zero History, a tale of corporate espionage in modern-day London, where a viral marketing campaign may be backed by a military operation. Gibson shares his five favorite books set in the cosmopolitan city.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens
"The steampunk progenitor novel. The true and utter quill. Still the greatest dystopian novel of industrialization. You didn't know Dickens could do hallucinatory landscapes? Enter in."


Night and the City by Gerald Kersh
"A great 1950s lowlife Soho novel, turned into a great noir film by Jules Dessain (who claimed never to have read the book). Both highly recommended."


Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard
"Robinson Crusoe on the Westway. Utterly original and absolutely perfect. And so weirdly soothing, in that way one comes to envy castaways in fiction."


The House by the Thames by Gillian Tindall
"Intimate history of a single house, a Queen Anne built on Tudor foundations, and its inhabitants, hard by the rebuilt Globe Theatre. Strata of lives, layers of time. How close the human past is when it's deep and unbroken."


London Calling by Barry Miles
"Boho Soho in the '50s and '60s, beatniks to Beatles, delightfully gossipy and nonpartial. The massive solidity of London and its culture allowed for a truly wonderful bohemia; you can't really do bohemia without that, somewhat in the way bees need a found structure in which to build the nest."



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message 1: by Steven (new)

Steven Smith MOTHER LONDON by Michael Moorcock would be a great novel to add to this list.


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