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Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson
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Feb 05, 12

William Gibson's Distrust That Particular Flavor utilizes, ahem, prodigious white/grey space. While the pages number 254, approximately 75 of these are white/gray dividers between articles/speeches/book introductions. So assume the text runs maybe 150 small pages. Does that mean Mr. Gibson and Co. are trying to pull a fast one on completist readers? I don't think so. While Distrust That Particular Flavor is short and far from cohesive, the gathering of the author's best non-fiction in one compact book provides a welcome and necessary fragment of the author's totality.

Gibson admits early on he's more comfortable writing fiction than non-fiction and shoots straight in his assertion that accepting the assignment to write and speak out of his comfort zone often meant an opportunity for travel to cool locations. He's at his best, and most like his fiction, when writing from a sense of place (Singapore, Tokyo, London). Gibson also provides a strong introduction to a Borges reissue and a couple futuristic speeches that, were you to read them without knowing the speaker, you could probably attribute to Gibson even with minimal exposure to his books. So while Distrust That Particular Flavor doesn't disappoint, the segments rarely break new ground. A bizarro defense of Steely Dan (barf) and minor autobiographical sketches are probably the weakest links, and the short, reflective commentary after each segment are often more fun than the segments themselves. If you're a Gibson fan, and you're jonsing for his style but don't want to re-read his novels or wait for the next, Distrust That Particular Flavor suffices, esp. when compared to searching out all these individual texts separately. More interesting than compelling, but worth the time.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Yay! I want to read his non-fiction. I'm very curious.

Steely Dan though? Barf.

RandomAnthony Yes, check it out, Ceridwen, you'd probably like it...but skim the barfy Steely Dan section, definitely:)

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