William Gibson has written some great novels and one of my all time favorite short stories-Burning Chrome. Most of his stuff has not held up well over time, he talks a little too much about Virtual Reality-even after it’s pretty much turned out to be a bit of a bust.
Or maybe it just hasn’t been long enough, and once we are all living in The Matrix we will see what a true visionary Wiliam Gibson really was.
His last couple of novels are sort of sci fi, in that they have a lot of science and a lot of fiction, but not a lot of sci fi per se. They are still good reads, but they left me wonder, on a deeper level, what exactly, I had really read.
Distrust that Particular Flavor is a collection of William Gibson’s nonfiction, which is a shocking idea-William Gibson writes nonfiction? Well, yeah. But just as much of his fiction reads in a nonfiction sort of way, his nonfiction often has a fictive quality. This is interesting.
When I told The Wife I was reading a book of nonfiction written by William Gibson she asked if it was about computers. Well, sort of, in passing. But William Gibson is not really a cyberpunk writer any more-or maybe he’s still the only cyberpunk writer-I was never good with labels like that. But it seems that William Gibson thinks of himself as a science fiction writing who shares a room with the likes of Philip K Dick and George Orwell. Good company to be in. But he doesn’t talk enough about science fiction, which is a bit of pity.
He spends a lot of his nonfiction time talking about The Future, or the Possible Future, or just changing technology-which gives many of his pieces a dated feeling. But William knows this, and writes little replies to himself after each essay.
William Gibson likes to think big thoughts and use big words. But he also like to buy watches on eBay, whine about how hard it is to work on a Hollywood movie, and he thinks that digitial should replace film-well, he did write that last one in like 1999.
Distrust That Particular Flavor was a fun read, but I’ll agree with William Gibson, nonfiction is not his strong suit.