William Gibson Answers Readers’ Questions on Intelligence Communities, Style and More


Photo: Gonzo Bonzo (CC)

Here are some notes from an older (September 2010) questions and answers session from William Gibson’s Zero History tour. Via Technoccult:

Asked about the intelligence communities in his books

I don’t want anyone to think I’ve gone “Tom Clancy” but what you find is that you have fans in every line of work. How reliable those narrators are I don’t know, but they tell a good story.

Asked about humor in his work.

Neuromancer was not without a comedic edge. My cyberpunk colleagues and I back in our cyberpunk rat hole sniggered mightily as we slapped our knees.

But writers can’t have more than two hooks. “Gritty, punky,” sure. “Gritty, punky, funny” doesn’t work.

I asked him about the slogan “Never in fashion, always in style” because I read that slogan on his blog and never found out what company that slogan actually belonged to.

Aero Leathers in Scotland. But they weight too much. You wouldn’t tour in a WWII motorcyle jacket unless of course you were on a WWII motorcycle. [Gibson reportedly wore an Acronym jacket on the Zero History tour]

Read More: Technoccult

7 Comments on "William Gibson Answers Readers’ Questions on Intelligence Communities, Style and More"

  1. William Gibson is a national treasure.

  2. Wholly unpopular viewpoint, I know, but I always put it out to see if I’m completely alone: Neuromancer is one of the flattest and least interesting books with a major reputation that I’ve ever encountered.  Struggled to finish it over the course of nearly two years, and get sleepy even reading the plot synopsis on wikipedia.  What am I missing?  What’s interesting about Neuromancer?

    • Jin The Ninja | Apr 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm |

      everything- the idea of the ghost in the machine, the extension of consciouness via cyberspace, corporate dystopia, the sprawl, molly millions. maybe you don’t like cyberpunk?

      • Jim, it probably is just a subjective matter of taste, but just to carry the argument a little further, I always thought that Gibson’s evocation of cyberspace was remarkably dull.  It’s talked about in the book like this incredible gnostic/Platonic leap into the hyperspace, but then when the characters do jack in, it’s such a disappointment: like floating around in a giant Tetris game.  It’s hard to see whats so exciting about drifting into a big blue square of data.  As for the idea of corporate dystopia, surely that was pretty much a staple of sci-fi by the time of Neuromancer?  Apart from registering the omnipresence and power of corporations (a fact fairly self-evident to most people at the time) it didn’t strike me as having anything particularly insightful or interesting to say on that score.  Anyway, I guess I’m just whining.  I remember a good few years back, I hadn’t read sci-fi since I was a kid, so I picked up two books: one by Philip K. Dick and Neuromancer.  The Philip K. Dick stuff blew my mind and virtually changed my life; I just could not get what was the big deal about Neuromancer.

      •  >maybe you don’t like cyberpunk?

        meh. the steampunks were better. I’d take any one Tim Powers book over _all_ of Gibson’s books.

        • Jin The Ninja | Apr 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm |

          i think all the sci fi/fantasy -punk subgenres are important in subversion of genre themes and conventions and equally diverse in their range of good and poor writing.

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