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William Gibson in The News 133

Anonymous Coward writes that William Gibson was interviewed in the SF Chronicle. He talks about getting into writing, visionary status, and, of course, his new book, All Tomorrow's Parties. Anyone read that yet? I'd be interesting to hear about it.
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William Gibson in The News

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  • Gibson invented the term cyberspace.

    Touche! You got me. I should have said "cyberspace as a 3D Metaphor". Much obliged for the correction. ;-) But I still stand by the sense of what I said: a 3D Metaphor is inadequate for describing what goes on in... in... oh, heck, let's both agree to call it cyberspace, ok? That is - that place were're debating this right now, this is cyberspace, right? Please correct me if I'm wrong. The only people who think cyberspace is really 3D are people whose only exposure to it has been via deathmatch and lawnmower man, or some such.

    Don't know about you, but I'm ready for a more powerful metaphor - let's see what all you aspiring authors can come up with to blow us old cybercowboys away.
  • It had to be Gibson because most of SF was firmly stuck in a clueless Future Past.

    It had to be Gibson because "research" doesn't necessarily mean having a BS in CS.

    The Difference Engine abysmal? Abyssal, maybe. As in unfathomably deep. But worth spelunking.


  • Maybe this is generational or something but I love William Gibson and find Neal Stephenson's stuff to be nearly unreadable. Stephenson's books strike me as desperately dry stylistically, badly paced and full of long, dull stretches where you pray for him to get back to the tasty tech he was talking about earlier. For me he reads like shit basically. Gibson's writing is so speedy and visceral - even when there isn't much plot going on it feels like things are rushing by at 300 mph - he always keeps you on your toes because you feel as if you can't look away for a second lest you miss something crucial.

    Anyway, I'm Gen X and I'd take Bill any day over Neal, Gen Y seems to prefer Stephenson so who knows...

    - Nightspore
  • Doh!

    Well, I knew that someone did that. I guess I should do a little checking up before I go blurting off about who did what :)

    Thanks guys.

  • > but my main complaint is his lack of knowing how to end his novels

    Actually that's always been my complaint about Stephenson's books - I wasn't satisfied by the endings ... but looking back I can't think what was so bad about them ... maybe it was just that they were such a good read that I didn't want them to stop ....

  • Anyone read that yet? I'd be interesting to hear about it.

    I checked at waldon books, but they said they wern't going to be gettin it in for another month. Now, I don't know if it's just them that are behind (I doubt they could stay competitive if they didn't get best sellers untill a month after offical relices), but I don't think there are many people who have read it yet...

    I really want to read this one after reading Iduro.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Assuming that this isn't just a matter of mistaken facts, there's an interesting mental chain between PKD's work and Gibsons. A lot of similar elements show up in both authors work. PKD may not have had terms like "Virtual Reality" and "Cyberspace" to work with, but the idea of VR is in Androids (in the form of Mercerism). Of course, I like PKD and Gibson, so maybe I'm making the chain myself...
  • Um... I think you're thinking of Chris Carter? William Gibson is someone else entirely. As many others have pointed out, William Gibson is the guy who coined "cyberspace," and he writes good books. This reminds me of the time I saw Larry Niven at a Con... someone said: "I'm sorry, but I'm not sure who you are." And he replied "I'm Larry Niven. I write books." And that was enough.

  • at the risk of sounding really dumb.. who is this guy?
  • William Gibson coined the term "Cyberspace" and arguably started the entire genre with his book "Neuromancer". A very difficult read, I might add. (None the less a good one.)
    Joseph Elwell.
  • William Gibson is, to me, the father of "Cyberpunk" and all of its offshoots. The story he did this with is called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," and is a very interesting, if dated, venture into Gibson's depressing vision of the future, which is and was very revolutionary stuff.
  • ah.... Gibson... one of my favorite authors. I really like his character development, twisty plots, scene painting, pacing, darkness, implants, lots of stuff, too much to mention. There's just one big thing that always bothered me about his stories and that's the 3D metaphor for cyberspace. I mean, get real, you just don't ride a big black rocketship through system security. Firewalls are not walls. In general, cyberspace isn't 3 dimensional - it's either infinitely dimensioned, or zero dimensioned, take your pick.

    On the other hand, the concepts behind his 3D cyberspace metaphors are usually valid... more than valid, they're pretty stimulating a lot of the time. His ideas of what AI's might be like, licensed and all, are really interesting. Just... could we have a little less of the Buck Rogers space ship thing?
  • ... from the article:

    Gibson and Burroughs share an almost boyish fascination with technology and the glitches of human evolution

    Someone ought to let the author of this article know that ol' Billy Burroughs should be refered to in the past tense these days....Although it was pretty cool that I lived in the same town as him for 5 years (Lawrence, KS)
  • Even though Gibson was the first to popularize cyberpunk, he didn't invent it by any stretch of the imagination.

    Vernor Vinge was there long before Gibson...

    That all being said, I still love Gibson's work and I'll happily read anything he writes.

    -- Gary F.
  • If it's a good read, I'm a little saddened when the story ends. Even if the author puts forth effort and makes it a clean break, I still don't want to leave the little world he/she created in the text...another reason why I shy away from short stories :)

  • Anyone know the dates and places for Gibson's book tour (outside of the SF dates in the article)? His publisher's web site doesn't seem to have any info.
  • This is kinda off topic, but close enough to topic that I wanted to mention it...

    I finished a copy of Marge Piercy's "He, She, and It" a few weeks ago, and thought it was a really interesting take on the topic of artificial intelligence. It intertwines the in-the-future story of a human-like AI creation with the in-the-past story of a Golem, a creature from Jewish legends created from mud.

    It drew a lot of parallels that hadn't ever occured to me, and was just altogether a different approach to sci-fi than I'm used to reading.

    Anybody else have some favorite Gibson-esque books they'd like to recommend?
  • by Samurai Cat! ( 15315 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @04:36PM (#1600546) Homepage
    Back in '90, I managed to meet Gibson when he and Sterling were in town on the Difference Engine book signing tour. A friend of mine knew Sterling through other means (having to do with being busted for hacking - this was before "The Hacker Crackdown" was published) so we met up with them down at the bookstore. They later headed off with the publishers rep for dinner, and we met up with them later at their hotel to hang out and yak.

    Now, during the signing, Gibson had been pounding the wine... then more wine at dinner... so by the time they got back to the hotel, he was sloshed. The man then cracks open the little honor bar cabinet and tears in.

    The funniest thing was when Gibson was sitting on the edge of a bed, with a Heineken in one hand and a little bottle of Jack in the other, watching the Weather Channel... and I forget what he said before this, but the next line is forever etched into my memory... discussing the weathergirl on TV...

    ...and what REALLY makes me come is that she's SO inCREDibly LUCID...!

    Ah, the howls of derisive laughter...
  • I have no idea which "Gen" I belong to. I'm 20. I dig massively on both Gibson and Stephenson (and Sterling, and diFilipo).
  • My new Xeon obsolesced to an abacus in the drive home. ;)

    Really? I sure could use an abacus... mail it to me.
  • Your right, I think, about the way he writes the action parts. The chapter where they steal the construct is an excellent example of this. I also feel this is what makes the writing seem so crisp, its not bogged down so it moves at a quick action-scene pace while being very economical with his words, or verse. Just my thoughts on the subject!
  • Brunner usually gets credited by the literati as the first cyberpunk author (if a movement by that name can be said to have existed) with the book Shockwave Rider in, I think '76. He has a proto-hacker character who reprograms the global net from a minitel-like access device. He also writes a program reminiscent of the Internet worm.

  • heh...

    my laptop looks more like a stone tablet.. any takers? free chisel!
  • William Gibson is a science fiction author, the first really successful cyberpunk author, but -hardly- the -first- cyberpunk author. The others, however - John Brunner, Walter Jon Williams, Bruce Sterling, etc, - might still be obscure if not for him, and I have little doubt that Pat Cadigan, Neal Stephenson and others were strongly influenced by his work.

    His previous books are:
    Neuromancer, Count Zero, Burning Chrome, Virtual Light, Idoru.

    He did -not- write The Sheep Look Up aka Blade Runner, that was John Brunner. Sheep is good, but not much related to the movie. Stand on Zanzibar is better, IMHO.

    IMO, also, Gibson's only -really- good books - so far - are Neuromancer and Idoru. Those two are -well- worth reading. Count Zero revealed too much his lack of computer knowledge, Burning Chrome has some excellent stories in it, but much of it is what they call 'juvenalia' ... stuff he wrote before he was a 'mature' author. Virtual Light was a good read but nothing stunning, a bit too predictable. Idoru, however, was excellent, and I very much look forward to this new book. I read, enjoyed, and own copies of and will re-read all his books, btw, so when I say 'really good' I mean as opposed to 'good' not as opposed to 'bad' ;)
  • by crayz ( 1056 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @05:14PM (#1600553) Homepage
    I'd be interesting to hear about it.

    Don't worry Hemos, you're interesting enough as it is :)
  • Holy cow....time to read the Dream Park novels. They absolutely kick ass. The star trek holodeck on a theme park size scale. The ringworld books were good. Lucifers Hammer absolutely kicked ass. Please go to the library and get them...they are great books.
  • I dont get is Niven the best hard SF author ever yet only produces better work in colaboration? Makes no sense.
  • Well, I do like them both, but prefer Gibson over Stephenson. I'd guess that I'm Gen X. Where would you draw the line anyway? around 22 or something like that? Gibson's style seems more 80's to me in a way. You know, fast-paced, hopping around, MTV, Miami Vice kind of stuff. Stephenson takes the jumping around but keeps everything separate, IMHO. If you look at Gibson's books, it may be told from several different perspectives, yet the cool part is that all of these points of views eventually all meet somewhere. What each of these individuals takes away from the situation is dependent on their past history and what their personal perspective is. Sort of like real life. Stephenson seems to keep things rather separate. There may be different people in the story, but their interactions are not as involved as Gibson's. To each his own, I suppose. And if we're talking about research, which would rather subscribe to? The trodes on your head that provide a consensual hallucinatory vision of cyberspace? (Neuromancer) or the laser that shoots in your eye? (Snow Crash) (I find both to be rather silly, but that's just me.)
  • I've started Dream Park about 3 times and just get bored. Lucifer's Hammer I finished (I think) but since only one character interested me there was a lot of fluff.
  • I would be hard pressed to come up with a short story that did a better job of combining science, philosophy and great plot twists than Egan's "Learning To Be Me".
  • "He did -not- write The Sheep Look Up aka Blade Runner, that was John Brunner. Sheep is good, but not much related to the movie. Stand on Zanzibar is better, IMHO. "

    I think you've got things mixed up. Blade Runner was "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by Philip K. Dick. It's another damn fine book by Philip K. Dick, much better than the movie. I highly recommend it.

  • Have you ever used the word "cyberspace" in a sentence? Shoot yourself. Now.
  • "Learning to be me" has to be in the top 5 short sci-fi stories I have ever read, and I've read a ludicrous number of sci- fi short stories. I'll bet I could suggest other stories (and books) that you'd enjoy (and vice versa) - if you'd like, drop me an email, I'm always looking for good sci-fi reading recommendations.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I enjoy most of Gibson's work, as it is part of my favorite genre: Near future hard sci-fi.

    Unfortunately it is hard to find good novels written about plausible near-future Sci Fi. William Gibson, Some early Heinlein, Niven, Bruce Sterling, Alen Steel, john brunner, Neil Stephenson, Kim Stanely Robinson etc are all great (except KSR, he needs to cut the fat and cut to the chase), but exhausted in short order. I like good near future sci fi, because it links the present to the future by extrapolating from current trends and technology, an act that stimulates my imagination about the posibilities about what can be done with the here and now.

    Any input on other authors of plausible near future sci fi would be VERY appreciated.....

  • I wasn't thrilled by The Difference Engine (but maybe that was Sterling's fault... :) but it was a cool alternate-past idea.

    Well, you should try having grown up in the land it was based in...
    knowing a fair bit about Industrial Revolution history helps.
    He's basically spot-on with the tech-lovers and tech-haters thing,
    and who knows - if Babbage had actually been richer, maybe those
    engines could've really happened. Now where would we be if that
    happened? Instead of Babbage we chuck around the names of Turing
    et al as the fathers of modern computing...

    Let's face it, Gibson has written some really cool stories and has a
    handle on what he thinks the future will be like. But remember, it's his
    thoughts, kids - it'll probably all turn out to be as crap as today is in
    the end.

    Don't get me wrong, mind you - I was totally blown away the first time
    I read Neuromancer, so I can't wait to get my hands on the new one...
    I hope it's got as good a cover design as all the others did :)

    Never judge a book by its' cover? Why not?
  • Gibson doesn't have the twist that PKDick has-- he's more stylized. You can thank Dick for giving birth to Gibson and others of his ilk. I read Gibson and I think, "Wow, that's a nice image. That's an interesting idea." When I read PKDick, my brain does flipflops ans I begin to question the nature of reality, personality, consciousness. No other author really does that-- maybe Vonnegut and Borges, if you care to wander through a dusty and dark labyrinth.
  • by ainsoph ( 2216 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @06:38PM (#1600567) Homepage

    ....yet somewhat off topic:

    I read some Wm. Gibson and felt it was interesting stuff, but I stumbled across a book while looking amongst the genre 'cyberpunk' that I feel is really the most definitive batch of stories of an era (and that era may be dead, neal has helped us trancend it thankfully). This book, and its set of stories represent the real 'underground' of sci-fi and is tons of fun....

    The book is called: semiotext(E) and available here []


  • In three ways:

    Firstly, Niven is the best because his ideas are the best. Unfortunatly, he gets so tied up in his ideas that he forgets to write an intersting story around them. Pournell keeps the story going.

    Secondly, when I said "the best", I should have said IMHO

    Thirdly, (flamebait warning) what is the competion? AC Clarke? Have you ever read Rama? Eeek, that was bad. Poul Anderson is pretty good, but he doesn't have the depth of work Niven does.

    Anyway, I looked at the list of books you said you liked. Dream Park - written with Simon Barnes (and Pournell?) The Ringworld books - with Pournell, I think. So were the Mote books.

    Please note I don't have my collection here, so I can't check. I think the original Ringworld book may have been just Niven, but I enjoyed the other ones more, anyway.

  • I have to say, I've read every one of his books so far and enjoyed them all. Some more than others. He seems to fall down a little at the end of the first trilogy, but they were still excellent books I happily recommend. His collection of short stories found in Burning Chrome are stunning. If you really want to get an idea where Gibson came from, read that book. It is an excellent resource in showing his growth as an author. Enjoy the books folks.
  • Well, if you ask me the 2D desktop metaphor
    for what's going on inside our computers
    today is also pretty ridiculous, but for some
    reason everybody seems to think it's super
    "intuitive" and therefore the way that
    everything has to be done. There are
    something's that *can't* be done now without
    resorting to this 2D desktop metaphor,
    because there aren't enough people like
    me to resist that momentum.

    Watch out, or you may find yourself stuck in
    a "consenual hallucination" someday, and all
    your griping about how limited it all is isn't
    going to help you much.

  • Oddly enough, Radio 4 (BBC radio channel in UK) adapted this for a play about 2/3 years ago. I have no idea why.

  • I bought it here in Lisbon, and was reading along avidly. The ex-cop was about to pick up some cables for something he got from GlobEx, when suddenly he was picking up the package from GlobEx?

    after half a page of massive confusion, I looked at the page numbers and discovered that 123-155 were replaced by 91-122.

    Aaarg. I went back to the store the next day, and found that all their other copies had the same problem! I wanted to scream.

    Sigh. So I'll probably finish the book some months from now...


  • So, is anyone going to write in /. books [] ?

  • A scifi writer who thinks not too highly of people from Asia. [ and that itself is an understatement. ]

    Don't believe me? Well... you just have to read his books to find out.

  • But I thougth the "3d" aspect In Idoru worked pretty well. I mean, the technology used exsists today depending on how good looking you'd think the display actualy is.

    I tended to imagen the 'VR' to be photorealistic, and that couldn't be more then 10 years off. I belive gibson was describing and interface to the infosphear or whatever you want to call it.

    The definition of Cyberspace is what's in gibsons books, but I tend to think of it as the human interface, the the 'stuff' itself. a bunch of bits and bytes would make a boring book for a non-geek.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I really liked Idoru. The first chapter had some amazing images. I guess being a Kafka fan helped too. The ending was a bit weak, I agree, but its critisisms of popular culture were great. Also, how the buildings were created was one of the hoopiest things I have read in a while.
    "New worlds are not born in the vacuum of abstract ideas, but in the fight for daily bread..."
  • I'll volunteer that I certainly found it to be a fairly difficult read. And I read a lot.

    Well, it all depends on *what* you read. Just reading tons of trash is not going to be particularly enrichening.

    Mostly, what made it difficult for me is that I read very quickly (though I don't "speed read"), and Gibson has a rather interesting habit of having massive action happen in one line, sandwiched without fanfare between description that is relatively unimportant to the story.

    Well, to my understanding, Gibson is not an action writer and is not very interested in what's happening (as in Alice shoots Bob, Bob falls down). Gibson is a stylist and is great at evoking the atmosphere of a place/person/happening/etc. For me, the "descriptions unimportant to the story" are what makes Gibson's book worth reading.

    There are books that are perfectly OK to read quickly because they are mostly about story and action. Gibson's books are not them.

  • Gibson wrote tha damn script. I thought it was a fun flick. Keanu almost has me convinced he can act. But not in movies. Pretty convincing for a Grey, doncha think?
  • Actually people; William Gibson was infact connected to a single X-Files episode... One that I missed! (Shock! Horror!) He wrote the episode and had something to do with the producing too I thought.
  • by Frank Sullivan ( 2391 ) on Wednesday October 20, 1999 @04:55AM (#1600589) Homepage
    There were a few Semiotext(e) books, i believe. The one that stands out in my mind is Semiotext(e) SF (dunno if it's still in print), with contributions by such luminaries as Gibson, Ballard, Burroughs, R.A.W., Sterling, et al, as well as a smorgasboard of works by lesser-known, more avant-garde writers (Gibson fans... buy it for the other works. His own contribution, "Hippie Hat Brain Parasite", was rather dull). It's hard to pick a favorite from this collection... perhaps Rucker's "Rapture in Space" (about the first zero-G porno), or Ballard's "Jane Fonda's Augmentation Mammoplasty" (which amounted to a dare to sue the publishers for libel... Jane Fonda has always denied having her breasts done, but to sue for libel she would have to deny it under oath!). Heh.

    Maybe that's just the price you pay for the chains that you refuse.
  • The Ringworld books were just Niven, by himself. And you know what? I haven't liked a single book he's written in colaboration. I do however, own every single book he's written by himself.

    But since this was origionally about Gibson, I'll get back to that. I think he's WAY overrated too. I mean, sure, he had a great story, and it was one of the first, but he's just a mediocre writer. There's much better out there, Neal Stephenson, Pat Cadigan, and Walter John Williams.

    - Kazin
  • He seems like an arthouse poseur. He doesn't do a fraction of the research for his books that Neal Stephenson so obviously does, and he makes statements that place him firmly in the category of artists who produce garbage and try to pretend that nobody understands it. His books reek of contrived symbolism.

    um... why would you need to do research for a novel? Gibson isn't a geek, Stephenson (who went to my highschool!!!) is. and it shows. While gigabits/second MTOPS may be intresting to us, they arn't for others. and they are hardly nesissary for a good story
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Oops. Well, that's what I get for trusting a quick-n-dirty websearch for correct information, though you'd think somebody auctioning the book could transcribe the author correctly. Ah well. Philip K. Dick is an excellent author too, who needed some mention in this thread. :)
  • As often as people rave about how wonderful William Gibson is (and you'll get no argument from me on that) I have to say, he's gone flat on me in the last few books.

    I read Burning Chrome and the Neuromancer series and all of it was overlaid with a sort of stoic sense of beauty and loss. The girl/the world/the prgramming addiction all the things characters wanted were just out of reach. They were things destined not to be.

    The newer books are great fun, but they don't have the same kind of sincerity or emotional power. They lack lyrical passages that mock themselves as they tell you that the English worship their trash and that (honestly) so does William Gibson. (That's not a derrogatory comment -- just a comment on how he goes sifting through societal junk for found art.)

    Anyhow, I have hope for the new book -- but I miss the sense of smoke and dark and the high tech Boggie watching the girl walk away.(see Burning Chrome) Here's looking at you, Bill.

  • Uhh, wrong author... that was Phillip K. Dick.
    just published acts of the apostles and its prety damn cool and they got the first third of the book up. Anyone into techno cyber conspiracy thriller stuff should take a gander.

    I've emailed the author (he also owns the publishing company, which from the looks of things was made just for this one book)and he used to work at SUN and knows stuff about linux. hehe small world?
  • I tried reading "Neuromancer" but couldn't finish (this was several years ago so I don't remember why). More recently I read "Idoru" and was blown away by its near-complete mediocrity. The only half-way decent concept in the entire book was the virtual walled palace thing. Days later I read "Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson and encountered CryptNet so I keep getting the features of the two confused.
  • Gibson invented the term cyberspace.

    The way we use it today is a metaphor which refers to Gibson's books, not vice cersa
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht

  • by no_op ( 98128 ) on Tuesday October 19, 1999 @02:35PM (#1600605) Homepage
    Being the relative of a book store owner has its privileges! I finished an advanced uncorrected version of this book just a few weeks ago. I really thought it was great, as usual.

    Not to give too many spoilers away, but it is a continuation of Virtual Light and Idoru. Comparable, I think, to his first Trilogy. Lots of Berry Rydel and Chevette Washington. Not to mention the Golden Gate bridge and nanotechnology.

    An important part of the book deals with online watch trading, and I was remined of piece that gibson did for Wired a while back, about his obsesion with trading watches on eBay. Anywho, this book was really enjoyable and hard to put down. But what whould you expect from the sage/poet/bard/high priest of cyberspace?

  • William Gibson is, to me, the father of "Cyberpunk" and all of its offshoots. The story he did this with is called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," and is a very interesting, if dated, venture into Gibson's depressing vision of the future, which is and was very revolutionary stuff.

    Um, Philip K. Dick [] wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? [], which was later made into the movie Blade Runner []. The book in which Gibson coined the term "Cyberspace" was Neuromancer [].

  • Now, i've read three or four William Gibson books (Neuromancer was good, Idoru mediocre) but my main complaint is his lack of knowing how to end his novels (except Neuromancer, though a down ending, was interesting)

    But to my point, i just started reading a book based in the late eighties, and one of the two main charectors is a Computer Hacker on the run, cheesy right? well i thought it would be, but to my point, Drawing Blood by Poppy z.Brite, now it does have a lot of homosexual overtones, but it's still very well written horror and tech stuff, but doesn't try to mix them (yet)
  • Hell, I cringed when i read it. Where'd they find tha interviewer???
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Complete text to Gibson's Neuromancer novel online ... mancer.html
  • ...and Samuel R. Delany was there before about 15 years.
  • I guess that means that "Clockwork Orange" is against Communism and Russian perhaps even all Slavic languages hey boychik!!..............

    I have read all of Mr Gibson's works and did not find anything anti-asian rather I would say he is using the premise of large giant multi-corporations ruling the world. Hey look at some of the multi-national's in the world some of them are asian. With Japanese dominance of the world economy (don't you dare imply this is racist!) Mr Gibson used that as his model for showing us his vision of a New World Order

    Come on I bet your the person that thinks the Mark of Cain (in the Bible not the awesome band) has something to do with skin colour and therefore the whole Bible is racist by the way it is in Genesis (the book not the band)

    Just to let you know a couple of things I myself have to parents who where born in China and lived their for 17 years of their lives. So I'm not a racist if that is the way you want to take this!!

    Come on man idea's are idea's. Does that mean the book "FATHERLAND" about a post-WWII world where the Axis won is also racist!!! Come on

    Ignorance really is bliss

    All Hail Eris, All Hail Discordia!!!!
  • Where can I find out when/where William Gibson will be appearing on his book tour?

    I checked the PenguinPutnam site, but no joy. Help?!?!

  • A I think you are talking about "DO ANDROID'S DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?" by Philip K Dick. This is the book that Blade Runner is based on.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I seriously doubt the fact

    All Hail Eris, All Hail Discordia!!!!
  • Though I haven't read All Tomorrow's Parties yet, I've read the other two in the trilogy. This is supposed to be the best of the three. For those interested in a review, Science Fiction Weekly has just posted a lengthy one at: They also published a review by noted SF critic John Clute several issues ago.
  • You're obviously brain damaged. Any movie with Keanu Reeves AND Ice-Tee is garuanteed to be a joke. They totally blew it with the movie. The short story was a masterpiece.
  • Back in July Slashdot had a story about a movie version of Nueromancer [] complete with a link to a movie web site. Now the site is gone and there is only a brief referance to it in the article.


    Pavlov's Dog vs. Schrodinger's Cat
  • Shockwave Rider is a great book by the way, I believe it is in there that he talks about "tape worms" a concept that ashe describes it matches viri pretty closely.
  • I stubled upon an anthology of short stories last year called "After yesterday's Crash" edited by Larry McCaffery. It's one of my favorites now. Has a Gibson/G. G. Bridge story. pretty cool stuff. ISBN 0 14 02.4085 3

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gibson did not actually coin the term 'cyberspace' - although not popular, the term was used previously. From memory, I believe the person who did come up with the word was an English academic. What Gibson did do though, was apply the term to visualisation of data and processes, as opposed to a more arbitrary simulated environment.

    I have to say, though, that I love his work. I still get goosebumps at the end of Hinterlands.
  • There's a "sample" of his book "Acts of the Apostles" on his page. Actually the sample sums up to 99 pages (when dumped to printer).

    I wonder if any major book publishers would have allowed this?
  • But isn't any graphical interface going to be a 3D metaphor? I never thought Gibson was saying this was what the network itself was inherently like but only that this was the interface written for this particular implementation.

    Tangental thought: Ever read "Computers as Theatre"?

    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht

  • As the Welsh farmer said, "What are a few sheep between friends."

    You have your sheep mixed up. Blade Runner is based upon the Phillip K. Dick story, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep."

  • ... it's a feature!

    Your Xeon is morphing into a Y2K-compliant mode, that's all.

    See you at Abacus World Expo [].

  • > Would you give Neuromancer to a 15 year old to read?

    At least I was less then fifteen years old when I first read it, and I appreciated it. The recievers book taste is probably more important than his/her age.
  • Try The Cyberiad, by Stanislaw Lem, from 1967.
  • i have to disagree with the anti-asian sentiment. i thought that quite a few characters in gibson's stories that were of asian decent were shown quite positively. if anything, i'd think that white people where shown negatively (hence the whole tessier-ashpool disasters). but that is just my opinion.

    and a complete guide of gibson's work (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) would go like this:

    Burning Chrome
    Count Zero
    Mona Lisa Overdrive
    Virtual Light
    All Tomorrow's Parties
    The Difference Engine (w/ Bruce Sterling)

    if i forgot any... oops. :)

    "A 'no' uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a 'yes' merely uttered to please,
    or what is worse, to avoid trouble."
    -- Mahatma Ghandi
  • I agree mostly. But in defense, it was written in 1984 on a manual typewriter. He was (still?) computer illiterate when wrote it. A pretty amazing feat when viewed in this light.
  • A difficult read? Neuromancer? Are you sure we're talking about the same book?
  • I think that a 3D model for cyberspace is the easy to conceptualize for people, as that's how we perceive the real world. How we model the data of the net is completely arbitrary. I'm sure if someone wanted to write a visual portscan program that represented the data returned as a 3D brick wall with open ports being 'holes' in that wall they could. It's just we haven't quite reached the point where such visualization is very useful. As the amount of data increases, though, we'll have to find different methods of representing it efficiently.

  • Gibson is awesome. I need to get back to reading his stuff in the hopes
    that it's more like reading Neuromancer for the first time. :(

    The 3D metaphor for Cyberspace is really cool. I think it'd be great to
    have. We just need to get off our collective ass and start coding it,
    and get better 3D interface-type devices. If coding and hacking were more
    like Quake, maybe more people would be interested. (but still, only a few
    people would really care...) It exists because although Gibson didn't
    know much about computers, he was a visionary, and he knew what the new
    concepts were, and how to tell a story with them. He is what Jon Katz
    will never be. :)

    Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive are all great books.
    Burning Chrome had some really awesome stories in it, like the classic
    "Johnny Mnemonic" (at least Keanu redeemed himself in The Matrix by doing
    a cool Gibson-like movie and *not* screwing up one of Gibson's plots for
    once :) or "Fragments of a Hologram Rose". I wasn't thrilled by The
    Difference Engine (but maybe that was Sterling's fault... :) but it was
    a cool alternate-past idea. Virtual Light was okay, and then I stopped
    reading his stuff. Despite what people have said, I guess I should try to
    read Idoru.

    Who is Gibson? He's just this guy, you know. Skinny, glasses. He
    actually has a cameo in "Hackers", which is appropriate considering his
    fame and lack of actual computer knowledge. ;) (I remember him writing
    about when he got his Apple ][, he opened it up and was disappointed that
    there wasn't a pulsating crystal in there or something. That's Gibson.)
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else think Gibson is overrated?

    He deserves credit for Neuromancer simply for being the first cyberpunk author, but there are plenty who do it better than him now. (Neal Stephenson & Bruce(?) Sterling for two)

    His collabaration with Sterling on "The Difference Engine" (I think that was what it was called) was okay.

    Perhaps he is one of those authors (ala Larry Niven & Jerry Pournell (sp?)) who produces better work in colabaration.

    Talking of Larry Niven, how come we never see any reviews of his books on here? Even if Kim Stanely-Robinson is now the king of future histories, Niven is still the best hard SF author ever.

  • Except for "The Mote in God's Eye" I've never read any good books by Niven and/or Pournelle. Niven has some good short stories.

    I highly recomment Connie Willis (for funny, realistic, slice-of-life stuff) and Greg Egan (for well-thought out, hard-but-not-frozen stuff).
  • From the interview: []

    ``I'm stricken if I buy a new computer. I suffer terrible consumer remorse. I can hear it obsolescing in the trunk of the car.''

    My new Xeon obsolesced to an abacus in the drive home. ;)

  • The article was over-written, pompous and missed the mark altogether. (Other than the physical description of Bill Gibson -- which I can testify is accurate.) I imagine Gibson cringes when he reads it. Hell, it didn't even talk about his new book outside of a couple of off-hand references in a single paragraph!

    I have had a copy of 'All Tomorrow's Parties' on order for over a month now. It is vastly irritating that the publisher promised it for the beginning of October and not even Barnes and Nobles can get a copy. (I ordered from a local bookstore, gotta support 'em.) I guess I am gonna have to talk to some of my Seattle SF contacts and see if any of them have a galley copy they will loan me.

    Oh well. Bad article. Book not yet available. Half the posts here dissing Gibson or asking who he is...

    I need a vacation...


  • I got the book this weekend at the SF Bay Area book festival, got it signed, heard Gibson read Chapter 4 and talk about odds and ends of stuff and answer questions.

    He apologized and seemed embarassed that the Golden Gate got on the cover when the story revolves around the Bay Bridge.
  • This weekend he talked like he was going to be in New York and London and maybe Seattle or was else just in those places. Or maybe I was smoking crack or not paying attention cause I'm not in any of those places.
  • whoa. this is wild. it's there all right. no question about it. i'm psyched about that. how did it get there? is this legal? (copyrights etc) how does the author feel about this? well, i bought a copy of this a while back, so i've paid some some dues at least. now i can make links galore within the text. yay.
  • Sorry sorry sorry.

    I do not know how you can lump Gibson in the same category as Burrough's.

    Ever read Junkie etc..... Now that is an author, Gibson well his idea's are nice!!!
  • Well, you have to wade through the MacroMedia Flash presentation that they finally put up (a little after the fact for some dates). It resides at PenguinPutnam [].

    I'll save you the trouble:

    Date - City - Location

    Oct. 17 - San Francisco, CA - SF Book Festival

    Oct. 22 - Washinton, DC - Smithsonian Institute

    Oct. 25 - New York City - Barnes&Noble@Union Square

    Oct. 26 - Denver, CO - Tattered Cover / Denver Press Club Luncheon

    Oct. 28 - San Francisco, CA - Booksmith

    Oct. 29 - San Francisco, CA - Stacey's / Cody's

    Oct. 30 - Los Angeles, CA - Skylight Books

    Nov. 01 - Santa Monica, CA - Borders

    Nov. 03 - Portland, OR - Powell's

    Nov. 04 - Seattle, WA - Elliot Bay

    Nov. 05 - Seattle, WA - University Bookstore
  • There is a tendency on Gibson's part to reuse elements from smaller writing projects in his larger works.

    Skinner and the takeover of the Bay Bridge first appeared in "Skinner's Room", a short work written for the Visionary San Francisco exhibit in 1990. They then turned up in "Virtual Light".

    Along with the reused bits about watches, chapter 1 of "All Tomorrow's Parties" is called "Cardboard City" and has very clear ties to his short story "Thirteen Views of a Cardboard City" done for a New Worlds anthology in 1997.
  • Oh, yeah. There is a trend there.

    He's had references to the Velvet Underground, Steely Dan, Joy Division, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, etc. strewn throughout nearly all of his novels.

    He actually discusses it a little in part one of this interview [].
  • He's also a cool guy to have at parties.

    And underappreciated in his home town of Vancouver BC. I remember how much work it was getting the rest of the Westercon committee to agree to have him as our Guest of Honor.

  • I recognize that William Gibson has had a strong impact on our culture, but the question I always ask myself is "Why did it have to be him?".

    He seems like an arthouse poseur. He doesn't do a fraction of the research for his books that Neal Stephenson so obviously does, and he makes statements that place him firmly in the category of artists who produce garbage and try to pretend that nobody understands it. His books reek of contrived symbolism.

    In the SF convention circuit, they scramble to find earlier references to cyberspace concepts (Vernor Vinge's "True Names and Other Dangers" being a favorite) so nobody has to mention Gibson.

    Sadly, he did invent the term cyberspace, and did provide a vision for ideas that had been in the backs of our heads that we didn't know how to express ourselves. It's depressing that all that comes in the same package with the statement "If we did our jobs right, nobody will understand what we've done for 20 years." made about an abysmal book, "The Difference Engine".

  • WTF? The movie being better? Are we talking about the same story here?

    And I'm not talking about the piece of @#$% that they released after the move. (story->movie->story; that's a lot of chance to decrease your S/N ratio...)

    That was one of the best short stories I've ever read. (With the others in Burning Chrome just as good) The movie was nothing more than a half-hazard conglomeration of various tidbits from all his stories, with only a bit from the original short story.
  • I tried reading "Neuromancer" but couldn't finish

    That is your problem then. Gibson uses a very modern technique in his writing style, of not telling you all the details you need to know. One must read the entire story, parse it carefully, and understand later. It requires a lot of thought and analysis.

    I personally believe one needs to read Neuromancer three times:

    • Once for shock value.
    • Again for true plot comprehension. (as the things you learn at the end can explain the beginning)
    • And a third time for understanding

    Anyway, even if one never reads any of his other works, Neuromancer is worth it...

  • I'll volunteer that I certainly found it to be a fairly difficult read. And I read a lot.

    Mostly, what made it difficult for me is that I read very quickly (though I don't "speed read"), and Gibson has a rather interesting habit of having massive action happen in one line, sandwiched without fanfare between description that is relatively unimportant to the story.

    This isn't a bad thing, but it *does* make it more difficult to read.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984