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William Gibson answers questions
April 12, 2010 8:02 AM   Subscribe

William Gibson has been taking questions on his long-dormant blog since March 31st and continued until today. Some favorites, Gibson talking about: how writing is hard, that he started watching The Wire because of the shipping containers, George Bush's raincoat and his first attempt at fiction.
posted by Kattullus (22 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
His blog may be dormant, but his twitter feed is very active.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:18 AM on April 12, 2010


Q Can you speak about the delights of getting to know your kids as they mature, without alienating your kids in public?

A I wouldn't want to. As parent, it would feel insufficiently respectful, and as writer, potentially cheesy.


Well said and classy. Good on him.
posted by jquinby at 8:19 AM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


and his first attempt at fiction.

Woah, I had a moment there when I thought this implied that his writing up to now was non-fiction. That scared me a little.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:28 AM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I do enjoy reading about the "process" of writing; makes me feel better and less crazy.
posted by Mister_A at 8:29 AM on April 12, 2010


This is excellent. Thank you.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:31 AM on April 12, 2010


Love the bit about Bush's raincoat:

I was really delighted, for instance, to learn who made George Bush's raincoats. A company in Little Rock (now extinct, alas) but they were made of Ventile, a British cotton so tightly woven that you can make fire hoses (and RAF ocean survival suits) out of it. Which exists because Churchill demanded it, because the Germans had all the flax production sewn up. No flax, no fire hoses for the Blitz. The cultural complexities that put that particular material on Bush's back delight me deeply; it's a kind of secret history (and not least because most people would find it fantastically boring, I imagine).
posted by D at 8:35 AM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Very cool.
posted by marginaliana at 8:52 AM on April 12, 2010


If Gibson was a mefite, he could have posted this to Projects 12 days ago. Natch.
posted by parmanparman at 9:29 AM on April 12, 2010


" dried corn rattling into a galvanized bucket."

Almost as good as

"The color of television, tuned to an dead channel"
posted by humboldt32 at 9:46 AM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


His blog may be dormant, but his twitter feed is very active.

I subscribed to his Twitter feed thinking, "Cool! William Gibson's Twitter Feed!"

However, it's just as spammy and idiotic as any other self-promoting "social media maven" marketer out there. It's so disappointing.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:57 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: However, it's just as spammy and idiotic as any other self-promoting "social media maven" marketer out there. It's so disappointing.

Yeah, I used to read his twitterfeed too, and it's interesting inasmuch as it is a catalog of what he reads and watches on the internet, but what William Gibson experiences isn't nearly as interesting as how he synthesizes those experiences and turns them into fiction.
posted by Kattullus at 10:02 AM on April 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


His fondness for brand names can be annoying; at a local reading, a friend noted that he didn't always pronounce them properly.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:13 AM on April 12, 2010


There are things I don't like about William Gibson. I thought I'd come to this thread and share them.
posted by mecran01 at 11:29 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


but what William Gibson experiences isn't nearly as interesting as how he synthesizes those experiences and turns them into fiction.

Being a Vancouver based, reasonably cool (in my own mind at least) young adult in the late 70s, early 80s, I'm pretty sure I had all manner of run-ins, near-misses etc with Mr. Gibson. Not that I had any idea who he was, just the notion (based on reading his fiction) that he had to have been there at various art parties, punk rock gigs, "situations". I mean, I knew (and still do, sort of) the REAL Lupus Yonderboy (he'd show up at warehouse gigs in a full Nazi SS outfit, stand at the back of the room and "Zeig-Heil" the band), and another friend swears Gibson was the tall, geeky writer-dude in the "next loft" who only ever spoke to him that one time when he (Gibson) politely requested that my friend please not play the new Ramones album a seventh time in a row at MAX volume.

Anyway, my point here is I'm a writer, too. So how come, given our common cultural milieu and experience way back when, his name's world famous and I'm not even really philip-random? I guess it's in the synthesizing.
posted by philip-random at 1:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Gibson was a mefite

Hmmm. If.
posted by mek at 3:17 PM on April 12, 2010


William Gibson, I'm a big fan and everything, but could you please, at some point or another, write another science fiction novel? I'm jonesin' over here.
posted by zardoz at 5:56 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


@zardov As Mr. Gibson once said regarding science fiction: "The future is already here; it's just unequally distributed."
posted by digitalprimate at 6:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always thought that Gibson's logical successor in the cyberpunk "high-tech, low-life" milieu was Richard K. Morgan, of Takeshi Kovacs fame.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 8:02 PM on April 12, 2010


I'm a gigantic William Gibson fan too, but I have to say, as I've gotten older, my perspective has changed. I know I will take some abuse for this here, but it seems like there's no gravity in any of his novels. That is to say,

- no one seems to be grinding out a day job, or ever even to care about money (few exceptions here)
- no one seems to be married, or to have family they care about at all, or be "dating" per se
- 'normal' old people seem absent
- no one has to take care of a kid - in fact, kids seem not to be present at all
- rich people seem omnipresent and always obsessed with tremendously trivial and obscure stuff - in abject opposition to the rich people we are exposed to in the media (Donald Trump, Steve Jobs) who apparently are only obsessed with making more money
- no one wears pajamas, does the dishes, takes out the garbage, weeds the garden

Some amount of futurity is recognizing that some features, behaviors, etc of the human condition are, arguably, more-or-less constant. I realize no one does the dishes in Ian Fleming novels also. Maybe it's because I expect more of Mr. Gibson than other writers or maybe simply that I've read everthing Gibson's written, but I feel like his character writing hasn't really developed much over the years and in fact, over time, certain templates have emerged again and again.

Having said all that, I too am jonesing for another real science-fiction novel.
posted by newdaddy at 8:18 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


newdaddy: - no one seems to be grinding out a day job, or ever even to care about money (few exceptions here)
- no one seems to be married, or to have family they care about at all, or be "dating" per se
[...]
- no one has to take care of a kid - in fact, kids seem not to be present at all


I can't find the exact quote but I remember Gibson saying in an interview once something along the lines that he self-consciously wrote about outlaws because an outsider can view society in different ways from those fully invested in it.
posted by Kattullus at 8:25 PM on April 12, 2010


Newdaddy, I have my issues with Gibson, but that total floating world of high-end art and business or crime is one of the draws. When I wanna read about domestic or everyday stuff (with or without the SF gloss) I read someone else. When I want to read about someone who chooses colors for a new line of Japanese Oxygen bars that are secretly running tests on customers with different gas ratios with lots of heavy object fetishism, I pick up a Gibson.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


But it would be very cool if he did write a kid's story. Sort of SPY KIDS except sci-fi accurate.
posted by philip-random at 11:02 AM on April 13, 2010


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