William Gibson's new weblog
January 9, 2003 5:24 AM   Subscribe

William Gibson's weblog
Gibson, the man who popularized cyberpunk and who, through his invention of the word "cyberspace," may have been the first to assign the sense of space to network interactions (but who also gained a measure of early net.notoriety by shunning even email for years), began publishing a weblog a few days ago. Early topics include his thinking on "piracy," the physical perfection of form found in books, inspirations for his work, and the relationship of one well-regarded writer to grammar nazis.
posted by NortonDC (21 comments total)
via Boing Boing

He's a much better novelist/short story writer than he is a blogger -- there's not that many entries yet but Gibson writes about general-interest and personal stuff in a not very interesting way -- at least if you've already read a few interviews and you're familiar with his work.

speaking of famous people's blogs, director Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction co-screenwriter) at least sometimes links to interesting stuff
posted by matteo at 5:31 AM on January 9, 2003

No, it's via Warren Ellis's Die Puny Humans. I don't frequent boing boing.
posted by NortonDC at 5:39 AM on January 9, 2003

so, indirectly, this is the guy who is responsible for atrocities like "blogosphere", "hispanosphere", and owillisphere? kill the sumbitch!
posted by quonsar at 5:49 AM on January 9, 2003

*jumps all over quonsar and pummels him mercilessly, all the while struggling to genuflect in La Gibson's general direction*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:19 AM on January 9, 2003

"You could have sex relatively comfortably on a platform of books, but not on a platform of PDA’s. "

Good point. The problem with Gibson is that, although he tries hard to appear noncommittal etc, he's too vain and too much of a namedropper-- traits that generally make for a poor blogger. The way he starts his posts with "someone writes to ask about" etc etc is slightly annoying as well.
He's our middlebrow sf writer du jour, so I guess his blog may have a certain significance. It's up to him.

ps:I don't buy his "hey, my grammatical errors are intentional" argument either.
(This link has been featured in LinkMachinego too, btw.)
posted by 111 at 6:35 AM on January 9, 2003

I thought it was great. Thanks for the link, NortonDC.
posted by iconomy at 6:47 AM on January 9, 2003

Qualifying: Great, as in "a great time was had while reading it". Not great, as in "epic proportions". It wasn't that great ;)
posted by iconomy at 6:53 AM on January 9, 2003

since he has a new novel coming out this all seems a little bit icky. how many months after it's released will he still be posting?
posted by andrew cooke at 7:05 AM on January 9, 2003

You're all a bunch of cynics.

I think once he gets some more content, it should be an interesting visit into the mind of a writer, regardless of what you think of his qualifications.

I mean, he may not be a Wil Wheaton, but give him a chance.
posted by rich at 7:25 AM on January 9, 2003

Just to clarify, Gibson did not invent either the term "cyberpunk" or "cyberspace." The latter he lifted from mathematician Norbert Weiner, who is considered the founder of the field of cybernetics; the former was first used in 1980 in a short story of the same name by author Bruce Bethke, and later used by editor Gardner Dozois to describe the work of Gibson, Bruce Sterline, Greg Bear, Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan, and some other authors.

since he has a new novel coming out this all seems a little bit icky. how many months after it's released will he still be posting?

Hmm. Gibson has gone on the record in interviews several times describing himself as a "technophobe." He typed Neuromancer on an IBM Selectric. He by his own admission uses computers rarely and dislikes them for his work. I would guess this blog is a sop to his publisher. His last books were excellent and showed a real maturity and thematic and literary growth, but were not as well received as the "Sprawl" series. Like Grunge music, Cyberpunk SF represented/crystalized the thought of a certain group at a certain place at a certain time, but is now as antiquated and (subsequently) irrelevant as, say, Pearl Jam's latest album.
posted by UncleFes at 9:04 AM on January 9, 2003


I still like Gibson, although this is not an exceptional blog. However, it's not bad, either. And I don't think Gibson is as much a technophobe as all that, either. He's written a few things for Wired, and been written about there, which seem to me to imply that he has a great respect for technology that is not limited to the cutting edge but includes vintage clockworks and so on.

Gibson was the precursor to Stephenson and the Matrix and all the post-Singularity sf we've got floating around now (i.e., some of Cory Doctorow's stuff). Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is certainly debatable, but the fact is that Gibson's early work — including Neuromancer, including damn near every story in Burning Chrome — is still a phenomenal read and helped the computer/online community to be able to see itself as a cohesive and valid subculture.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:38 AM on January 9, 2003

Stavros: I don't think Gibson's gonna like your genuflecting at his wife.
posted by languagehat at 9:52 AM on January 9, 2003 [1 favorite]

UncleFes - I find no evidence that Weiner used the word "cyberspace" before Gibson. I'd very much appreciate any evidence you can point to.

As far as I can tell, the word "cyberspace" is Gibson's invention.
posted by NortonDC at 9:58 AM on January 9, 2003 [1 favorite]

UncleFes, Gibson himself says (near the bottom):
Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn't been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life. I only used a typewriter because that was what everyone used in 1977, and it was manual because that was what I happened to have been able to get, for free. I did avoid the Internet, but only until the advent of the Web turned it into such a magnificent opportunity to waste time that I could no longer resist. Today I probably spend as much time there as I do anywhere...
posted by Songdog at 10:15 AM on January 9, 2003

Yeah Uncle Fez, give it up -- Gibson coined the term in '80 in a short story. And you didn't even mention Vernor Vinge's TrueNames which really began it all! But he didn't s p e l l i t o u t . . . .

Hat tip to Gardner though, I'd believe that about "cyberpunk."

Gibson, Sterling, Bear, Rucker, Vinge, Banks (kinda), Shirley, Shiner, Stephenson, Maddox, Cadigan, Melville, Gunn, Womack, Hamilton (kinda). Shane Dix/Sean Williams! Alister Reynolds. Ken Macleod. Eric Nylund! Alexander Besher! Tad Williams....

I love sci-fi.
posted by acutetype at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2003

NortonDC & acutetype: My understanding is that Weiner first used the term in his book "Cybernetics" but I could be in error on that, I don't have the book in front of me. Songdog, I've read previously (an article in Wired several years back, another in an anthology of SF writers, I'd have to check my thesis bib) the item about the typewriter. But if he says it hasn't been true since 1985, and Neuromancer was published in 1984, then maybe we're both correct. Gibson has something of an interst in playing down the Ludd-y ethos he previous seemed to perpetrate, in light of his Patron Saint of Cyberpunk status.

imo, Sterling was always the real patron saint of cyberpunk, and still is, a visionary thinker and seminal technocrat. Gibson is a prose stylist - and DAMN good one, but not the visionary that he seems to often get credit for.
posted by UncleFes at 11:58 AM on January 9, 2003

*checks acutetypes link*

I'll be damned. I stand corrected! *bows*

I always saw Vinge as more a traditional thematicist than a cyberpunk, although he certainly incorporated some cp elements. Sort of like Iain Bank's Culture stuff - space opera with postmodern sensibilities, where cp was distilled dystopiac postmodernism.

*adopts snooty grad school mein, moons crowd*
posted by UncleFes at 12:05 PM on January 9, 2003

At the wedding, instead of rice, they'll be throwing microchips
posted by troutfishing at 12:55 PM on January 9, 2003

Motorola or Intel?
posted by matteo at 1:02 PM on January 9, 2003

It's fun to watch bloggers wag their tails every time a meatspace-certified celebrity fails to confect a transcendent blog.
posted by Opus Dark at 2:10 PM on January 9, 2003

No prob Uncle -- not like ANY source is definitive these days, but I do admire William.

AND I COMPLETELY AGREE that William is just an incredible stylist but that yes, Bruce can really get your brain tingling! For all my admiration though, if put to name my top three favs, Vinge knocks off Sterling. And yep, Banks is right there in front of Vinge.... Gibson, Banks, Vinge ... then Sterling and Bear...
posted by acutetype at 4:10 PM on January 11, 2003

« Older The Murder of Emmett Till   |   tokuya coughing Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments