William Gibson talks to Wired
William Gibson's 1984 novel "Neuromancer" established him as one of science fiction's great, most prescient voices, and he's never slowed down. He's continued writing fiction, of course. For a long time, he blogged, but he traded that in for Twitter. He's one of the few authors of his generation who really gets it -- he's @GreatDismal, and has more than 70,000 followers.
His latest book, released in January, is something different still. "Distrust That Particular Flavor" is a collection of Gibson's nonfiction essays. He talked to Wired Magazine -- where some of his pieces first appeared -- about the book, aging futurists and more. Gibson says:
Futurists get to a certain age and, as one does, they suddenly recognize their own mortality, and they often decide that what’s going on is that everything is just totally screwed and shabby now, whereas when they were younger everything was better.
It’s an ancient, somewhat universal human attitude, and often they give it full voice. But it’s been being given voice for thousands and thousands of years. You can go back and see the ancient Greeks doing it. You know, “All that is good is gone. These young people are incapable of making art, or blue jeans, or whatever.” It’s just an ancient thing, and it’s so ancient that I’m inclined to think it’s never actually true. And I’ve always been deeply, deeply distrustful of anybody’s “golden age” — that one in which we no longer live.
Gibson's interview marks the launch of the new Wired podcast, The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy. That's all I know about it, but I hope they continue speaking to authors.
After the jump, an anecdote from the podcast in which Gibson gets the Hollywood treatment.
From Wired's podcast with William Gibson:
Wired: So when I first started going to science fiction conventions, I heard this funny story involving you, and I’ve never been sure whether it was true or if it happened the way I heard it, and I was just wondering if you knew what I was talking about. It was this story where you go to a hotel to check in, and you say, “Hi, I’m Mr. Gibson‚” and everyone acts all shocked at the hotel.
Gibson: It was the Beverly Hills Hotel, and, I don’t know, somebody had checked me in. It was something film-related. It was when I had started doing some contract screenplay work after that "Alien 3" script. So I got there, and they were like, you know, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The desk people just looked gobsmacked and really unhappy. So the bellman takes me up to this very fancy suite, and in the suite there’s a table lavishly arrayed with very expensive wines and liquors and floral displays, and a big thing that says: “The Beverly Hills Hotel welcomes Mel Gibson.”
Gibson: And so I looked at the bellman, and I said, you know, “I’m not him, you can take this stuff away.” And he said, “No, no, you get to keep it.” And I said, “What am I supposed to do with it?” And he said, “Call some friends, have a party.”
Look for our review of William Gibson's "Distrust That Particular Flavor" in the books pages of this Sunday's L.A. Times.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: William Gibson in 2003. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times