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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


William Gibson at University Book Store

In the 1980s, William Gibson allegedly coined the term "cyberspace," which nobody besides your parents has used in conversation for at least five years. But, as Stranger critic Steven Shaviro pointed out in a March 2003 review of Pattern Recognition, Gibson is probably the first writer to use "Google" as a verb. In his newest thriller, Spook Country, he's one of the first to realistically capture the antigovernment techno-paranoia of the first decade of the new millennium. Most sci-fi authors are still trying to catch up to Gibson, and after 30 years, none of them has come close. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. 7 pm, free.)


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I will so fucking be there.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 3, 2008 11:20 AM

"In the 1980s, William Gibson allegedly coined the term "cyberspace," which nobody besides your parents has used in conversation for at least five years."

You know what is so funny about Slog? I keep forgetting, in the words of Bob Dylan (famous folk/rock singer from the 1960s) that "I didn't realize how young you were."

I read passages about "your parents" with a start as I realize that my parents have been dead for decades and that many of the readers and writers here could be my grandchildren.

"This is it. Go for it. Be here now."

Posted by David Sucher | June 3, 2008 11:35 AM

Btw, that's "funny" in a good way.

Posted by David Sucher | June 3, 2008 11:38 AM

David, I was born in 1986.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 3, 2008 11:39 AM

Is it going to be crowded?

Posted by elenchos | June 3, 2008 11:40 AM

Gibson's great and all, but Charlie Stross and Neal Stephenson would like to have a word with you about hyperbole.

Posted by Nat | June 3, 2008 11:47 AM

Hyperbole is what you get when there's an infection in the Cybernetic World Tree.

The bole just keeps growing, extending into hyperspace, and the dimensional branches frequently result in flowering shrubs you can almost see out of the corner of your eye, if you're not looking.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 3, 2008 12:03 PM

Stross is a pretty good writer, but he's not at Gibson's usual level. Neal Stephenson is a self-indulgent hack.

Posted by Cascadian | June 3, 2008 12:25 PM

Any truth to the rumor that Kim Gordon will be there, singing an acapella version of "Pattern Recognition"?

Posted by Jeff Stevens | June 3, 2008 12:33 PM

First, as much as I love "Spook Country", "Pattern Recognition" is far superior. And as much as I have enjoyed the joyride that is Charles Stross, Gibson's achievement is that in Pattern Recognition he wrote through the genre and back into literature. Gibson's oeuvre starts futuristic and techno, and he gradually works his way back, in these last two novels, to today.

His best line ever: "The future is here. Its just not evenly distributed yet."

And I must unfortunately agree with Cascadian that, Cryptonimicon aside, Stephenson needs a serious dose of perspective.

Mr. Poe, how I loathe your youth, coupled with your verve. Just as I feel I am hitting my stride, I look up to see you sprinting away.

And based on the vapid "Star Wars" reading I took my son to last week at the U book store, it will be pretty full. Even though the book has been out for . . . a year? 18 months?

Posted by rtm | June 3, 2008 1:27 PM

The term cyberspace seems a bit dated now, but it's worth noting that the concept is not. We talk about going to and visiting web sites, seeing people online, talking with people *in* chat spaces, etc. It now seems natural and normal to think of these as places where things happen, when they are actually nothing of the kind. The idea has become our model of reality. Gibson was way ahead of that wave and helped steer our thinking in that direction.

Posted by pox | June 3, 2008 1:42 PM

Good times!
Gibson is an interesting guy. He seems a little confounded by his position in the world, the status he has attained, but he takes it all in and rolls with it.

Posted by Jamey | June 3, 2008 10:11 PM

William Gibson is a hack, but a useful one.

Posted by Greg | June 4, 2008 11:14 AM

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