William Gibson and Cyberspace

Clockwork OrangeI just don’t relate to the work of William Gibson. I tried and unlike my aborted experiment with Anne Rice, I didn’t hate Gibson’s writing … it just didn’t seem to be worth spending my time reading. This puzzles me: how different is Gibson from some of the Bizarro Fiction I read and enjoy?

Gibson’s work in the Sprawl Trilogy revolves around and exists in a future reality where the geopolitical world as we know it has changed drastically and where alternate worlds are available in what is now commonly called Cyberspace. Do you think that my ho-hum reaction to Gibson is the result of the contemporary reality that new and exciting ideas become over-used and tedious in a shorter and shorter time? Shoot, I couldn’t even watch those Matrix movies: they didn’t hold my interest.

Why does Science Fiction seem so boring when objectively it would seem that Science Fiction would be stimulating and thought provoking? For me it’s like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, strapped to a chair with my eyes propped open except I’m being forced to watch the long version of Dune over and over again.

I think I’m going to jump ahead to Gibson’s latest novel and give him one more chance (it might be, as they say, novel).

Here is a quick view of Gibson’s work as published in Wikipedia:

Novels

Sprawl trilogy:

  • Neuromancer (1984)
  • Count Zero (1986)
  • Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988)

The Difference Engine (1990; with Bruce Sterling)

Bridge trilogy:

  • Virtual Light (1993)
  • Idoru (1996)
  • All Tomorrow’s Parties (1999)

Blue Ant trilogy (Hubertus Bigend):

  • Pattern Recognition (2003)
  • Spook Country (2007)
  • Zero History (2010)

The Peripheral (2014)

Short stories

  • Burning Chrome (1986, preface by Bruce Sterling), collects Gibson’s early short fiction, listed by original publication date:
  • “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” (1977, UnEarth 3)
  • “Johnny Mnemonic” (1981, Omni)
  • “The Gernsback Continuum” (1981, Universe 11)
  • “Hinterlands” (1981, Omni)
  • “New Rose Hotel” (1981, Omni)
  • “The Belonging Kind”, with John Shirley (1981, Shadows 4)
  • “Burning Chrome” (1982, Omni)
  • “Red Star, Winter Orbit”, with Bruce Sterling (1983, Omni)
  • “The Winter Market” (Nov 1985, Vancouver)
  • “Dogfight”, with Michael Swanwick (1985, Omni)
  • “Skinner’s Room” (Nov 1991, Omni)

Nonfiction

  • Agrippa (a book of the dead) (1992) – a poem and artist’s book
  • Distrust That Particular Flavor (2012)
  • “Disneyland with the Death Penalty” – a 1993 Wired article

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