A fan: "You're either paying homage to Gibson, which is weird because the two books are in different genres and he isn't mentioned in the acknowledgements, or perhaps there's some manner of Jungian collective unconscious phenomenon at work here, in which you have unwittingly mimicked Gibson, or..?"
Neil Gaiman: "Or it was a very small joke, essentially pointing out that since what is arguably the most famous opening sentence in SF was published in 1984, the nature of what a "dead channel" looked like had completely changed, from grey static fuzz to a pure dead blue. Well, I thought it was funny, anyway."
Most often purchased with [Off: Vanishing dot], [Stand by mysterious hum], [wired VCR controller (comes with 3 feet of wire)], [bad signal - signal degrades depending on weather]
We already have [Static app] in some devices, which apparently play some sort short video recording of static. So now we get static with DCT compression artifacts.
But now I need an excuse to write, "He had a heart like a text message, phoning in his emotions like a telegraph."
We could see that at the terminator, at the boundary between the black part of the moon and the lighted part of the moon. It was as if you were looking at a television set with the contrast turned to full contrast, very black and very white.
from http://youtu.be/PtdcdxvNI1o?t=1m30s Sky At Night BBC 1970 , Neil Armstrong & Patrick Moore
all I will need to do is add a hiss sound
> These people figured video was the Lord's preferred means of communicating, the screen itself a kind of perpetually burning bush.
1. White noise.
The whole Sprawl trilogy is fantastic, and while I agree with other commenters here that Gibson's subsequent novels have become somewhat less awesome, it's hard to complain too much about that if you believe, as I do, that the author in question's first attempt resulted in the best novel of all time.
Still, Neuromancer is indisputably dated, as any such work would inevitably be, so I am glad to have originally read it in the 1980s.
I was surprised by how strongly it evokes this sort of late-80s oppressive paranoia though. A reminder/argument for science fiction as a lens on contemporary society I suppose.
But a glaring example, as Gibson himself has mentioned, is that lack of cell phones. In fact, once of the most powerful scenes in the novel -- that I remember raising the hairs on the back of my neck as a read it -- involves the AI, Wintermute, wanting badly to talk to Case. Case is walking through an airport, past a bank of payphones, and the AI causes each phone to ring in turn as he passes it.
There aren't even long banks of cellphones in airports anymore, but that notwithstanding, why wouldn't Case and Molly and everybody have cellphones, in this future-world where they have fully immersive VR interfaces to the matrix?
Of course they would. But you can't really hold that agains the decades-old novel... especially since it was so remarkably prescient in so many ways.
Not only sci-fi, all of them - romances, dramas, action movies - it's very common to build drama by showing people doing something wrong because the other person can't tell them they are mistaken, or because they can't remember something and have to go to library or ask friend/old monk/whatever.
It's completely different world we're living, despite no hoverboards.
Indeed, now days you could still have dramatic tension by showing the character being distracted by some new attention seeking appliance.
This was an intensely connected future. But it was an intensely connected future hooked together by <em>wires</em>.
I've read science fiction most of my life. I grew up in a 70s and 80s that looked absolutely nothing like what books from the 60s predicted. And now that the twenty-teens looks nothing like what books in the 90s predicted, I'm not surprised. SF is about asking "what if", not saying "I think this will be". And it is especially prone to making good guesses about a few things, and looking incredibly silly because the author failed to anticipate some out-of-left-field thing that made a huge change in how society works.
(It does, however, never cease to amuse me that the polyamorous, legal-dope-smoking societies I laughed at in 60s books is pretty much what I live in now that I'm an adult in 2015 Seattle. I'm not sure how much of that can just be chalked up to moving from "kid in the South" to "grownup on the West Coast" though. But I digress. Probably because of that legal dope.)
Hell, even today, three megs of RAM can be pretty expensive: http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMI-2MB-Premium-RAM-Card-for-HP-48GX...
We've got viruses to attack physical infrastructure, a Beijing that looks not unlike Gibson's Tokyo, billionaires beginning to create their orbital empires, and even the 'trodes. Search for TDCS. It's not an interface technology, but it's close enough.
The politics are also dead on. This is looking more and more like Gibson's post nation state "criminal age," with elite criminality and corrupt intelligence agencies mixing with corporate power to form a global postmodern nihilistic meta-state.
Nobody feels inclined to hide or dispute the blatantly corporate government; relatively inconsequential people know the intimate details of corporate corruption. There are no real "politics" as they relate to most people, merely figures of power moving pieces on a chessboard in full view for those who care to watch.
Makes me wonder if people who "get shit done" operate on that sort of do-or-die mental state, or how long it's possible to put yourself in that mental state without either burning out or breaking down. I've read similar anecdotes from people like John Carmack and Richard Feynman (again, pressurized during WWII).
It's almost like we're operating at 50% efficiency, maybe we go to 75% when we're really focusing, but actually only when we're in the self-preservation state, we go to 90+%
It however influenced so much good stuff,like Ghost in the shell which is basically the same plot,Deus ex and others.
I enjoyed the audio-book read by Gibson itself,it was excellent.
Me too. For others who might be curious, it can be obtained from . The source is legally dubious, but Gibson's narration doesn't seem to be commercially available at the moment.
Having Neuromancer turn out that way would be incredibly disappointing.
The books have gotten thicker, artier, more self-indulgent, and weaker.
I'm sure he'd like to recapture the magic he had at 34, but maybe it requires the fear he spoke of. And an absolute ignorance about computers and networks.
I think it shares more with The Maltese Falcon than with any SciFi.
Saw WG complaining about GamerGate recently and thought how much he's aged, and how ungracefully, since GG and Operation Disrespectful Nod reminded me of the Panther Moderns.
Personally, I think his Bigend Trilogy is every bit the equal of his Sprawl Trilogy. Extraordinarily perceptive about the contemporary world and the way our social lives have changed over the last 15 years, in both scope and in experience.
I'm not crazy about his Bridge Trilogy, though it has its moments. Overall, I think those were his weakest books.
The Peripheral also sort of underwhelmed me. I liked the near-ish future, with the look at how hopeless redneck-ville would be affected by technological and economic trends. There's a mix of the past and the present (our present and our future) in those bits that plays quite nicely and feels very real. His far-future London, though, felt very under-imagined. I don't think it went far enough. I also think he tried something interesting with hicks being just as dangerous as the sophisticates, but it didn't quite gel the way I think he meant it too. Still, it's not a bad book, it's just not as good as I'd hoped.
Sadly however, I'm having trouble with The Peripheral (his latest), maybe it'll grab me but it has yet to do so.
What about his opinion on GamerGate troubled you?
The thought that runs through my mind whenever I read his non matrix stuff is "what the hell am I reading and why am I spending time on it?"
I realize it doesn't matter if I like the books or not, other people obviously do. I'm just jealous because I enjoyed the early books so much, and they were so influential in my life. I wish I could like his more recent works, but they just aren't for me.
The more recent novels are more tempered by demonstrating the present is a strange and wonderful place that is accessible in our own lives. That requires a non-aggressive feel.
I like both. The futurism and technophilia and edginess is more inspiring in work. I feel more bad ass. The modern day is wonderful novels remind me of the joy of living now and that I can actually live the dream I want.
Also, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are slightly similar, but much less intense.
I think of cyberpunk, and an awareness of what it talks about as more of a tool for understanding the changing world, in a similar way that 1984 helps provide mental tools for understanding the world.
As to Idoru, I definitely remembered it when the AKB48 news came out some time ago: http://ksfm.cbslocal.com/2011/06/24/new-member-of-japanese-p...
The investment banking/mad max one is an absolute hoot as well.
I sometimes wonder if they'll ever make films of them. It would be good. They'd be pretty hardcore though.
Both are not necessarily cyberpunk (at least not through and through), but they both give off that same raw vibe that I get from Neuromancer.
Not sure if it was longer or shorter myself, though. I remember Neuromancer being quite a thin paperback as a kid, but The Peripheral was an even thinner Kindle app on a smartphone and read easily in a couple days. He didn't get into any weird iffy computer existences like in the past which were always a bit of a stretch, so he seems to have dropped some of the self-indulgent stuff you are complaining about maybe.
He could have easily gone just as mysterious about the Chinese server or the crime analyzing algorithms in The Peripheral as he did about the Japanese previously, but he just left it alone, much to the book's benefit.
Gibson, in the Sprawl trilogy (probably his best works), and the associated short stories, used to do a much better job of focusing on the characters. You usually had some lower-class or poor folks scurrying about, trying to eke out a living. I likened it to a friend once as ants fighting on the edges of glaciers: fierce, crude, and utterly inconsequential in the orbits of their environs.
The problem I had with Peripheral, as well as with Zero History, is that he's fallen into "Oh, hey, here's a bunch of rich people--so super rich you can't even imagine--and they'll just deus ex machina everything along". I hate that.
In the earlier works, those characters (the dim spectre of Maas Biotech, or the Tessier-Ashpool for example) are just background threads, occasionally injecting events or setting the stage, and focus is kept on the minions and protagonists. In Peripheral, the real badguy is just dull "oh and then this evil thing happened", and the rich people are kind of separated from any of the action and stakes that matter. Indeed, the central conceit of the story is such that, by definition, there is no real impact beyond a slightly-higher-than-normal gentleman's game going on.
Contrast this with Case, or Armitage, or Automatic Jack, or any of those characters in the Sprawl verse. Those characters occasionally directly deal with high-up powers, constantly get used by them, and are fully aware of it, and yet there is the very real chance that maybe--just maybe, if they play their cards right--they could perhaps get a slim chance to act instead of react. No such setup is available in Peripheral.
Moreover, I'm really disappointed in the way that Homes and the veteran stuff is handled. Like, I kind of dig the "haptic veterans" human refuse thing, I get some of the used-world feel, but honestly it all feels kind of phoned in. Contrast this with what Stephenson pulled off twenty years ago, or even what Gibson himself pulled off in Count Zero. Like, the notes are there, but there's no soul behind it.
I wonder how much of this tendency could just be explained by Gibson's success. "When you were poor and unknown, you wrote about poor, unknown people. Now you're rich and famous, so you write about rich, famous people."
There are very few writers whose work has been improved by massive infusions of money and fame, after all.
Scoring a big hit like that when you're young sure sucks, everybody will be disappointed in your forever after.
Nah, you just need to have the right attitude about it; see Joseph Heller: "When an interviewer told Mr. Heller that he had never written anything as good as 'Catch-22,' the author shot back, 'Who has?'"
That's interesting, I always felt that Count Zero was the best of that trilogy. Neuromancer to me felt like he hadn't quite found his pacing yet, and the characterization in CZ was much fuller.
I quite enjoyed his essay book "Distrust that particular flavor", and I just read The Peripheral and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Nothing genre-expanding, but solid, and has good ideas.
He questions whether the writers actually get better over time, as a rule. His conclusion is: not necessarily, because they are not getting the feedback.
NB: fimfiction now accounts for 2-3% as much reading as do all of the new books sold in America? http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/401563/we-are-the-twoandahalf...
* PSA: Zero History. It was called Zero History.
Everything after that may be written as well or better, but they simply aren't stories I want to spend my time on.
I'm not really seeing why this (or the fedora squad) is something to be welcomed.
“Is it going to be OK?” I asked, my anxiety phrasing the
question. He paused on the stair, gave me a brief,
memorably odd look, then smiled. “Yes,” he said, “I
definitely think it will,”