What is perhaps most significant about Gibson’s fiction, then, is what he chooses not to write about. None of his nine novels has been set in a world that requires the annihilation of our own to make narrative sense. The end of the world is nowhere to be found. Instead, there are constellations of possible futures, each of them requiring far more imagination to look at with open eyes than any dystopian fairy tale.
This essay is hardly just about Gibson's writing, though.
This essay is bullshit.
The modern working world had made a joke of the gritty, glittering “cyber” future William Gibson once imagined, and now it was attempting to sell it back to us.
Fuckin' nothing glitters in Gibson's writing.
None of his nine novels has been set in a world that requires the annihilation of our own to make narrative sense.
Argument made by Bruce Sterling as early as 1984, when none of his one novel was set in a world that required the annihilation of our own.
I routinely found myself wondering: What was the point? Why we were investing so much energy in this fictional future, this increasingly alien world of tech implants and floating cities and exciting angular haircuts, when it’s hard enough to live in the present on $7 an hour?
We aren't. The author describes a driftwood curio mercado corner of the world built on fetishization of dead tech. The otaku kids haven't been relevant, well, ever.
Reading early Gibson today is fascinating in the way that collecting vintage watches would be fascinating: one is struck by a sense of time stilled and held in the hand, of possible futures frozen and suspended as technology brings new ones into being.
Is that why the author lampoons the speech in a painfully-overwrought attempt at Gibsonization? Check it:
Everything about this book is existentially absurd.
But then, so are you, reading these words through the damp flesh meniscus of the eyes you were born with, from a backlit screen skinning a device that contains more computing power than the first moon shuttle. So am I, writing them on my smartphone on a rattling New York subway train deep underground. What we’re doing right now is patently absurd, splendidly quotidian and unlikely, and yet this is how we communicate, you and me.
"Damp flesh meniscus" is a phrase used by a mediocre writer attempting to ape a better one.