Godfather of cyberpunk dabbles in low-life aesthetics
This article is from 2007.
For his new novel Spook Country, William Gibson has written a frightening dispatch from the zeitgeist with a plot that’s as outlandish as the technical and cultural details are convincing. The subliminal hum of Gibson’s influence will doubtless ensure aspects of this book come to pass, as they have with his previous science fiction, so look forward to a semi-familiar world of electronic art conducted with the stealth and ruthlessness of espionage and a bleakly comic future where distinctions between reality and recreation collapse at the will of the powerful. Even so, there are enough contemporary correspondences to make the novel immediate, with avant-garde musician-turned-journalist Hollis Henry sounding like a member of Gibson acolytes Sonic Youth, even while its high-tech, low-life aesthetic retains the nourishing elements that turned him into a mainstream author.
Most compelling of all is Spook Country’s status as unfinished, interactive fiction. Google many of the specific artefacts referred to in its pages – such as the Adidas GSG9, christened for the German counterterrorism squad and ‘the obvious choice for the thinking man’s ninja’ – and you’ll discover threads leading to and from Gibson’s website, readers tracing his electronic footprints and finding additional layers of meaning. The future is already out there, you just need to know where to look. (Jay Richardson)
Recommended reading: Neuromancer popularised the term ‘cyberspace’.
27 Aug, 7pm, £8 (£6).