Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Cyberpunk Soothsayer 

Wednesday, Aug 22 2012
William Gibson is not the first science fiction author to be given the hyperbolic label of prophet -- writing in the mid-1800s, Jules Verne foretold the coming of electric submarines, news broadcasts, solar sails, lunar modules, and video conferencing, which he charmingly called “phonotelephote.” But, for the 13th generation, Gibson was both prescient cartographer -- introducing “the matrix,” net consciousness, and virtual sex -- and lexicographer. Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy gave us a new vocabulary (cyberspace, surfing, jacking in, neural implant); his steampunk Bridge trilogy gave us a dystopic view of late-era capitalism (resulting in village settlements on the Bay Bridge); and his Blue Ant trilogy gave Gibson his first spot on the mainstream bestseller list. Along the way, Gibson has been hired to provide perspective on subjects ranging from the draconian drug-trafficking laws of Singapore to poet Jorge Luis Borges. While Gibson is a stridently reluctant essayist, it’s easy to see from the recently published collection, Distrust That Particular Flavor, why magazines have been so eager for his voice -- he is a keen observer who marvels. And why he accepts. Many of these assignments have inspired stories, which proves speculative fiction is about extrapolation, not soothsaying. As Gibson said in a 2003 interview for The Economist, “The future is already here -- it’s just not evenly distributed.”
Tue., Sept. 4, 2012

About The Author

Silke Tudor

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"