New Book: Conversations with William Gibson

"I was tired of America-as-the-future, the world as a white monoculture, the protagonist as a good guy from the middle class or above. I wanted there to be more elbow room. I wanted to make room for antiheroes. I also wanted science fiction to be more naturalistic.”

"After reading Neuromancer for the first time," literary scholar Larry McCaffery wrote, "I knew I had seen the future of [science fiction] (and maybe of literature in general), and its name was William Gibson." McCaffery was right. Gibson's 1984 debut is one of the most celebrated SF novels of the last half century, and in a career spanning more than three decades, the American Canadian science fiction writer and reluctant futurist responsible for introducing "cyberspace" into the lexicon has published nine other novels.

In Conversations with William Gibson editor Patrick A. Smith has assembled 23 interviews drawn from a variety of media and sources—print and online journals and fanzines, academic journals, newspapers, blogs and podcasts. Myriad topics include Gibson's childhood in the American South and his early adulthood in Canada, with travel in Europe; his chafing against the traditional SF mold, the origins of "cyberspace," and the unintended consequences (for both the author and society) of changing the way we think about technology; the writing process and the reader's role in a new kind of fiction. 

Gibson also takes on branding and fashion, celebrity culture, social networking, the post-9/11 world, future uses of technology, and the isolation and alienation engendered by new ways of solving old problems. The conversations also provide overviews of his novels, short fiction, and nonfiction. 

Readers come to Gibson’s work with an expectant, almost religious fervor. His fiction mirrors the cacophony of light, energy, and uncertainty inherent in technological progress. Perhaps the most influential chronicler in fiction of technology and its possibilities (as well as its discontents) working today, he draws on influences as wide-ranging as Beat literature and the Counterculture, Golden Age and New Wave science fiction, punk rock, and film to examine a future that, Gibson reminds us, is already now.

Conversations with William Gibson is now available from UPM.
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Patrick A. Smith is professor of English at Bainbridge State College in Bainbridge, Georgia. His previous books and edited collections include "The true bones of my life": Essays on the Fiction of Jim Harrison; Tim O'Brien: A Critical Companion; and Conversations with Tim O'Brien (published by University Press of Mississippi), among others.