William Gibson did a wonderful interview with the College Crier Online, talking about his forthcoming novel Spook Country
, a science fiction novel set one year in the past. In Spook Country, Gibson finds the pure expression of the science fiction writer's art: to write about the present day through the veil of technology and speculation. Spook Country is a magnificent novel about the leftover spies sloshing around after the Cold War, about locative artists, and about celebrity. I ended up sitting in a blisteringly hot car in a parking garage for an hour while I finished the last 70 pages, transfixed until I found out how it all ended.
I love the idea of science fiction turning its lens on the present, of finding the same frisson of futuristic speculation in looking around at the contemporary world. Gibson's insights on the subject are laser-focused, as his commentary on film adaptations of literature and several other subjects.
TVP: But having said that, isn't it a bit uncanny that all of the dystopian texts of science-fiction appear to be aiming at the present that we're experiencing right now?
WG: Well, I would find that spookier if I had been believing all along that those sort of dystopian themes in science fiction were about some sort of vision of the future. I think they were actually like being perceived in the past when that stuff was being written. 1984 is a powerful book precisely because Orwell didn't have to make a lot of shit up. He had Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin as models for what he was doing. He only had to dress it up a little bit, sort of pile it up in a certain way to say, "this is the future." But the reason it's powerful is that it resonates of history. It doesn't resonate back from the future, it resonates out of modern history. And the power with which it resonates is directly contingent on the sort of point-for-point mimesis, like sort of point-for-point realism, in terms of what we know happened.
Update: Joe points out that Gibson is doing a Second Life appearance, complete with a design-an-avatar contest.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image. But the Illum’s cutting-edge technology records the direction of these rays, generating […]
SitePoint Premium is the ultimate e-learning library for web developers, designers, and digital professionals. Famous for their web development books written by industry leaders, they’ve expanded their content library to include in-depth video courses and short, handy screencasts partnering with A Book Apart and UX Mastery. Whatever you want to achieve in your web career, […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]