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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: mrgibson.txt

Mike Rogers interviews William Gibson




The sky above the Shelbourne was the colour of...

But seriously, here is the text of the interview as promised. I'm sorry it
took so long but his accent is really strong and the tape wasn't so good
and I was busy with a deadline.

At his reading of _Virtual Light_ later that night he read the text slowly,
almost ponderously, which gave me a new insight into his composition. His
stresses rendered what might have been a frenzied narrative into a more
reflective, metered tract.

He said some good things during the question session. Postmodernism was
a phrase that used to make him grit his teeth and think of party hats on
tower blocks, but now it's kind of diluted. Sylvester Stallone owns the
rights to the Burning Chrome film version. Earlier, he asked
what the reaction was of an Irish person to the section at the end of The
Difference Engine concerning the Famine in Ireland in the 19th Century that
pretty much devastated the country to this day. He seemed a little hesitant,
and mentioned that the piece was supposed to be a sarcastic rant, but that
if it didn't come across like that then that was what you deserved for messing
with other people's cultures. He had a special disdain for that RPG 'that
mixes cyberpunk with elves'. I think Shadowrun sucks incredibly as well.

The ellipses try to capture his frequent pauses. I found his sentence structure
fascinating. As a English-speaking Irish person, the rather bizarre formulations
that reach here via the films, etc., can seem outrageous. I'm thinking of
'Slackers'. But it's all true. Apparently. Even the incredible lassitude of
the Southern US speech. Quite distinctive.

I have, like, ten or so very long interviews from his present tour and he was
getting asked the same questions in a lot of them and parroting the same 
answers so here I've tried to avoid the usual questions. I was not always
successful. I didn't get hardly any of the questions covered that I'd
intended to, even though I was quite peremptory. This can come across as
impatience (maybe, maybe) or sarcasm, even rudeness. But it *was* a short
interview slot.

I have not rendered the dialogue into dialect, but have stuck to standard 
English, 'don't know' for dunnoe, etc. This is kinder to non-English
speakers, and using that can look patronising and corny.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Interview with William Gibson by Mike Rogers.

Text copyright 1993 by Mike Rogers. Permission is granted for distribution of
this text via electronic or electromechanical means providing 
a) no hardcopy is produced save for comment or reference extracts;
and 
b) that this notice accompany all electronic copies.

October 1st, Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, Ireland.
35 minutes.

MR:	So you've never been to Ireland before?	

WG:	No. no... and it's a, you know, in a sense I've been reading about it
	all my life... because it's a, you know...

MR:	Joyce? the Modernists?

WG:	Yeah. Such a literate, yeah, such a literary land. So it all seems...
	vaguely familiar. But sort of more remarkable... and that's always the
	way, you know. Sort of the details... the details that do it. That you
	couldn't have imagined.

MR:	You came to Europe when you were in your teens, or just out of your 
	teens, didn't you?

WG:	Well, how old was I?

MR:	The Grand Tour. Around 20?

WG:	Yeah. Yeah. About 20, 21... We couldn't afford... we couldn't afford to
	stay anywhere that had anything remotely like hard currency. So we
	landed in... we landed in London and... and you know, like a round trip
	on the subway was sort of... sort of, the base. So we only had a little
	time there and then...

MR:	So what's it like now, travelling around in hotels like this?

WG:	Oh, it's... I've had a couple of years to get used to it. It's sort of
	a gradual thing.

MR:	What was it you called it? The Rubber Chicken Circuit?

WG:	Yeah, that was actually a good break... breakthrough. Because there
	were all those vr... there was a whole string of vr festivals that were
	funded by various European governments.

MR:	I know. Lot's of people kept stopping over, Myron Kreuger and all...

WG:	Yeah. Those people were all bouncing... bouncing around. But we got to
	get to Barcelona, Venice, Linz Austria, Den Haag, probably a couple
	more I can't...

MR:	You're more used to it then? You can handle it now?

WG:	Yeah, I can.

MR:	You don't feel like... the dissolution?

WG:	But this is sort of... this is a... this is a lot more intense than
	going on one of those things, 'cos it's sort of the end of... three
	months of... no, not three months, it just feels like three months.
	Three previous weeks of promotion before I came... In the States and
	Canada before I came and started... started in London.

MR:	Yes. I've been reading some interviews on the Net, in papers...

WG:	Yeah, and you go home and rest for a week and you feel okay physically
	but then you get back out on the road and there's some sort of
	cumulative psychological effect.

MR:	I'm just curious, because in the second Sprawl book you had Turner, and
	he saw himself dissolved from hotel room to hotel room. And yet in
	_Virtual Light_ Rydell... he likes staying there. He likes the... the
	opulence of the closed shopping malls and all. So, do you feel you're
	accepting it more?

WG:	Oh I don't know. Oh... you lost me there. Rydell likes?

MR:	He seemed to be able to cope with being on Cops in Trouble a lot more
	naturally.

WG:	Oh. Oh. Ah. Right. Oh, well, you know, he doesn't get more than a taste
	of it you know? That's the thing. It's a... His time in... his time...
	well he might have... What does he have, like two weeks? It's not
	really clear from the... It could be a week you know? It just... it 
	just doesn't last very long for him. He never gets to feel that he's a
	part... a part of this sort of thing. But you know... it's interesting.
	It's interesting to see it... and it's only once in a while. I mean,
	Hollywood is like this too. It's kind of their standard worker housing.
	They put people... they put people  in incredibly fancy hotels that...
	mostly probably collect their money from movie studios and big... big
	companies.

MR:	It's a strange world out there.

WG:	Yeah. Like one thing you realise when you spend more time in places
	like this is that all of them... well, hardly any of them who's staying
	here is paying their own bill. It's all corporate accounts. This is
	actually a very amiable kind of place, you know? The thing that's nice
	about it is that it's real. It's not a reproduction of anything.

MR:	If I remember right, when they had a rebellion here in 1916 I think the
	place was used for barracks.

WG:	Yeah. It's sort of a real place and kind of relaxed compared to... you
	know, in America the equivalent thing would be three simulacra removed
	from reality and kind of too self conscious to ever be very good.

MR:	What music are you listening to right now? What strikes you?

WG:	PJ Harvey's second album. A San Francisco band called Come, that's
	see oh em ee. A West German band called Plan B who have an album out
	that's unfortunately titled Cyberchords and Sushi Stories.

MR:	What about Cybercore Network?

WG:	... Never heard of it.

MR:	Oh well.

WG:	Yeah.

MR:	The in-jokes weren't as heavily larded in _Virtual Light_.

WG:	No, I just think they missed them. No, they're more subtle.

MR:	The music jokes?

WG:	There were probably more of those in Neuromancer than there were in the
	later... the other two, I would think. Yeah. Yeah. _Virtual Light_ is
	filled with in-jokes, but you have to know... It's not fair if I tell
	them what they are.

MR:	The one right at the end where the only thing at the market that failed
	to be sold, that's thrown on the trash heap, that's the Columbia
	Literary History of the United States.

WG:	Yeah.

MR:	That's a bit harsh. An unpopular book?

WG:	That's one of them.

MR:	There was a large literary conference on here recently. Toni Morrison,
	big names. The theme was Homelands. What I want to ask you is, well,
	born in South Carolina, grew up in Virginia, living in Canada. Do you
	think that that dilutes your sense of nationhood? They were keen on it.

WG:	Oh, well... What it means... Yeah...

MR:	How do you feel about it?

WG:	Yeah. Oh, well. Hmmm. That's a... Oh well, interestingly put... ... ...
	I think what it's done is it's made me... made me a globalist in some
	way that's not entirely... ... ... isn't entirely theoretical... ...
	... Yeah, I mean, naturally it's put... it's putting it too
	dramatically, but you could say it was literally true that early on in
	life I had the experience of, of, of... exilehood, essentially for
	political reasons which kind of led into a permanent expatriate
	existence. Canada isn't... it isn't a country. One doesn't... I don't
	think one comes to feel Canadian. It sort of isn't. It's never really
	been...

MR:	So much wasteland? Empty except for the cities?

WG:	Well, no. It's never been a requirement of... ... ... It's never been
	a requirement of their culture with regard to... immigrants, you know?
	The American metaphor is the Melting Pot for a generation and then 
	they'll become... When they come out of the pots... they'll be American
	and that really isn't... That hasn't been the Canadian experience. The
	fashionable government metaphor during the sixties was the... the
	Cultural Mosaic. That's what they consciously took to be their version
	of the Melting Pot. Where people would immigrate, keep their cultures
	intact and just, you know, fit them into the grid of the country. I
	mean, you can't, you know, the concept of becoming Canadian, it doesn't
	you know, it doesn't compute. It's not... in a sense it's an artifical
	construction. Really, I mean there's a distinctive Canadian culture
	but you know... ... you'd almost have to, I think, have to be born
	right into it so I've never felt, living in Canada for twenty years...
	Well now I'm truly becoming more and more Canadian. I mean, I'm still
	a guy from Virginia and my wife is Canadian and I'll never... I'll
	never really be... I'll never really be Canadian.

MR:	Yet the character Rydell in _Virtual Light_ seems much more definitely
	a Southerner than any others of yours?

WG:	Oh yeah. Specifically...

MR:	He rediscovers his Southerness after being reproached by a Northerner
	for not having enough essence of gothic.

WG:	Yeah. Well... I think that was partially inspired by having read a lot
	of Cormac McCarthy during the time I was writing the book. I hadn't
	discovered McCarthy before. McCarthy's from Knoxville Tennassee, which
	is, like, a few hundred miles from the part of Virginia where I grew
	up and the voices in a lot of his books, particularly his early books,
	were very relevent to my own childhood and so I thought I'd create...
	Also, I had the sense when I grew up in the South of growing up in some
	sort of time lag.

MR:	Agrippa has that same tone.

WG:	Yeah.

MR:	The timelessness.

MR:	Yeah. It's like, so it's like... I felt when I remembered my childhood
	in the fifties and the sixties in Virginia that in some ways it's more
	like these should be memories of the forties. It's, you know, It's kind
	of a backward... It's kind of a backwater place and by making Rydell,
	you know, a Southerner I also made him a hick to some extent. So he's
	the, you know, he's... he's the hick from Hickograd adrift in the big
	city and consequently he gets to wonder about things and ask questions
	and that's very convenient for the science fiction writer because it
	gets you over the expository lumps quite smoothly. I mean, when you...
	In science fiction watch for these naive characters. They're pretty
	common because they serve such a convenient purpose for the author.

MR:	What struck me was the different portrayal between _Virtual Light_ and
	the Sprawl novels in the portrayal of the underground, the computer
	underground. Especially the hackers. In _Virtual Light_ you didn't seem
	to like them and in fact you threw them into ridicule.

WG:	Well, they're both based on... the same... you know, to some extent.

MR:	Also... The culture of the bridge. That's seen from the outside. Even
	Chevette is to a large extent an outsider. And yet with, say, Sam
	Delany in, say, Dhalgren, he had his naive characters walk around as
	part of the underground. He's from... he writes from an urban...
	environment. You and he are from different milieus. His urban
	characters never seem as put upon. They survive a lot easier. He's more
	sympathetic.

WG:	Well, he grew up in New York and my formative, my first real experience
	of a real city was living in Toronto in the late sixties from about
	'67 on and, yeah, it's given me a different take on urbanism. It's a
	very different sort of city. In those days it was more different still.
	It hadn't been quite developed into the new neo-Toronto.

MR:	They use it for New York movie backdrops nowadays.

WG:	Yeah. Neo-Toronto is sort of... It more parallels... you know, the
	Docklands in London? It's a bit, you know, it's very expensively built
	empty space.

MR:	They're doing that here with German money. Temple Bar. It's quite
	extraordinary... They take all the cobblestones from the, like, ghetto
	and move them to almost gated streets.

WG:	So down in the poor neighbourhoods they now have tarmac?

MR:	Yeah, it's like a move up in the world. After hundreds of years they
	finally get to have tarmac, flat roads. And the rich people get cobbles
	and all.

WG:	Isn't that something.

MR:	Set in shiny new tar, yeah.

WG:	That's truly amazing... That's pure... that's the European version of
	_Virtual Light_. Yeah, that's actually... there's a level of irony about
	that that I didn't get to in _Virtual Light_. Except in the Nightmare
	Folk Art shop. All this Southern stuff is being sold, all these kind
	racist antiques are being sold to the more affluent blacks of South
	Central. But the very recycling of stuff where the very cobbles become
	expensive antiques for the rich people... that's amazing.

MR:	The blacks in South Central Los Angeles. I mean, the book was set there
	and, I mean, you read City of Quartz which dealt a great deal with the
	chicano and black development, and postulated their development in the
	future, and yet they didn't feature very largely in _Virtual Light_. Do
	you feel that you were't qualified?

WG:	No. I didn't want to... It wasn't the time for me to take that on...
	Yeah, I would generally say. Yeah. I'm not actually qualified to do
	that now, and particularly not in a more realistic near future setting,
	so I mean, they're there and there's a sprinkling of them to indicate
	their presence in the mix. One thing that's not really underlined
	enough to be clear in the Los Angeles sections is that I was assuming
	that I was writing about a Los Angeles where the caucasians are the
	minority, which is something that is demographically expected to happen
	in L.A. eventually.

MR:	Yeah. I was stunned the first time I was in new York and found all the
	subway signs in Spanish after a lifetime of growing up with the Starsky
	and Hutch white English American thing.

WG:	Yeah. We have a neighbourhood in Vancouver where they've changed...
	they've translated all the streetsigns into Bengali. And there's
	Chinatown. That's quite the trend.

MR:	And yet you find that you can write about women? All of your books
	since Count Zero have had a female protagonist.

WG:	I've always felt an obligation to try. And you know, in fact I think I
	would tend to get pretty bored with the narrative if there weren't...
	a few women around.

MR:	And yet the only woman that featured, apart from your relatives, in
	Agrippa was the likening of the shooting of a gun to the first kissing
	of a woman in objective terms.

WG:	Yeah. But don't ask me what that means.

MR:	You'll just have to write more books to work it out?

WG:	Yeah. No. I don't know. I mean, it's something that I... I do all this
	stuff... kind of random exploratory... I'm exploring I know not what.
	The completed narrative is a sort of artifact, but in some real way
	I'm no more capable of explicating it than the next guy. You know, if
	you know much about... at least the sort of... what passed for
	contemporary literary critical theory when I was studying it... the
	assumption was that the critic has as much... that the reader had as
	much chance of knowing what the text was going to be about as the author
	did. That was sort of a formal assumption; that the author had no more
	access to it...

MR:	They're just words?

WG:	Yeah. No more access to some deeper, more symbolic level than the critic
	did. Because the critic could argue, the critic... the author could say
	that, well, it's really about this and that and the critic could argue
	that, well, you think it's about this and that but actually it's about
	that and this. And you're simply... I'm simply able to interpret your
	own conscious intention. I'm not sure whether... I was never sure
	whether I believed that or not. But now that I've written a few books I
	know that I... that I cannot explicate them more. Or that I could
	explicate them differently at different times.

MR:	And yet you have this gift for... for semiotic regurgitation.

WG:	Well, yeah.

MR:	Does it worry you?

WG:	What?

MR:	Do you occasionally get puzzled, or self-conscious.

WG:	Magpie-like?

MR:	Like a collage too mannered.

WG:	Bricolage. no, it doesn't bother me. It's what I do.

MR:	But if you think about it too much? Do you have to make a conscious
	effort not to make it a... conscious effort?

WG:	Well, it requires... In my own case it requires a kind of pathological
	concentration, after which something snaps and the narrative proceeds
	as though by... it's almost... I mean, it's really good, it feels like
	automatic writing. I'm able to sit back and watch myself write without
	having much idea of where it's going along. But unfortunately that
	requires endless chewing of pencils.

MR:	They used to call it the Muse.

WG:	Yeah. Waiting for the Muse. All I've ever figured out is you have to
	make a deal with the Muse to, you know, go every day at approximately
	the same time; sit down for a couple of hours and wait to see if the
	Muse is going to come around.

MR:	When do you write?

WG:	Well, pretty much on a kind of nine to five basis on weekdays. That's
	well, you know, that's in the early days, the saner stages of
	composition. So for the first two thirds of a book I'll get up in the
	morning at seven o'clock, have breakfast, get my kids off to school.
	Then downstairs about nine thirty, knock off at twelve for lunch, come
	back, stay on there 'til three or four or five and call it a day.
	Unless I get down there and something is... there's no Muse and I can't
	get anything done. Then I go mow the lawn or do the laundry or
	something. But when I get toward the end of it, it becomes... it's such
	an effort to juggle all those bits and thousands of words in your head
	that sometimes the only way to get it done is to, like, work an 18 hour
	day 'til it's finished, you know? You're filled up with it at a certain
	point and you just have... there are times when you just have to get
	all through real quickly at one go and then go collapse and then go
	back to it a few weeks later and kind of do it in your right mind. I
	don't think I've ever managed to avoid that. In one way or another that
	always happens. It usually follows a period of very intense despair.	
	Despair at the quality of the text by that time.

MR:	Do you still despair of the text?

WG:	Oh yeah.

MR:	The finished? The product?

WG:	Well, you know, once they're finished, once they're... once they're...
	you know?

MR:	How do you decide that the text will go?

WG:	Well, that's one of the really tricky parts. It's a good trick. I don't
	know. I wish I could... I mean, I wish I could tell you. Nobody could
	ever really tell me. You just have to know when it's done. You have to
	know when you've taken off... when you've taken out as many of the
	wrong words and put in as many of the right words as you're likely to
	be able to do. And then there's a point beyond which anything you could
	do to it would cause it to diminish. And its... to know where that
	point is... I just don't...

MR:	One fascinating piece I saw in _Virtual Light_ was... I remember reading
	a story of yours years ago: Academy leader. That had a paragraph in it
	related to virtual reality architecture and then it gave a listing,
	a lush description of arcades, sushi, etc.; and then in Skinner's Room
	it had become the Bridge. The people, the ideas were the same. And then
	in _Virtual Light_ it appeared. Watching the paragraph through three
	incarnations was interesting.

WG:	Yeah, I think that... I suspect that Academy Leader was written after
	Skinner's Room. That book, that Michael Benedict collection of
	cyberspace essays, that's pretty recent. I think maybe more recent than
	Skinner's Room. All of... all of that... all of the bits in Academy
	Leader are recycled from other pieces. Some of them appeared in an
	op-ed piece in Rolling Stone years ago. I mean, it's really only the
	little Burroughsian bit, where I'm directly addressing the audience
	in a Burroughs cut-up, that's the only... that is the only bit that I
	think I actually custom-wrote: the rest of it is a cut-up.

MR:	Do you see yourself in your characters? I'm just thinking, here, of
	Shapely being tragically misunderstood, distorted, worshipped.

WG:	No. No.

MR:	And yet Skinner seemd to be very scornful of people that wanted to
	Shapely up. For example, on the Net there's a persistent rumour, a
	belief fable, that you have an email address. Despite hundreds of
	denials in thousands of interviews.

WG:	Well... No. No.

MR:	I mean, there are people out there who will refuse to believe there
	isn't a secret... I'd compare it to a loa. There are people utterly
	convinced that some elite has your true name.

WG:	Yes.

MR:	That these email you. They all want to be watched by you, invisibly.

WG:	I think that's a very good... Yeah, I think that's an excellent...
	That's an excellent... That's an excellent comparison. No, I'm more
	like the... you know, there is... there is a big god in Voudoun
	religion, you know? There is... At the top of the pantheon it's
	actually monotheistic. But he's so far away... and he just doesn't care
	at all. That's actually where I am. I don't care. No, I'm not even...
	I'm not even looking. What they have to do is... To come directly to my
	attention, they have to... They have to say something that will cause
	one or another of my correspondents who does hang out on the Net to
	download their bit to a fax modem which'll fax it to me. Virtually
	everything... virtually everything I read off the Net comes off of a 
	fax machine via, sort of, people's fax modems.

MR:	That's pretty clever.

WG:	And you know, there is the other thing that when you can afford long
	distance telephone service and you have a telephone and a fax machine
	you've got... you've got an amazing... it's expensive, but it sure is
	a convenient user interface. So I mean if I want to... if I want to
	talk to someone in Tokyo I don't need email. I just call them and have
	a telephone conversation with them for as long as I want and then
	charge it to business expenses. Actually, one of the reasons I don't
	have an email address is that I average thirty-five feet of unsolicited
	fax, of incoming fax, per day. And I don't even have time to read that.
	It's like I'm sitting on the toilet down the hall from my office with a
	scroll of faxed stuff which I, you know, kind of skim through.

MR:	Those rolls much run out pretty often.

WG:	Yeah, I mean, it's a shame you can't use them for the bog. I mean,
	recyclement which... Yeah, I mean, I buy them... I buy them... by the
	box from a Korean greengrocer around the corner from my house. Some
	very cheap Japanese fax paper, but it works real well. Yeah, I'd go
	through a roll of fax paper every couple of days, and by and large it's
	stuff I could do without. I could have lived without seeing it. But I
	just haven't lost fax correspondents who see anything that they think
	would tickle my interest... Some of it's business. Some of it, you
	know?

MR:	Sounds like you need seperate lines for it.

WG:	Yeah. Yeah. Like unsolicited faxes and business faxes. That would...
	That would do the trick.

MR:	Some mondo big writers end up employing a personal secretary to handle
	all that for them.

WG:	... ... ... Well, I'm getting to the point where I could use a personal
	secretary. I can't... I can't really... I can't deal with the snail
	mail either. Bags of it.

[Enter Viking Penguin Publicity Rep]

MR:	Uh, oh, here she comes. One last one.

VPPR:	The black eagle again, swooping up the stairs. How are you doing?

MR:	Just finishing.

VPPR:	Grand. Will I come back in a couple of minutes?

MR:	Yeah. Great. Okay.

WG:	Yes. Yeah.

MR:	I've never met a book publicity person yet in Ireland who wasn't female
	and English.

WG:	I think she's Australian?

MR:	Yeah?

WG:	Yeah. That's what my wife said. I couldn't... My ears could not... I
	can tell the difference between Irish and it anyway.

MR:	Okay. Agrippa. It's encoded using the RSA algorithm.

WG:	Wow. News to me.

MR:	All those algorithms in the States are classed as munitions, as weapons
	of war.

WG:	Yeah.

MR:	So what I... Could your work be one of the first pieces of art to be
	restricted because of national security? A couple of weeks ago a person
	who was selling a program using RSA got served with a Grand Jury
	summons.

WG:	Yes, but... Actually that's come up. Someone in the... I forget the
	name of which government body it was, but someone was quoted in the
	paper as saying we should talk to them. So, but what they didn't...
	What it is, you actually can... my understanding of it is that you
	could sell... You could sell an encrypted... It's a... What it is...
	They don't want... they don't want a... they don't want to distribute
	the hardware that allows you to encrypt your own material. But a piece
	of encrypted material is of no value to someone who wanted to use the
	encryptions. So it's not the same as distributing encryption software.
	So, when you buy Norton Utilities for the Macintosh in the United
	States or Canada there's actually a sticker on it that says: This
	product only for sale in the United States of America or Canada. That's
	because of that. Because it's actually... it's actually... the Norton
	Utilities comes with this really... potent... munitions grade
	encryption.

MR:	I know you don't like talking about the underground, or being asked
	about the underground, but what do you think of this growing obsession
	over the last few years... perhaps egged on by government action, some
	feedback... With cypherpunk? I mean the original... your original
	envisionment of the Matrix was of an open...

WG:	Yeah, it's odd isn't it? It's turned around. I was envisioning people
	who were into cracking.

MR:	And now they're hiding.

WG:	Yeah, now they're, yeah, now they're into hiding.

MR:	Bruce Sterling in his The Hacker Crackdown seemed to feel that it would
	shrink away, the underground, until eventually, perhaps, there'd be
	some new movement that noone could see yet. He seemed to feel that the
	day of the hacker is coming to a close.

WG:	Well, certainly the Republic of Desire is extrapolated from... some of
	the less savoury aspects of the hacker community as Bruce described it
	in The Hacker Crackdown. Which is really the closest I've ever come to
	to being in direct experience of it.

MR:	That was fun for you, wasn't it? When Rydell meets... the three hackers
	and their massive ego representations.

WG:	Yeah.

MR:	One of them was made of television and so Rydell says 'Jesus', which
	was quite funny coming as it was from out of a Fallonite community link
	there.

WG:	Yeah, yeah, that was one of them. The other one was sort of... the one
	that looked like a mountain and Jaron Lanier... and it had big lobster
	claws. Yeah, so it was.. I wanted to do the... I liked that because it
	sort of established that this was not a book in which the hackers were
	romantic. You know, when I wrote Neuromancer I'd never even heard the
	term hacker. If I had done I would have used it in the book.

MR:	In Neuromancer they were modulated by the need for access, to jack. The
	same as a Burroughs character has this need for junk. And yet the
	desires of the characters in _Virtual Light_ seem to have become more
	multifaceted, obfuscated as you go on. I mean, Rydell doesn't know what
	he's looking for. He just... He seems to want to... Well, I don't know,
	you'd know him better than I do. And Chevette just always seems to want
	to get away. So do you feel that that's to do with yourself becoming
	more financially secure?

WG:	No.

MR:	Or older?

WG:	Yeah, I think it was an attempt to... Oh I don't know, in some ways as
	I get older I feel more desperate. I think it has more to do with an
	attempt at literary naturalism and I honestly think that Chevelle and
	Rydette... ... Rydell and Chevette... I think that Chevette and Rydell
	are more like most people than most people are like those console
	cowboys and razor girls in Neuromancer. No, I don't think those people
	really know... What They Want in capital letters beyond just getting
	by. It strikes me that most people will... are just getting by. One
	thing that those two want is to have a job. They want to make a living
	and they don't have real good jobs and their jobs are very important to
	them. And that's very different from Neuromancer. That's a much more
	naturalistic take on human existence than anything in Neuromancer. The
	only character in _Virtual Light_ that is anything like a character from
	the previous three novels is Loveless the Psychopath, the sadistic
	psychopathic killer. And he's... One of the inside jokes with me in the
	book is that Loveless is this guy who if he appeared in Count Zero
	would just be part of the wallpaper. Turner would kill him, stuff him
	under a Volkswagon and go have a cappacino and not even think about it
	but in _Virtual Light_ he's this over the top crazy monstrous thing who's
	almost unbelievable. He's meant to teeter precariously on the edge of
	the ridiculous. So I had him in as being like the... he's the... he's
	the only character in thbook who's who's like a character from
	Neuromancer, the only semi-major character. And the rest... the rest
	of the major characters, they're drawn a different way, you know, and I
	like to feel that they're quite a bit less cartooney. They have
	character. They have parents and... shifting inner monologue. All of it
	you know? I was sort of trying to do naturalism there. But I don't know
	they'll make of that on the Net. If I could send them a message... If
	Mister Gibson could send a message to the boys on the InterNet I'd tell
	them too... tell them to go... to go and get a dictionary and look up
	the word irony.


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