On The Peripheral

Since this comment is apparently in “pending approval” limbo over on the iO9 site for

William Gibson On the Apocalypse, America, and The Peripheral’s Ending

I am just going to stick it below so that I can come back to it later.

I am still working on processing the novel but something that definitely struck me has to do with Gibson’s version of Farber’s “termite theory” of art (posted to the blog on 1/8/03):

“In “termite art”, though, your slab has been wormholed countless times, and its meaning is really taking place in the resulting interstices. The actual art of the piece, in other words, and your enjoyment of it, is taking place in the cracks, and the shape of the slab is coincidental and ultimately meaningless. …A secret: that line toward the end of Neuromancer, “He never saw Molly again,” forever sundering Case from the razorgirl, was added very last thing, in a deliberate attempt to prevent myself from ever writing a sequel. And was, I think, a well-intentioned but ultimately pointless gesture, because I must have somehow been under the false assumption, then, that Neuromancer was a slab…he next book I planned, at that point, would have been, believe it or not, a species of space opera. That was not to be, but not, as some might imagine, because Neuromancer won a bunch of prizes. In real time, that was mighty slow to happen. What really happened was that I started burrowing into the world of Neuromancer from a surface inhabited by a nasty little character who liked to call himself Count Zero. I was discovering my own literary nature: termite. I couldn’t help myself.

The same thing happened with Virtual Light: no intention to write a trilogy, thank you.


Same story with Pattern Recognition.

So when he tells you it’s not going to be a trilogy, “Don’t You Believe It….”

The other part of my processing is probably just a result of being a super-fan. Because what I caught in this novel is “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” (James Tiptree, Jr. 1973) and Ghost in the Shell and Neuromancer and Mona Lisa Overdrive (with the yakuza replaced by the Russian oligarchs) and Idoru (hello tomahawk as Blackwell’s weapon of choice) and the aleph from Count Zero and a whole bunch of other stuff, not to mention a big old dose of Avatar (in the form of the crippled Marine who operates a waldo) and that other movie I didn’t see with the people in peripheral bodies. And I LOVE the shocks of recognition.

I love the moral slipperiness of the premise, and the biggest problem with reading Gibson is the long wait for the next one.

I need to keep track of this stuff because I think I might be obsesses with Gibson, though I have not participated in any experimental 5-SB trials lately.

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