That line of thought is so much more interesting to me than Gibson’s dutiful recounting of his first book and his casual invention of the nonsense word ‘cyberspace.’ But it’s true he couldn’t get where he his but for that earlier exercise.
Bill, as he’s called in Mark Neale’s 2000 documentary No Maps for these Territories, describes his early work as "3 chord" for his lack of skill mixed with energy (If so how did Neuromancer win the triple crown?). It’s not often the punks get accolades synchronous with their malfeasance. Following are the notes I furiously Blackberried while watching.
It’s interesting seeing this film on the eve of the release of Bill’s newest novel, (which should be in my mailbox about now). Title came from bill’s lost prose poem Memory Palace. Interviews and music by Bono and The Edge. Neale says in some way the film was a direct descendent of My Dinner with Andre.
Parts of the documentary can be hard to watch at first because of Gibson’s chalky staccato — like Bob Woodward or Keroac with a terrible headcold. But it gets comfortable. Interesting to watch him speak, his diction is so measured, and he’ll pause then repeat entire clauses unchanged before completing the thought. He’s composing as he goes and you can watch it happen in the intimacy of that backseat.
A segment called ‘The Gernsback Conversation’ begins with Jack Womack reading the piece that Bill claimed to have written in the summer of ’80. (this reading, Womack’s twang, reminds me a bit of DeLillo’s “most photographed barn” piece from White Noise.) They then launch into a discussion of the attitudes they held against a scifi community of the time that was being systematically doped through its own insularity. To be welcomed to yesterday’s tomorrow’s parties as "nephews" breathing "fresh air" seems a surprise to Bill and Jack, and to Bruce Stirling. An ironic surprise. An historic one.
Idoru (in which Gibson introduced the celebrity-destroying SlitScan) was published September 4, 1996. TMZ.com launched November 8, 2005.
There’s an interesting insight on his writing process at the 1h07m mark. Bruce Stirling describes the "Gibson Box" as his gift to the genre.
Mentions his fascination with history as fiction, and the fact that we’re constantly rewriting it. He would appreciate Not Written in Stone, as I’m intrigued by it and historiography in principle.
Interesting that Neale’s secondary motivation was to make a Great American Road Movie. Yet the bulk of the driving was done in LA and Vancouver. Bill spoke of his childhood in Virginia and SC (particularly interesting was his recollection of turning in the tv and being in 1961 then stepping outside and into 1921), but there’s no footage of Nebraska or Indiana or Kansas or any heartland states one thinks of when one thinks of GARM’s — these of course being places that perhaps don’t play into Gibson’s books and perhaps being where he sells quite few.