- Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin (27. November 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0241960983
- ISBN-13: 978-0241960981
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 1,7 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 140.164 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Distrust that Particular Flavor (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. November 2014
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“One of the most astute and entertaining commentators on our astonishing, chaotic present.”—The Washington Post Book World
“I forget that in addition to being a major novelist (Zero History, Neuromancer, etc.), he’s one of the best essayists and critical observers currently operating within our sociocultural sphere. This is his first essay collection, and it’s messed up how good it is: raw, weird, honest, smart.”—Lev Grossman, Time Entertainment
“Exquisitely written, done to a turn with both insight and that unmistakable prose that is just shy of spectacular....This is a fine and even essential complement to the Gibson canon, and a delight to read.”—BoingBoing.net
“Though he’s often lauded as a big-picture man, these pieces make one thing clear: He’s even better with the little details.”—A.V. Club
“[Gibson’s] new collection of nonfiction shows that his secret strong suit is with the here and the now.”—Los Angeles Times
“The most startling pieces here crackle with his excitement at discovering some unexpected aspect of the new.”—The Globe and Mail (Canada)
“A breezy, engaging read.”—The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Potent...elegant prose.”—The Seattle Times -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Gene Wolfe once said that being an only child whose parents are dead is like being the sole survivor of drowned Atlantis. There was a whole civilization there, an entire continent, but it's gone. And you alone remember. That's my story too, my father having died when I was six, my mother when I was eighteen. Brian Aldiss believes that if you look at the life of any novelist, you'll find an early traumatic break, and mine seems no exception.
I was born on the coast of South Carolina, where my parents liked to vacation when there was almost nothing there at all. My father was in some sort of middle management position in a large and growing construction company. They'd built some of the Oak Ridge atomic facilities, and paranoiac legends of "security" at Oak Ridge were part of our family culture. There was a cigar-box full of strange-looking ID badges he'd worn there. But he'd done well at Oak Ridge, evidently, and so had the company he worked for, and in the postwar South they were busy building entire red brick Levittown-style suburbs. We moved a lot, following these projects, and he was frequently away, scouting for new ones.
It was a world of early television, a new Oldsmobile with crazy rocket-ship styling, toys with science fiction themes. Then my father went off on one more business trip. He never came back. He choked on something in a restaurant, the Heimlich maneuver hadn't been discovered yet, and everything changed.
My mother took me back to the small town in southwestern Virginia where both she and my father were from, a place where modernity had arrived to some extent but was deeply distrusted. The trauma of my father's death aside, I'm convinced that it was this experience of feeling abruptly exiled, to what seemed like the past, that began my relationship with science fiction.
I eventually became exactly the sort of introverted, hyper-bookish boy you'll find in the biographies of most American science fiction writers, obsessively filling shelves with paperbacks and digest-sized magazines, dreaming of one day becoming a writer myself.
At age fifteen, my chronically anxious and depressive mother having demonstrated an uncharacteristic burst of common sense in what today we call parenting, I was shipped off to a private boys' school in Arizona. There, extracted grub-like and blinking from my bedroom and those bulging plywood shelves, I began the forced invention of a less Lovecraftian persona - based in large part on a chance literary discovery a year or so before.
I had stumbled, in my ceaseless quest for more and/or better science fiction, on a writer name Burroughs -- not Edgar Rice but William S., and with him had come his colleagues Kerouac and Ginsberg. I had read this stuff, or tried to, with no idea at all of what it might mean, and felt compelled - compelled to what, I didn't know. The effect, over the next few years, was to make me, at least in terms of my Virginia home, Patient Zero of what would later be called the counterculture. At the time, I had no way of knowing that millions of other Boomer babes, changelings all, were undergoing the same metamorphosis.
In Arizona, science fiction was put aside with other childish things, as I set about negotiating puberty and trying on alternate personae with all the urgency and clumsiness that come with that, and was actually getting somewhere, I think, when my mother died with stunning suddenness. Dropped literally dead: the descent of an Other Shoe I'd been anticipating since age six.
Thereafter, probably needless to say, things didn't seem to go very well for quite a while. I left my school without graduating, joined up with rest of the Children's Crusade of the day, and shortly found my self in Canada, a country I knew almost nothing about. I concentrated on evading the draft and staying alive, while trying to make sure I looked like I was at least enjoying the Summer of Love. I did literally evade the draft, as they never bothered drafting me, and have lived here in Canada, more or less, ever since.
Having ridden out the crest of the Sixties in Toronto, aside from a brief, riot-torn spell in the District of Columbia, I met a girl from Vancouver, went off to Europe with her (concentrating on countries with fascist regimes and highly favorable rates of exchange) got married, and moved to British Columbia, where I watched the hot fat of the Sixties congeal as I earned a desultory bachelor's degree in English at UBC.
In 1977, facing first-time parenthood and an absolute lack of enthusiasm for anything like "career," I found myself dusting off my twelve-year-old's interest in science fiction. Simultaneously, weird noises were being heard from New York and London. I took Punk to be the detonation of some slow-fused projectile buried deep in society's flank a decade earlier, and I took it to be, somehow, a sign. And I began, then, to write.
And have been, ever since.
Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn't been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life. I only used a typewriter because that was what everyone used in 1977, and it was manual because that was what I happened to have been able to get, for free. I did avoid the Internet, but only until the advent of the Web turned it into such a magnificent opportunity to waste time that I could no longer resist. Today I probably spend as much time there as I do anywhere, although the really peculiar thing about me, demographically, is that I probably watch less than twelve hours of television in a given year, and have watched that little since age fifteen. (An individual who watches no television is still a scarcer beast than one who doesn't have an email address.) I have no idea how that happened. It wasn't a decision.
I do have an email address, yes, but, no, I won't give it to you. I am one and you are many, and even if you are, say, twenty-seven in grand global total, that's still too many. Because I need to have a life and waste time and write.
I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here.
6 Nov 2002
William Gibson is the award-winning author of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, with Bruce Sterling, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties and Pattern Recognition. William Gibson lives in Vancouver, Canada. His latest novel, published by Penguin, is Spook Country (2007).
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Yet I didn't follow his nonfiction unless it happened to occur by surprise in something I was reading for a totally different reason (an issue of Rolling Stone, for example). And I couldn't get into his blog for the same reason I couldn't get into most people's blogs: it seemed like a waste of time, sometimes, when there is already too little time in my life, and though it was free and his books were not, the blog was not a hit of the Gibson fiction I was jones-ing for. It wasn't that his blogging wasn't interesting, but it was that *everyone* had a blog. If I were going to read his, then why not the blogs of dozens of other authors I admire? But doing that would leave me no time to read their actual *fiction*. I can't say I was surprised when Gibson stopped blogging and stated it was because it interfered with his writing fiction. I thought: Yeah, the OTHER reason I don't read people's blogs: because if they're writing them, and I'm reading them, not only don't I have time to read their novels, they're _not_ writing novels -- they're blogging.
Gibson continued to write books that, despite being rather different in prose-style from the novels that first put him on the map, still managed to tap into the kind of chronic unease and disconnection of our super-connected post 9/11 world with a more "normal" prose style... the better to insinuate the characters' predicaments and personalities into your head and have you thinking about them days after you finished the novel, just like with the first three cyberspace novels.
I saw the documentary "No Maps For These Territories" back in the early 00s, and Gibson readily admitted that fans often ask him why he doesn't write something like Neuromancer again. His startlingly upfront and honest answer was that he is not the person he was, when he was writing Neuromancer -- so he _can't_ write stuff like Neuromancer again. Fortunately I'm not one of the fans who found this disappointing, because I found the Bigend/Blue Ant trilogy of Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History among his most haunting work. (I admit the prose of the last trilogy is much more accessible to the average reader than that of Neuromancer or the rest of the Sprawl trilogy. Hell, it's much more accessible to _me_, though less challenging. With Neuromancer alone, I wished for a glossary like the one provided with my 1970s dog-eared copy of Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, which I bogarted from my older brother).
So I had high hopes for this collection and, intentionally unfamiliar with his blogging and published nonfiction, I guess I hoped for non-fiction in a similar vein to his fiction. And it IS nonfiction in the style of his fiction, more often than not. But, maybe because I find his prose so fantastic and have read and re-read all of his books multiple times, I was somewhat underwhelmed by this collection of Gibson's nonfiction work. He has a sharp eye for observation and an interesting analysis on everything he writes about. But it just wasn't as compelling for me as his novels. Some pieces are incredibly short. The inherent interest and content varies quite widely from piece to piece. The entire thing is worth reading, but it doesn't feel like it coheres, somehow. It was just missing something for me -- missing his fiction, I guess.
I found the whole experience of being underwhelmed by this book rather odd, because Gibson tends to include so much ADD-ish contextual details and information in his fiction, that it seems counterintuitive that his nonfiction would fail to be less than compelling for me. (I say "ADD-ish contextual details" as someone with ADD myself, which may be why I always liked his densely packed prose.) And he does that here, but somehow it didn't evoke as much for me -- it didn't pull at my psyche, plant his characters in my mind for days after finishing a novel, didn't bring me to tears like his best work has (both in the Sprawl trilogy AND in the Bigend/Blue Ant trilogy). It did, however, often make me laugh out loud, which his fiction has also often done for me.
If you are a big Gibson fan, read through all the "Look Inside!" materials here on Amazon before you buy this. It will give you an idea, though not complete, of the nonfiction in the book. You may or may not want to read more. Personally, totally subjectively, I am sorry I didn't like this more than I did. However, Gibson's own introduction to Distrust That Particular Flavor explains a bit, I think, of my underwhelming reaction to this collection. I'm quoting here from the introduction ("Introduction: African Thumb Piano"). Discontinuous passages have "...." between them.
"The door into fiction-writing space began to open more easily, and more regularly. A huge amount of the thing is simply practice, but that practice, for me, had to be practice in the actual writing of fiction. The itch to become a writer could be scratched, I suspected, too easily, with other kinds of writing. Self-discipline never having been my strong suit, I became un-characteristically strict with myself about writing only fiction.
Which is why I have never felt entirely comfortable with the pieces collected here.
They are violations of that early prime directive. They aren't fiction. Worse, they somehow aren't quite nonfiction either, it feels to me, because they were written from the fiction-writing place, the only writing place I had, with fiction-writing tools, the only writing tools I had. I didn't feel adequately professional, writing nonfiction. I felt as thought I was being paid to solo on some instrument vaguely related to one I actually knew how to play.
I had had no formal training in journalism. The idea of keeping a diary or journal had always made me uncomfortable. The idea of direct, unfiltered autobiography made me even more uncomfortable. By the time I began to occasionally be asked to write nonfiction, the membrane surrounding the fiction-writing place had been sanded to a workable thinness, was porous. On a good working day, I watched as some largely unconscious process turned reality, or what passed for it, into fantasy. Which was what I had wanted, how I had wanted to make my living. To write nonfiction felt worryingly counter to that....
When I taught myself to write fiction, I eventually accepted that I had learned to do what passes for the writing of fiction when I'm the one doing it. The volume on the imposter-syndrome module decreased. Writing nonfiction, I've often felt as though I'm applying latex paint to the living room walls with a tooth-brush. The volume on the module shoots up. Perhaps people will assume that the resulting texture is deliberate. Perhaps not. Writing fiction is a unique activity for me, a neurological territory, an altered state. Writing nonfiction isn't, quite, but I'm gradually coming to accept that I've learned to do what passes for the writing of nonfiction when I'm the one doing it."
I guess my feeling on this collection is that I'm not entirely comfortable with these pieces. It's like listening to an accomplished musician attempt to play familiar, loved music on a totally unfamiliar instrument on which they weren't properly trained; there are hints of their talent and their response to the loved music, but it's clearly missing something they would be able to pull out if they were playing their preferred instrument. Apparently, for me, reading William Gibson's fiction is a unique activity for me, a neurological territory and altered state in which, not only do I find his nonfiction uncomfortable, but in a peculiar way, it feels like it's almost an interloper. A very peculiar problem for a fan -- one I wish I didn't have.
Note on Amazon Kindle version: One chapter refers to pictures that do not appear. The Kindle version gets a "D". Amazon needs to get it's act together.
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