Wearing a black tee advertising The Brain Technologies and looking even skinnier than last time, Wiliam Gibson spoke from a tapestry-covered folding table upon an elevated floor to an overflowing, standing-room-only crowd during a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the Boulder Bookstore on the Pearl Street Mall.
Unlike the last time Mr Gibson visited Colorado during the Pattern Recognition tour, the crowd was more diverse, less dominant in black clothing with more women who seemed to have read the book rather than standing in for boyfriends unable to attend. Many of the questions following the reading from Chapter 1 of Spook Country focused on movie adaptations to which Mr. Gibson replied that he “could care less” given that “the final form of a novel is a novel. Any adaptation is a different form.”
In reply to a question about research re: trends and technology, Mr. Gibson said that he doesn’t read anything to which the general population doesn’t have accesss and that anyone who reads boingboing could catch up to him in a couple days.
Perhaps the most insightful comments concerned Gibson’s writing process which he described as starting with things and places before he even thinks about characters, ideas or themes. He spoke of a high-school composition teacher who published a few short stories but paid the bills by writing technical manuals for the military. The teacher required students to produce exhaustively detailed descriptions of mundane items such as the eraser of a pencil, a style in which Gibson says he enthusiastically immersed himself. Gibson felt that this “high rez” detail was missing from science fiction and was an area where he could make a difference.
Overall, Mr. Gibson seemed relaxed, pensive and enormously generous with his attention to fans and the curious. I especially appreciate his unrushed conversation with my 11-year old son commissioned as journalist for Node Magazine and asked his question with a digital recorder. He told me that he liked the blog and thought I must be crazy to do so much work cataloging every object and place in the novel. He also said that he would be careful to not tell anyone where the fake Node originates.