Is NodeMagazine Mostly About NodeMagazine?

Arguably, is the most self-referential website yet of the new millenium where nearly all of the content is an aggregate of outside references to itself [and its “sister site” the node tumblog]. For those of you not thoroughly annoyed by this, here is a chronological summary of the summaries about itself.

10.30.07: Skomorokh recently created a beautiful entry on Node Magazine to Wikipedia that shows an otaku-level of beauty as “a small token of apprecation” that is itself greatly appreciated.

08.05.07: “Someone’s already named a Web site after NODE, the nonexistent magazine in ‘Spook Country,’ ” [Gibson] said. “It’s sort of scary.” — Chris Watson, Bookends: William Gibson explores the science fiction of the here-and-now in his new novel [Santa Cruz Sentinel]

08.06.07: Here is another quote about and the Node tumblog from the man himself:

Someone has a website going where every single thing mentioned in Spook Country has a blog entry and usually an illustration so, every reference, someone has taken it, researched it and written a sort of little Wikipedia entry for it and all in the format of a website that pretends to be from a magazine called Node, which is an imaginary magazine, within Spook Country, and which turns out to be imaginary in the context of the narrative.

08.06.07: “Along the way, Gibson, 59, keeps the reader Googling, trying to match his uncanny grasp of historical and contemporary culture, from the gods of the Santeria religion to “piggybacking” on wireless networks. (A couple of Web sites named after Node, a fictitious “Spook Country” magazine, track these references — go to or” [seattle times]

08.29.07: Thanks to my friend Memetic Engineer for posting this report on a recent William Gibson book signing in the UK to his excellent blog

William Gibson mentioned Node website at least twice during his reading, talk and signing session at the TUC conference centre in London:

  • The very first question the moderator asked about was the impact of the annotations in the Node magazine – William Gibson seemed to be positive about them, but noted that the previous PR-otaku site for Pattern Recognition took about a year to appear after publication, whilst this project, to which I have added my own annotations here on this blog happened even before the official book publication date.
  • When asked about the impact of “micro-celebrity” and “Web 2.0” technology, William Gibson again cited his meeting with patternboy who made an impact from a small town in Colorado, with the help of international contributors.

09.01.07: This is so spooky, I can’t help but laugh!

Immediately after reading an article on conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport [or “Kansas” as many of us in the Denver area like to call it], I found Node idea, an article by John Suthlerland for Guardian UK about the William Gibson’s “theory of a new and innovatively creative reading practice” floating on a “critical cloud” of fan-promoted literary criticism combating professional neglect and “antibuzz”:

Node-man, a Gibson fan, has duly set up a website with the devotional URL Node-man also got a very early copy of Spook Country. The fan is unidentified: Gibson knows who he is, and says he lives in small-town USA and wants, apparently, to stay anonymous.

Apparently patternboy is now all grown up and hiding underground after mobilising “a volunteer army of fellow enthusiasts” [that would be you, Memetic Engineer] to create a “Google aura” for promoting Spook Country.

What the unknown Node-maestro has done is poles apart, both from this, and from the usual website-based ‘everybody pitch in’ mess. He’s channelled the raw material supplied by his volunteers into a sign-posted route through Spook Country. It opens the way, I believe, to a new kind of critical commentary on texts. One can see, easily enough, how it could be extended to Paradise Lost, or Hamlet.

09.06.07: Now romancer by Dennis Lim, Salon

Someone is essentially doing a hypertext version of “Spook Country” at Node magazine, with chapter summaries and various annotations and illustrations.

Gibson: Yeah, I’ve seen that. The amount of effort involved is a bit scary. The entries I’ve looked at have been remarkably accurate. Oscar Wilde said mirrors and cats are both inherently unhealthy to pay too much attention to, and I think that sort of Web site is in that category for me.

09.06.07: Bruce Sterling calls this interview by Joel Garreau for the Washington Post, the one of the best William Gibson interviews ever:

“It’s curious. When I published ‘Pattern Recognition’ ” — his previous book, which was also set in the recent past and achieved mainstream success — “within a few months there was someone who started a Web site. People were compiling Googled references to every term and every place in the book. It has photographs of just about every locale in the book — a massive site that was compiled by volunteer effort. But it took a couple of years to come together.

With ‘Spook Country,’ the same thing was up on the Web before the book was published.” Somebody got an advance reader copy, and instantly put up a site for his fictional Node magazine. [thanks to Infocult for another reference]

Plus, if you just can’t get enough, there is the story by Michael Janairo about the story by Professor Sutherland about this site and the node tumblog.

09.08.07: Kevin Broome logs this summary of William Gibson at the CBC Book Club [scheduled to air Saturday September 15, between 8 and 9 a.m. and then available as a podcast on CBC Words At Large on Wednesday September 19].

He tells us of a fan site called Node, named after the under-the-radar magazine that the protagonist is hired by in Spook Country, on which Gibson fans have mapped any and all linkable references found in the pages of the novel. Gibson marvels at the speed that such endeavours can be executed in this day and age. A dozen people, in different times zones, “who are crazy” can achieve enormous things. Gibson describes it as cheap A.I.

And this from Steppin’ Locust on the William Gibson message board:

Seek: NODE online – encyclopedia of Spook Country’s details and marginalia – visual concordance to each googleable reference in the novel – Google is there the way your memory is there – your brain is going to grow into google

We volunteer to become parts of vast distributed intelligences that are fantastically smarter than we are.

09.20.07: “One Guardian writer observed that [William Gibson’s Spook Country] could change the field of literary criticism. He notes how one fan has created a website, named after a magazine described in the book, to annotate the contents of Spook Country and anything that is written anywhere about it so chances are this very post and any of your comments may end up being referenced there.” — Captain Xerox, Fan site annotates contents of Gibson’s new book Spook Country [The Website at the End of the Universe]


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