Saturday, October 06, 2012

Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson

I've said before that one of my favorite kinds of books is the collection of occasional essays by a novelist -- preferably, collecting twenty or thirty years worth of random non-fiction from someone much more comfortable with fiction -- and so I was very happy to see Distrust That Particular Flavor, which is precisely that.

Gibson has written about two dozen pieces of journalism, speeches, introductions, and other odd lengths of string since about 1990, and they are collected here, in the kind of stylish package that adds a couple of pages between each piece to make the covers just that much farther apart. The essays and speeches here are all more or less dated, since what people ask SF writers to do is talk about the future, and nothing dates more quickly than non-fictional futures.

But these are all Gibsonian futures, with his spiky wit and wry viewpoint, which makes them at least as interesting as the actual future that we did receive. And, as is also usual for this form, he provides a short afterword to each piece, talking about when it was written or what has happened since or something similarly interesting. It's not Gibson fiction, but, for me -- and I'm at least three novels behind -- it apparently is better.

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