William Gibson didn’t invent the Web but he gave us the language we use to describe it. His original Sprawl trilogy defined the buzz of the dot-com days and led the futurist charge in media including inspiring Wired, Mondo 2000, and much of the Matrix trilogy. Fast forward to his Bridge trilogy and you see the beginnings of a strange new San Francisco peopled with hackers, murderers, and code boys. Finally he returned us to a post 9/11 house of mirrors where companies and people intertwined and merged.
William Gibson is also my favorite author and, while my love for his work obviously clouds my judgement, I feel he gave voice to a generation that grew up with Atari 2600s and ended up with iPhones. His vision, his spare prose, and his sly humor have helped define many writing styles (my own included) and, although he is often imitated, I haven’t found another writer like him.
His latest book, The Peripheral, isn’t part of a trilogy but it is a tour-de-force. Set in a future where 3D printing has gone mainstream and in a future where 3D disassembly is the weapon of choice for a moneyed kleptocracy, the book flips from the future to further into the future with an ease that is startling.
I had the rare pleasure of sitting down with Gibson at our offices in New York where we talked about the changes happening to the concept of cyberspace and his own inspirations for the worlds he creates. If there is any news of lasting import here it’s that The Peripheral will not be part of a trilogy – something sure to disappoint fans of the book – but the real value is the time Gibson spends talking about his view on the world and our place in it. In other words, squeeeee.