Monday, August 27, 2007

Just started reading the new Gibson, Spook Country. It is like stumbling upon an old friend. I promised myself I would savour it, rather than speed through it, but I fear I will have finished it well before the weekend.

I still find it remarkable how this guy has eyes and ears for all things futuristic. Even more remarkable is the fact that, while his last two novels have the present as a setting, you do not for a moment have the feeling that he is no longer writing science fiction. A bit like Ballard, but at the same time, worlds apart. Ballard writes about the dystopia inside all of us, while Gibson will always be writing about what is to come, but really already here. I know that sounds like a paradox, but this is a paradoxical age and Gibson catches the simulacrum of the era like no other. The dictum "The future is now" seems invented especially for reading Gibson.

A bonus, for me personally as a Belgian, is that the (ambiguous) man in the background in Pattern Recognition as well as in Spook Country is the Belgian advertising guru Hubertus Bigend. I cannot possibly imagine a Belgian with a name like that, but somehow he fits the profile nonetheless. I could not begin to fathom how Gibson manages to grasp the essence of what it is to be Belgian, but he does.

It is always a challenge to find the right music to go along with the reading of a Gibson. At the moment the latest Dopplereffekt releases and the most sinister parts of the Drexciya discography suit me just fine, with Tangerine Dream's Zeit and Atem as perfect replacements, should the reading turn nocturnal.

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