Novelist William Gibson, Out With A New Sci-Fi Novel

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Novelist William Gibson has spent his illustrious writing career exploring ideas about space — in particular, how the future will deal with physical space, emotional space and cyberspace.

Indeed, the English lexicon has Gibson to thank for crafting the modern definition of the word cyberspace back in the 1980s. Those were the early days of the digital revolution, when the outlines of the modern Internet and all its incarnations were the stuff of science fiction. Today, he's still thinking about a future-space and a cyber future.

Gibson speaks with WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer about the future, present and past, and about his latest novel, The Peripheral.


William Gibson, author of many books. His newest is The Peripheral. He'll be appearing tonight at the First Parish Church in Harvard Square at 7 p.m. He tweets @GreatDismal.


On whether the future has materialized as he envisioned it in his previous books:
"The main thing that I didn't foresee is that over the past 30 years cyberspace, so-called, has completely colonized the real world, so-called, and the distinction is largely gone. It's all one in the same. I coined the word cyberspace to represent another realm, and it was a weird place and things happened differently. That's no longer the case and cyberspace, I think, is now something of a legacy term, but the real world is now something of a legacy term."

On technology in his own life:
"I actually avoid keeping my own devices thoroughly up-to-date because I think that it helps me to watch other people using technology that I haven't yet used because I can observe them using it. Once I'm using it, I'm no longer conscious of the same peculiarities of how behavior changes. It's one the most puzzling things about technology is that once we have it, I think, we become it, and imagining the world or even ourselves prior to having it becomes very, very difficult."

On what devices he uses:
"I have a tablet, I have a rather out-of-date iPhone, and a Mac[Book] Air, and that's really about it."

This segment aired on November 13, 2014.

Headshot of Sacha Pfeiffer

Sacha Pfeiffer Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.



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