I was an obsessed Gibson fan up until All Tomorrow’s Parties. I lost interest when his work went from “future fantastic” to the all-too real “five minutes from now”. The Peripheral television series put me to sleep. Perhaps this was to my detriment, but those later books and that show will always be there should I find the time and space to swing back around for another look.
Again, I’m kicking myself for not recording how I came across this book. Whatever it was, I’m glad for the reading. This is not a novel; it’s a collection of nonfiction writing ranging from magazine articles to book introductions, with retrospectives accompanying each. This alone makes the read worthwhile, as a mature Gibson addresses his earlier work with an honest and often humorous perspective.
This book also introduced me to Greg Girard’s photographs—I would love to own copies of his book, despite lacking a coffee table on which to display them—and sent me down a shallow rabbit hole for Kowloon Walled City. The book added Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography and Jorge Luis Borges Labyrinths to the to-read list. And it provided a “you shouldn’t meet your heroes” reminder. I still envy Gibson’s prose, and his ability to range out with his words in the same ways that Burroughs and Kerouac could. In ways that I’m afraid to for fear of imitating those masters, no matter how flattering that’s supposed to be.