“The only real time machine is just getting older. It’s very slow, but eventually—it eventually gets you to the 21st century. Or the 22nd.”
Motherboard TV: William Gibson in Real Life
William Gibson ranks among my favorite writers, Neuromancer tops my personal Greatest-Impact Science Fiction Novels list, and in my doctoral thesis I wrote extensively about his work up to and including Pattern Recognition as representative of cyberpunk, a genre Fredric Jameson once called, somewhat ambiguously, the “supreme literary expression if not of postmodernism, then of late capitalism itself” (Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke UP, 1991. 419n1).
Writing my thesis, I had to draw a line somewhere, and I included everything published prior to fall 2006 by authors and critics relevant to my subject matter (i.e., violence in postmodern American literature and literary criticism). And the only way I could handle that was: I had to temporarily stop reading many of my favorite writers altogether! And, as of today, I’m still busy catching up. I still have to read Gibson’s Spook Country and Zero History, I’m halfway through Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, with Inherent Vice and Robert Coover’s Noir looming on the horizon. Then there’s John Barth’s The Development and Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons—though I’m not sure about these (blurps and reviews aren’t exactly encouraging). From Donald Barthelme, a third volume of collected stories has been published all of which I already own from previous collections, and, sadly, nothing new has popped up posthumously from Kathy Acker so far. That’s the authors—I haven’t checked the critics yet!
And of course there are other books on my priority list, notably Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, heartily recommended by my friend Afonso. Plus, I have to admit, I’m mightily tempted to read Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy after reading so much about it (and about the movie which I really liked) at Tor.com.
If you’ve read any of the aforementioned books, feel free to leave a note of appreciation or disgust, whatever it might be, in the comment section!