Thursday, November 20, 2014
I don't remember exactly why I got into William Gibson. I think I may have read Neuromancer and started getting into cyberpunk before I started hanging out almost exclusively with hackers, but I could be off by a couple of months. Either way I know it was around when I was 18 years old which means that I've been a Gibson for about ten years, which in turn means that I've only been able to anticipate the releases of his most recent three novels. I stumbled across the release date for The Peripheral on Amazon and then basically camped out at the bookstore until October 28th to get my copy. I really love anticipating Gibson books because they're always wonderful and there's always almost-too-much time between novels to lose interest or get frustrated but that never happens because you know the book is going to kick ass when it finally drops.
Now that I've said my bit on anticipation, I'm going to do a little begging: please, please, please, please Mr. Gibson, please let The Peripheral be the start of The Spur Trilogy, or The Haptic Trilogy, or whatever it's going to be called or however many more books there will be in it. Please make more in this universe because it's beautiful and scary and insightful and spooky and I want to spend more time in its spaces and faces.
There is an awful damn lot I want to say about this novel but I'm afraid I can't yet because this is one of those times that I actually do worry about spoilers - the book hasn't even been out for a full month so I don't want to destroy any part of the plot for any readers but I do want to commend Gibson for his continual subversion of typical gender roles and attitude toward people of different races, genders, sizes, ages, and abilities to get a lot done.
Gibson writes some of the creepiest institutions that I've ever read, but he consistently writes the best and most inspiring characters that anyone's seen in SF in the last four decades. Yes, he's got plenty of straight white men in his novels; but Gibson's heroes aren't the Han Solos of the world, his heroes are the everymen, everywomen, and everychildren who people his pages but could also be sitting right next to you. That's what I love so much about Gibson - he doesn't teach his readers to aspire to be a particular character, he teaches his readers that everyone can be a hero but it frequently comes down to making some hard and dangerous choices.
Please go out and buy The Peripheral. It's delightful. And please, Mr. Gibson, please keep writing. You're doing a lot of good for my generation and I don't even think we realize that yet.
Gibson, William. The Peripheral. Putnam. New York: New York. 2014.