William Gibson interviewed: Archangel, the Jackpot, and the instantly commodifiable dreamtime of industrial societies

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/22/the-jackpot.html

William Gibson’s 2014 novel The Peripheral was the first futuristic book he published in the 21st century, and it showed us a distant future in which some event, “The Jackpot,” had killed nearly everyone on Earth, leaving behind a class of ruthless oligarchs and their bootlickers; in the 2018 sequel, Agency, we’re promised a closer look at the events of The Jackpot. Between then and now is Archangel, a time-traveling, alt-history, dieselpunk story of power-mad leaders and nuclear armageddon that will be in stores on October 3.


Oh great. More books I have to read. How am I ever going to have time to make flippant comments on the internet?


Thanks for that! Tried to pull the pertinent quotes to keep but ended up with nearly the whole thing…


Can we use semi-time travel to read more books and graphic novels?
When can I buy a quantum computer that will allow me to do many things at once?
Also, jet pack and flying car?

You know the old joke, ‘if you’re under sixty you weren’t promised a flying car, you were promised a grim-cyberpunk dystopia’, well, for me Gibson was the one who promised that dystopia. It was my first glimpse of the idea that the world wouldn’t end in one big bang, instead it would be a combination of wars, disasters both natural and artificial, and environmental collapse that would perhaps not kill the entire human race, but might leave us wishing it had.

At least there’s no chance of that happening, right guys? Guys?


The Jackpot! From Robert Heinlein’s “Year of the Jackpot,” I suppose.


That was a great interview on both sides.

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Ahh… so you wish to able to commute to work faster? Also jet packs and flying cars, when they fail, fail spectacularly.

Thank you!

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You’ll find a way.

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This is a bit of an unfortunate title given that there was a well known Robert Harris book named “Archangel”, one that even adapted for a BBC series about ten years ago. Yes, both that and Gibson’s are presumably referring to the literal translation of the Russian city of Arkhangelsk, but still…

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Your plans for a robotic garden that produces medical-grade theanine, capsacins and CBD in 7 compelling Best Girl Aliments™ should be coming along swimmingly by now! (SOMA Desal permitting?) Bad news though, you need your BDO or COA or whatever neighbors incorporated are called to greenlight a cow so you can get antibodies for the Z flu, and start getting it used to any materials that will be involved in its costume for the coming month too. The git bugticketing for the foretold troubles may drive you to MoatAds some days!
Meanwhile try to watch the AngewantdeFest videos and keep matching up the shipping lanes and apogee for any ‘hard thinking’ from Best Korea knowing it’ll set Maduro and watsispolynesia back to right thinking.

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But I’ve also observed a tendency, over my years as an sf reader, for sf writers of a certain age to give the After Us The Deluge speech, so I promised myself I’d try to be watchful of the onset of that, try to fend it off as best I could. I suspect that when people notice how much of the world they grew up has already ended, it’s quite natural to feel that the world is ending. Because the world one knew quite demonstrably is. But it always has been ending, that way.

Gibson has been talking about subcultures disappearing for a number of years, you could even sort of say that the Blue Ant trilogy was him working through some ideas on the commodification of subculture. I wonder if that was in fact his After us The Deluge speech on the subject?

Personally I did not end up being all that interested in the nature of the catastrophe event in The Peripheral because it really wasn’t all that relevant to the story itself. What keeps me coming back to Gibson is his storytelling ability and that he does not need to hide behind gimmicks of How Things Went Wrong™


TS Eliot.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.


Gah…new Gibson book, great!

But I can’t read this article…don’t want any spoilers…

There are no spoilers.

So retro-futurism is now “a grim-cyberpunk dystopia”. Interesting. In 30 years there’ll be a short story collection that will define a new genre and it will include a story called “The Gibson Continuum”. The one where the narrator starts hallucinating shattered buildings with Banksy murals overlaying their spotless, post-scarcity reality.

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Oh. And I thought there was no cake.

It might be hard, but I am sure you can do it.

There might be some people from genuinely underground cultures right here on bOINGbOING! :wink:

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