Saturday, January 11, 2020

Neuromancer was inspired by William Gibson hearing people use computer words he didn't understand

Long article at The Guardian about William Gibson:
“I was actually able to write Neuromancer because I didn’t know anything about computers,” he says. “I knew literally nothing. What I did was deconstruct the poetics of the language of people who were already working in the field. I’d stand in the hotel bar at the Seattle science fiction convention listening to these guys who were the first computer programmers I ever saw talk about their work. I had no idea what they were talking about, but that was the first time that I ever heard the word ‘interface’ used as a verb. And I swooned. Wow, that’s a verb. Seriously, poetically that was wonderful.

“So I was listening to it as an English honours student. I would take it back out, deconstruct it poetically, and build a world from those bricks. Consequently there are other things in Neuromancer that make no sense. When the going gets really tough in cyberspace, what does Case do? He sends out for a modem. He does! He says: ‘Get me a modem! I’m in deep shit!’ I didn’t know what one was, but I had just heard the word. And I thought: man, it’s sexy. That really sounds like it could be bad news. And I didn’t have anybody to read it and … I couldn’t Google it.”