Quizá alguien no pensara en leerlas entonces, o vio que eran muy largas. Antes de pasar a unos extractos breves de la de Gibson quería comentar que, en su último número, de nuevo las dos entrevistas están dedicadas a gente de mal vivir de esa que nos resulta simpática.
Una es a Dª.Ursula, que desgraciadamente no está accesible gratis (pero es posible que se libere cuando aparezca el próximo número; a ver si esta vez no se me olvida).
La otra es a Emmanuel Carrère, que escribió la biografía de Philip K. Dick Yo estoy vivo y vosotros estáis muertos. Hay algunos párrafos sobre Dick y ciencia-ficción. Carrère debe de ser un optimista nato ya que, aparte de escribir su primera novela en la forma de un párrafo de 300 páginas (no coló), reconoce que la influencia de Nabokov en su escritura fue suplantada por la de Sturgeon, Matheson, o Dick; aunque los críticos no dejaran de imaginar a Kafka porque "siempre hablan de Kafka en cuanto una historia es mínimamente rara".
Cambiar las aliteraciones aquellas de "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins" por un "Eric Sweetscent collapsed his wheel and managed to park in the tiny stall allocated him" (de la primera frase de Aguardando el año pasado, que tengo aquí al lado) porque es "el Dostoevski del siglo XX", eso sí que es optimismo.
David Wallace-Wells (2011). William Gibson, The Art of Fiction No. 211. The Paris Review 197.
It’s harder to imagine the past that went away than it is to imagine the future. What we were prior to our latest batch of technology is, in a way, unknowable. It would be harder to accurately imagine what New York City was like the day before the advent of broadcast television than to imagine what it will be like after life-size broadcast holography comes online. But actually the New York without the television is more mysterious, because we’ve already been there and nobody paid any attention. That world is gone.
My great-grandfather was born into a world where there was no recorded music. It’s very, very difficult to conceive of a world in which there is no possibility of audio recording at all. Some people were extremely upset by the first Edison recordings. It nauseated them, terrified them. It sounded like the devil, they said, this evil unnatural technology that offered the potential of hearing the dead speak. We don’t think about that when we’re driving somewhere and turn on the radio.
(Mi bisabuela perdió una amiga que jamás quiso volver a entrar en su casa tras constatar que se había comprado "un armario lleno de brujas que hablan".)
Emergent technologies were irreversibly altering their landscape. Bleak House is a quintessential Victorian text, but it is also probably the best steampunk landscape that will ever be. Dickens really nailed it, especially in those proto-Ballardian passages in which everything in nature has been damaged by heavy industry. But there were relatively few voices like Dickens then. Most people thought the progress of industry was all very exciting. Only a few were saying, Hang on, we think the birds are dying.
What do you think of Neuromancer today?
When I look at Neuromancer I see a Soap Box Derby car. I felt, writing it, like I had two-by-fours and an old bicycle wheel and I’m supposed to build something that will catch a Ferrari. This is not going to fly, I thought. But I tried to do it anyway, and I produced this garage artifact, which, amazingly, is still running to this day.
Even so, I got to the end of it, and I didn’t care what it meant, I didn’t even know if it made any sense as a narrative. I didn’t have this huge feeling of, Wow, I just wrote a novel! I didn’t think it might win an award. I just thought, Phew! Now I can figure out how to write an actual novel.
I was afraid to watch Blade Runner in the theater because I was afraid the movie would be better than what I myself had been able to imagine. In a way, I was right to be afraid, because even the first few minutes were better. Later, I noticed that it was a total box-office flop, in first theatrical release. That worried me, too. I thought, Uh-oh. He got it right and nobody cares! Over a few years, though, I started to see that in some weird way it was the most influential film of my lifetime, up to that point. It affected the way people dressed, it affected the way people decorated nightclubs. Architects started building office buildings that you could tell they had seen in Blade Runner. It had had an astonishingly broad aesthetic impact on the world.
In the postwar era, aside from anxiety over nuclear war, we assumed that we were steering technology. Today, we’re more likely to feel that technology is driving us, driving change, and that it’s out of control. Technology was previously seen as linear and progressive—evolutionary in that way our culture has always preferred to misunderstand Darwin.