Gibson's no David Foster Wallace
Neuromancing the Stoned
William Gibson is all wet-wired
I totally forgot how much I hate William Gibson's writing until I heard that he was writing an X-Files episode and the bile began to rise. In the late 80s, I spent several weeks plowing through the approximately 10 pages that make up Mona Lisa Overdrive and by page 2 I could not figure out what the hype was about or what was going on. The characters were characitures, the plot was more than vaguely familiar (PK Dick's The Divine Invasion anyone? but without the humanity or intellect), the science was just fiction and not even original at that. Still, I finished it, as I've finished almost every book I've begun (Sinclair Lewis's Main Street being the exception) and had a huge headache when I was done. Certainly not a classic. All flash, no substance. Very poorly written, EXCEPT by sci-fi standards, where bad writing is the norm. Think about it: there are very few exceptional sci-fi writers. Delany, Dick, Bradbury, Vonnegut; these are the only ones that come immediately to mind. (well, I guess there are very few exceptional writers in any genre, but sci-fi is notoriously poorly written). Anyway, I watched about 15 minutes of the Gibson-written X-Files and found myself getting so angry that I had to turn it off. Did I want to spend another 45 minutes with some chick who fancied herself to be Priss from Blade Runner, but with -10 charisma points? I kept screaming at Scully to shoot the bitch and let's be over with it. In the few minutes I saw, there were plot holes all over the place, which is extremely uncharacteristic for an X-Files episode (the I am a cocktail weenie reference excepted). I mean, SHE complains about the Lone Gunman returning her email to the blasted up guy? Why did she send returnable email in the first place? Dumb bitch. I dunno, maybe there was a shock/suprise endinging in which she took off her mask and she was actually Heather Locklear, but, you know, even HEATHER ain't this dumb And, Gibby, ain't ya sick of the whole "sentient internet" yet? I know I sure am! As far as "futuristic visions" go, give me David Foster Wallace any day: The Broom of the System (1986) almost featured a sentient internet (well, screwed up telephone lines), plus a chemically/vitamin- enhanced bird and a man-made desert in Ohio-- that's cooler than some shadowy "Japanese underworld" any day. I'm so over the Japanese being portrayed as shadowy! Is this a 1940s Warner Bros cartoon? And Infinite Jest's universe has entire years being purchased by corporate sponsors. This seems much more viable than anything that occurs in Mona Lisa Overdrive or Neuromancer.
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