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William Gibson$
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Gary Westfahl

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037801

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037801.001.0001

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A Bridge to the Present

A Bridge to the Present

Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties

Chapter:
(p.112) Chapter 6 A Bridge to the Present
Source:
William Gibson
Author(s):

Gary Westfahl

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037801.003.0007

This chapter examines three William Gibson novels: Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow's Parties. Virtual Light confirms Gibson's desire to break with the past and move in new directions. More specifically, Gibson wanted readers to enter and appreciate a different sort of Gibsonian world. Accordingly, Virtual Light was set in 2005, only twelve years after its publication, and its imagined new technologies were not far removed from actual technologies of the early 1990s. While computer hackers eventually play a small role in the story, there is only one fleeting glimpse of a virtual realm recalling cyberspace, and the two protagonists have almost no interactions with computers. While Gibson remained interested in futuristic science, this novel devotes more attention to speculative sociology. Idoru examines the mechanisms that promote celebrities and keep them in the public eye. It seems to repudiate Virtual Light, whereas All Tomorrow's Parties seems to repudiate Idoru.

Keywords:   cyberspace, William Gibson, Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrow's Parties, computer hackers, computers, futuristic science, speculative sociology, celebrities

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