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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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All Today’s Parties

All Today’s Parties

Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History

Chapter:
(p.135) Chapter 7 All Today’s Parties
Source:
William Gibson
Author(s):

Gary Westfahl

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037801.003.0008

This chapter examines three William Gibson novels: Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. Gibson had planned Pattern Recognition for a long time: in 1986, he declared that he would “eventually try something else,” and “in twenty years” he would probably be “writing about human relationships.” By shifting from the future to the present, Gibson clearly felt that he was relaunching his career, and hence he logically reverted to the pattern of his first novel. Known as a science fiction writer for decades, Gibson felt an obvious need to justify Pattern Recognition's present-day setting. This chapter considers a number of ways to argue that Pattern Recognition should be classified as science fiction. Spook Country asserts that we live today in a world filled with science-fictional events, but we are unable or unwilling to properly observe them. Zero History suggests that Gibson has entirely distanced himself from the world of computers, the focus of the cyberpunk literature he was once said to represent.

Keywords:   science fiction, William Gibson, novels, Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History, computers, cyberpunk literature, cyberpunk

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