[I’m not going to do a more formal writeup of the event because a video of the whole thing should be going up on the SciFiLondon website in the next week or so.]
1. Audience demographics were pretty much as you’d expect: mostly male, mostly white, and mostly fond of black t-shirts.
2. John Sutherland was not a terribly good interviewer. His questions where peppered with obsequious cliches along the lines of, “I think your books teach us new ways of reading” and “the technologies you include are really about new ways of being human”. My favourite, however, was when Gibson mentioned that he’d revised the paperback of Pattern Recognition to incorporate technical and other fixes pointed out by eagle-eyed readers, and Sutherland opined that this sort of obsessive nitpicking was also something new. I can’t help feeling that Sutherland isn’t terribly familiar with fan culture.
3. The second chapter of Spook Country (Tito) was originally the first; in fact, all he started with was a “floating point of view” that “congealed” into the character of Tito.
4. Gibson is “agnostic” about fanfic.
5. There was one fairly major revision between the proof of Spook Country and the final published edition, which is that Cory Doctorow pointed out that some of the GPS tricks in the book couldn’t be done indoors. And then suggested a fix involving triangulating off the three nearest mobile phones. Or something.
6. The first time Gibson went into Second Life (anonymously and alone) it reminded him of the worst aspects of High School.
7. It was quite noticeable that there was a gap between what most of the audience was reading Gibson for (the tech, the loners, the “cool”) and what Gibson is actually interested in trying to talk about in his books (the ways people experience the modern world, and political implications of that).
8. That said, Gibson talked about his sense that the difference between now and 1984 is that in 1984 offline was the default and online was somewhere you went; now, online is the default and offline is somewhere you go. One of the characters in Spook Country describes this as cyberspace “everting”.
9. This is not really related, but a proof of Rewired arrived here yesterday. That’s a hell of a TOC.
10. Neil Gaiman would “whip” William Gibson in a fight. Apparently.