Recently in Interviews with William Gibson Category

WIlliam Gibson back in Canada, mentions "Node" at the CBC Book Club

Kevin Broome, from Canada, has a blog report on
William Gibson at the CBC Book Club in which there is another mention of Node magazine:

He tells us of a fan site called Node, named after the under-the-radar magazine that the protagonist is hired by in Spook Country, on which Gibson fans have mapped any and all linkable references found in the pages of the novel. Gibson marvels at the speed that such endeavours can be executed in this day and age. A dozen people, in different times zones, "who are crazy" can achieve enormous things. Gibson describes it as cheap A.I. In fact, as he continues talking, you come to understand his view of the human race as something that has evolved well past nature, that our present "natural state" is more cyborg than animal.

William Gibson podcast interview by Bat Segundo

This is the a most interesting and detailed recent online broadcast podcast interview with William Gibson talking in quite a lot of detail about Spook Country. on The Bat Segundo Show based in New York.

The 50Mb mp3 file (about 50 minutes) is well worth listening to, if you are a fan, especially, one who reads the discussion threads on the official William Gibson discussion forums board:

  • the details about Hubertus Bigend being Belgian and therefore "üaut;ber European" so-probably perverted and / or aesthetically brillliant,

  • the fun that William Gibson had in writing the fictional WIkipedia entry about Hubertus Biigend (now, of course a "real" Wikipedia entry)

  • hearing William Gibson pronounce the "bay-jend" version of "Bigend"

  • the accidental link between the Wikipedia entry biography and Norman Cohn's book The Pursuit of the Millennium useed by the Milgrim character, via the Situationist International.

  • the non significance of the choice of "Blue" in the name "Blue Ant" - better than "Red" or "Black" Ant.

  • The choice of the name Milgrim - apparently not a reference to Stanley Miligrim, the behavioral scientist, but because Milgrim is a common name in the rural county where William Gibson grew up.

  • tthe fact that William Gibson noticed the possibility that some readers would use their "20 per cent" of the experience of reading a novel to fill in the plot and charters , by jumping to the conclusion that "the old man" might be Cayce Polllard's fatherWin Pollard from Pattern Recognition, but that he decided "not to go there".

  • The burning down of The Bridge in All Tomorrow's Parties in order to escape John Clute's references to William Gibson's work as Cornell Boxes

The pre-publication blurbs and extracts published on William Gibson's blog mentioned Node magazine , a fictional magazine described in Spook Country, which is a vehicle for one of the main protagonists Hubertus Bigend to allow him to get Hollis Henry and others to ask journalistic questions to try to track down Bobby Chombo and the mysterious shipping container. Actual publication of Node or even publicity and marketing "buzz" before launc, seems to be deliberately discouraged.

However, this Node magazine does actually have a presence on the internet, Node Magazine blog courtesy of patternboy, who is also publishing daily chapter summaries and quotations until the official US publication date (tomorrow). These are illustrated and expanded with images and hyperlinks from other web resources, giving life to some otherwise arcane knowledge or obscure brand names.

I sometimes add a bit more commentary from my own web researches and pre-existing knowledge and experience, on these selections - see this blog's node.tumblr.com.

What is interesting is that William Gibson mentions this in two recent interviews:

Only Magazine interview with William Gibson

Only Magazine, based in William Gibson's home city of Vancouver has a short but revealing interview with the author.

  • William Gibson's "predictive talent" rather than the direct influence of his writings:

  • "When I wrote Idoru, I didn’t know what a website was. I’d never seen one, which was a real advantage."

  • Gibson's interest in "design" and his early difficulty imagining characters and plots , rather than objects.

  • Charlie Stross's calculations against the practicality of space travel or colonisation.

  • "Anyways, I think that I’m pretty much a complete urban life-form at this point. The distinction between being urban and not being urban has more to do with bandwidth than where you live."

  • "When I started writing science fiction I already knew that it was never about the future. It’s about the moment in which it’s written. Nothing gets quainter faster than a piece of fiction set in an imaginary future. That’s really part of its charm"

  • "Lord of the Rings is the Anglican Church on crack."

Saturday August 4, 2007

William Gibson
by Asher Penn

I knew people would do that shit

The third part of the Amazon blog interview with William Gibson:- Writing Fiction in the Age of Google: William Gibson Q&A, Part 3

William Gibson's comments on the influence of Google on his writing process, mirrors that of some of his internet immersed readers experiences as well.

Gibson: It's not that interesting for me. I'm okay with it because it doesn't pull me in that much. The thing that limits you with Google is what you can think of to google, really. There's some kind of personal best limitation on it, unless you get lucky and something you google throws up something you've never seen before. You're still really inside some annotated version of your own head.

This is very pertinent to patternboy's node.tumblr.com project, in which he annotates chapter summaries and interesting words or ideas, obviously using Google.

I have been doing the same here on this blog, commenting on patternboy's selection of quotations and chapter summaries, and using Google and my own knowledge and experience, in the countdown to the official publication of Spook Country.

Gibson: In some cases. The Vancouver stuff is less one-on-one than the Manhattan stuff, for instance. The places, the restaurants are in different neighborhoods, things like that. The New York stuff I somehow stuck closer to the real thing. The New York stuff is more googleable.

Amazon blog interview with William Gibson part 2 - Second Life

Amazon bookstore's blog - On Second Life and in Second Life: William Gibson Q&A, Part 2 describes the rather bleak and unfriendly Second Life virtual reality experience which William Gibson had when he tried it anonymously last year.

Will the forthcoming Second Life promotion of Spook Country be better, and will the flakey system remain stable and not grind to a halt if lots of William Gibson fans do actually log in on August 2nd at 7pm BST ?


The Amazon Bookstore's blog has published the first part of an interview with William Gibson:

Across the Border to Spook Country: Q&A, Part 1, with William Gibson

The Spook Country relevant section of the interview:

[hat tip again to Fashionpolice]

William Gibson's first scheduled Second Life appearance seems to be on Thursday August 2nd at 7pm Pacific Standard Time i.e. 2am in the morning British Summer Time (or it could be 3am in the morning here in the UK if they really mean Pacific Daylight saving Time)

UPDATE: ot seems to be British Summer Time: (still to be confirmed)

2 August 2007/ 7pm BST / On Avalon (158, 87, 25)

check your local timezone

Since my "Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 cyberdeck" is currently being modified, I shall probably try Katharine Berry's in-browser AJAX javascript text interface for Second Life:


Interview with William Gibson in the "College Crier"

An interesting interview with William Gibson, in the online College Crier magazine ("Free at all the colleges in Upstate New York") which discusses his writing techniques, and has a couple of insights into the writing of Spook Country [hat tip to Fashionpolice]

William Gibson: Sci-Fi Icon Becomes Prophet of the Present

By T. Virgil Parker


William Gibson video about Spook Country on YouTube

There is a Quicktime video of William Gibson talking about Spook Country, and the feedback from his blog and the internet, on the official William Gibson books website.

However, a more widely accessible version is also available on YouTube

About this blog

This blog is discusses and analyses the new book Spook Country by cyberpunk author William Gibson, published in August 2007.

This will be primarily from a United Kingdom perspective, as some of the themes of espionage and surveillance and hidden forces really do resonate in our endemic Surveillance Society.

This blog has been described, quite fairly, as "otaku-worthy immersion"

Email Contact

email: blog @ SpookCountry [dot] co [dot] uk

Here is our PGP public encryption key or download it via a PGP Keyserver.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g.

Spook Country Links

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country *NO SPOILERS* forum

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board Spook Country - *SPOILERS OK* forum

William Gibson video about "Spook Country" on YouTube and on the official website.

William Gibson Links

William Gibson blog - written by the author himself, on which he has test marketed fragments of his novel Spook Country whilst writing it.

William Gibson Books discussion bulletin board

www.williamgibson.de - William Gibson book promtion website in Germany

William Gibson aleph - lots of resources about William Gibson's works.

The Cyberpunk Project - some online texts of some of William Gibson's writings hosted in Russia.

Wikipedia Links

Wikipedia entry for "Spook Country"

Wikipedia "Spook Country" page edit history RSS feed or Atom feed

The character "Hubertus Bigend" has his own fictional Wikipedia entry in "Spook Country", which has now become now a real one.

Node Magazine

  • Node Magazine - a fictional magazine which "seems to be actively preventing the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they begin to exist" mentioned in the hints given about the Spook Country book, which has already been created online by a fan (patternboy), before the book has been published.
  • node.tumblr.com - Node Magazine is publishing 2 Chapter Summaries and Quotations each day in the 42 day countdown to the official publication of Spook Country
  • Spook Country blog's "cloud of hyperlinks" in numerical chapter order - commentary and annotations on the node.tumblr.com annotations to Spook Country.

Fictional British TV Spooks

James Bond 007

Stylish, if somewhat far fetched, BBC TV drama based on MI5 the Security Service - Spooks

BBC children's TV series M.I.High

2008 spin off TV series from Spooks [spooks] code 9 , set a few years into the future in 2013, in the Orwellian Police State which has emerged after a nuclear bomb attack on London.

Fictional Spooks

The Spy Wise Blog by Wesley Britton

Real Spooks

MI5 - the Security Service - counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, domestic surveilance

GCHQ - the Government Communications Head Quarters - intercepting and deciphering enemy communications, and protecting UK ones.

MI6 - SIS - the Secret Intelligence Service - mostly foreign intelligence - not quite like depicted in James Bond films.

Ex - Spooks

RichardTomlinson.org - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6. There are also links to Cryptome's archives of articles and alleged, unproven, lists of names of former or mcurrent MI6 agents (including, improbably, some UK Ambassadors), which caused lots of controversy. Tomlinson denies publishing anything not already in the public domain.

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Spooky Info

Cryptome.org - including various spooky documents which some Government agencies would prefer not to be online.

Alan Turnbull's www.secret-bases.co.uk - "An entertaining guide to using Internet-based research tools – Ordnance Survey's maps, Getmapping's aerial photos and Google Earth! to reveal the UK's "hidden" MoD facilities and military sites"

Eye Spy Magazine - " The world's leading newsstand magazine on intelligence and espionage" - photos, articles, book reviews, private sector surveillance equipment and services adverts etc. N.B. Sometimes uncritical articles on various anti-terrorism and espionage topics, presumably in order to keep in favour with their anonymous sources.

Historical Spooks

Science Museum, London - Science of Spying Exhibition - for Spy Kids of all ages until September 2007.

Bletchley Park - "Historic site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer."

Imperial War Museum. London

Spooky CyberPunks and CyberGoths

The Dose is a "free, downloadable PDF zine ranging from industrial and gothic music to indie game development, Japanese visual kei, eyecandy, cyberpunkness" produced in Hungary.The three (so far annual) issues so far, with another promised in July 2007 contain plenty of CyberPunk and CyberGoth images and reviews, with the occasional reference back to William Gibson or other cyberpunk fiction authors.

Spy / Surveillance Art Projects

Spy Box - "A digital camera inside a parcel looks out through a small hole and captures images of its journey through the postal system. The Spy Box was sent from my studio to the gallery taking an image every 10 seconds recording a total of 6994 images these were then edited together to create an animated slideshow." - by artist Tim Knowles

Benjamin Males - "Face Targeting and Analysis System (2008) - Software designed to find and analyse faces in a video stream. First stage in an ongoing project looking at the potential misuse of technology"

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide

As part of the preparations for William Gibson book signing and lecture event promoting Spook Country in London, during August 2007, this "local knowledge" guide to places of interest to cyberpunk fans was compiled, and has been subsequently expanded.

London CyberPunk Tourist Guide - http://CyberPunk.org.uk

Please feel free to add comments or send emails, to keep it up to date.

Zero History

Zero_History_amazon_150.jpg

Zero History blog - ZeroHistory.net - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Syndicate this site (XML):

Zero History

Zero_History_amazon_150.jpg

Zero History blog - ZeroHistory.net - discussion and hyper link cloud enhanced literary criticism of William Gibson's forthcoming novel, entitled Zero History, which is due to be published on 7th September 2010.

See the Fragments of a Hologram Bill thread on the William Gibson Books discussion forum for the snippets of writing which have been released for discussion to the public so far.

Cover Artwork

US cover art (the design we prefer):
US_cover_April_150.jpg

UK cover art:
UK_cover_February_150.jpg

See how the cover artwork designs have changed slightly over time in the Cover Artwork category archive

"Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation

Our "Spook Country" hyperlink cloud annotation - re-orderd into numerical Chapter sequence

The Node Magazine node.tumblr.com, which this was a collaborative online contribution to, was online even before the official publication date of the first hardback edition of the book in August 2007.

This has been commented on by the author William Gibson, and described by Emeritus Professor of English Literature John Sutherland as "the future of literary crticism"

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