Wednesday, August 29, 2007

William Gibson Deja Vu

This morning I boarded a flight from San Diego to San Francisco. Two weeks ago, recalling one of my New Years resolutions, I realized that I hadn't read a book a month and am certainly in danger of probably only hitting half that number this year. In fact to be technical I think I resolved that the works be fiction and my last one was Paul Graham's Artists and Hackers. Certainly not fiction but definitely enjoyable particularly because one of our young rising star engineers kept citing passages from it I felt compelled to read it.

I had recently been chatting with Russ Beattie about the various Nokia Internet tablets and he mentioned off handedly that the N770 had a great ebook application and that he had found a full text copy of the Neuromancer he was reading and that led to a discussion about the new book from William Gibson, Spook Country. What? How the hell did I miss that! I have read every one of his books.

I immediately ordered the book and looked forward to the opportunity to read the book. This morning I cracked open the book and with the music of The Mortal Coil floating through my iPod began the read. It became an immediate Deja Vu on so many levels.

My mother died suddenly but not altogether unexpectedly back in 1985. That set into motion for me a journey I would characterize as the low point of my life in terms of where I was mentally and emotionally. The end of that approximately year journey sort of came to an end up in Seattle when I ended up bunking with one of my fraternity brothers for a week or so north of downtown. It was during that time that I picked up a copy of the Neuromancer and I spent the better part of a couple of days wandering around downtown Seattle reading the book on park benches and while riding the buses and taking in the rainy, misty Seattle days. The memory of that time has always been with me and the cyber future that Gibson portrayed would be a big part of my re-entering the digital world in the years to come.

The opening chapter of Spook Country is set up on the Sunset Strip with mentions of The Mondrian and the Standard Hotel and many of the clubs I frequented in my early 90s industrial/punk phase as well as during the last ten years of digital media wireless startup city hoping staying in the Ian Schrager, Tablet Hotel land hotels. It made me smile and put a wrapper on how funny life can be. I can't wait to see where this book goes.

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